Madonna Said Her First ‘Provocative’ Performance Happened in Middle School
Madonna may be one of the most influential forces in music, but she admits that she had a hard time fitting in with her classmates. She shared that she was a bit of an outcast growing up. Madonna revealed what made her classmates avoid her and whether she still considers herself a nerd.
Where is Madonna from?
Madonna grew up in Pontiac, Michigan, as the third of six children in a strictly Catholic household. Growing up, she felt the influence of music everywhere in her town.
“Motown was everywhere,” she told Rolling Stone. “Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross and the Jackson 5, that’s what I grew up on.”
In high school, her family moved to a suburb that was “predominantly middle-class and white.” Disconnected from the music that raised her, Madonna began to seek it out.
“There weren’t any more house parties, there wasn’t music blaring from the house next door,” she explained. “I felt estranged, and that’s when I created my own world. That’s when I decided I’d be a professional dancer. I became more of an introvert, and I’d sneak out of the house and go to concerts. I was aware of the power of music at that point, not that I could articulate it to anyone.”
The pop superstar said she was a ‘geek’ growing up
Despite her sophisticated taste in music, Madonna says that she was a “geek” in middle and high school. She shared that she didn’t quite fit in, which she attributes in part to a middle school performance. During a seventh-grade talent show, Madonna performed the Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
“I had my girlfriends paint my body with fluorescent hearts and flowers,” she said, adding, “I wore a pair of shorts and a midriff top, and I just went mad. I had a strobe light and black light.”
This was her first time performing, but she said that she didn’t hold back.
“I’m sure everyone thought I was insane,” she said. “It was my first time onstage. That was the beginning of my provocative performances, I guess. I just went for it.”
She added that she noticed a change in the behavior of other students toward her following the invigorated performance.
“No girls would talk to me after that, and the boys looked at me weird.”
Despite their attitudes, the performance hinted at the burgeoning pop star inside Madonna.
Madonna still considers herself ‘geeky’
Though she’s world-famous, Madonna admits that she still considers herself uncool, even though others may view her differently.
“I say stuff like ‘oopsie-daisy.’ Growing up, I didn’t feel cool, I didn’t fit into any crowd,” she said. “‘Geek’ is not a word anyone uses to describe me, though, except perhaps [Confessions on a Dance Floor producer] Stuart Price, who once said, ‘You know, you’re a nerd at heart, nobody knows it.’”
She shared that she didn’t take this comment as an insult.
“I took it as a compliment. I’m silly and geeky and nerdy and not cool.”