In 1982, Madonna, aged 24, was living in New York, and trying to set up her music career. She was joined by her Detroit boyfriend Steve Bray who became the drummer of her band, the Breakfast Club, which played generally hard-rock music. Soon they abandoned playing songs in the hard-rock genre, and got signed by a music management company called Gotham Records, planning to move in a new musical direction. They decided to pursue the funk genre, but the record company was not happy with their musical talents and they were dropped from the label; Madonna and Bray left the band also. Meanwhile, she had written and developed some songs on her own. She carried rough tapes of three of the songs, "Everybody", "Ain't No Big Deal" and "Burning Up". At that time she was frequenting the Danceteria nightclub in New York. It was here that Madonna convinced the DJ Mark Kamins to play "Everybody". The song was received positively by the crowd, and Kamins decided that he should get Madonna a record deal, on the understanding that he would get to produce the single. He took her to his boss Chris Blackwell, who owned Island Records, but Blackwell refused to sign Madonna so they approached Sire Records. Michael Rosenblatt, who worked in the artists and repertoire department of Sire, offered Madonna $5,000 in advance, plus $10,000 in royalties, for each song she wrote.
Madonna was ultimately signed for two 12" singles by the President of Sire, Seymour Stein, who was impressed by her singing, after listening to "Everybody" at a hospital in Lenox Hill where he was admitted. The 12" version of "Everybody" was produced by Mark Kamins at Blank Tapes Studios in New York, who took over the production work from Steve Bray. The new recording ran 5:56 on one side and 9:23 for the dub version on the reverse side. Madonna and Kamins had to record the single at their own cost. Arthur Baker, friend of Mark Kamins, guided him through the role of a music producer and provided him with studio musician Fred Zarr who played keyboards on the track. Zarr became one of the common musical threads on the album by eventually performing on every track. Due to restrained budget the recording was done hurriedly. Madonna and Kamins had difficulty in understanding each other's inputs for the sessions. Rosenblatt wanted to release "Everybody" with "Ain't No Big Deal" on the other side, but later changed his mind and put "Everybody" on both sides of the vinyl record after hearing the recorded version of "Ain't No Big Deal". The single was commercially released in October 1982 and became a dance hit in the United States. This led to Sire signing Madonna for an LP and two more singles.