Madonna left Michigan in her early 20s and moved to New York City to pursue her dreams, but The Big Apple was rough on the future pop queen.
In a frank essay for the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the 55-year-old opened up about her early days in the new and dangerous city.
“Most people thought I was strange. I didn’t have many friends; I might not have had any friends. But it all turned out good in the end, because when you aren’t popular and you don’t have a social life, it gives you more time to focus on your future. And for me, that was going to New York to become a REAL artist. To be able to express myself in a city of nonconformists. To revel and shimmy and shake in a world and be surrounded by daring people,” she wrote.
Her first year in New York was actually filled with numerous incidents of violence and assault.
“New York wasn’t everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don’t know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time,” she continued.
Despite the singer’s early troubles, she explained that she felt transported to a place unlike any other and it gave her the power to endure.
“The tall buildings and the massive scale of New York took my breath away. The sizzling-hot sidewalks and the noise of the traffic and the electricity of the people rushing by me on the streets was a shock to my neurotransmitters. I felt like I had plugged into another universe,” she continued.
Adding, “I felt like a warrior plunging my way through the crowds to survive. Blood pumping through my veins, I was poised for survival. I felt alive.”
-- Jesse Spero