|“||Who turned HMV into a motherfucking houseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?||”|
— Lady Gaga, after someone turned HMV into a house
Lady Gaga is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She was born this way on March 28, 1986.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986, at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, to a Catholic family with Italian and French Canadian roots. Her parents are Cynthia Louise (née Bissett) and Internet entrepreneur Joseph Germanotta, and she has a younger sister, Natali. Brought up in the affluent Upper West Side of Manhattan, she says that her parents came from lower-class families and worked hard for everything. From age 11, she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private, all-girls Roman Catholic school. Gaga described her academic life in high school as "very dedicated, very studious, very disciplined" but also "a bit insecure". She considered herself a misfit among her peers and was mocked for "being either too provocative or too eccentric".
Gaga began to play the piano at the age of four when her mother insisted she become "a cultured young woman", taking lessons and practicing the instrument throughout her childhood. The lessons taught her to create music by ear, which she preferred over reading sheet music and practiced professionally. Her parents encouraged her to pursue music, and enrolled her in Creative Arts Camp. As a teenager, she played at open mic nights. At her high school, Gaga played the lead roles of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. She also studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for ten years. Gaga unsuccessfully auditioned for New York shows, though appeared in a small role as a high school student in a 2001 episode of The Sopranos titled "The Telltale Moozadell". She later said of her inclination towards music:
I don't know exactly where my affinity for music comes from, but it is the thing that comes easiest to me. When I was like three years old, I may have been even younger, my mom always tells this really embarrassing story of me propping myself up and playing the keys like this because I was too young short to get all the way up there. Just go like this on the low end of the piano ... I was really, really good at piano, so my first instincts were to work so hard at practicing piano, and I might not have been a natural dancer, but I am a natural musician. That is the thing that I believe I am the greatest at.
In 2003, at age 17, Gaga gained early admission to Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21)—a music school at New York University (NYU)'s Tisch School of the Arts—and lived in an NYU dorm. At NYU, she studied music and improved her songwriting skills by writing essays on art, religion, social issues, and politics, including a thesis on pop artists Spencer Tunick and Damien Hirst. During the second semester of her sophomore year in 2005, she withdrew to focus on her music career. The same year, she played an unsuspecting diner customer for MTV's Boiling Points, a prank reality television show.
In 2014, Gaga said she had been raped at the age of 19, for which she underwent mental and physical therapy. She has posttraumatic stress disorder that she attributes to the incident, and says that support from doctors, family, and friends has helped her.
2005–2007: Career beginnings In 2005, Gaga recorded two songs with hip-hop singer Grandmaster Melle Mel for an audio book accompanying Cricket Casey's children's novel The Portal in the Park. She also formed a band called the SGBand with some friends from NYU. The band played at gigs around New York, becoming a fixture of the downtown Lower East Side club scene. After the 2006 Songwriters Hall of Fame New Songwriters Showcase at The Cutting Room in June, Gaga was recommended to music producer Rob Fusari by talent scout Wendy Starland. Fusari collaborated with Gaga, who traveled daily to New Jersey, helping to develop her songs and compose new material. The producer said they began dating in May 2006, and claimed to have been the first person to call her "Lady Gaga", which was derived from Queen's song "Radio Ga Ga". Their relationship lasted until January 2007.
Two scantily-clad young women singing on a stage. The one on the left wears sunglasses and a yellow bikini. The one on the right has a microphone and black stockings. Gaga (right) performing with Lady Starlight at Lollapalooza 2007 Fusari and Gaga established a company called Team Lovechild, LLC to promote her career. They recorded and produced electropop tracks, sending them to music industry executives. Joshua Sarubin, the head of Artists and repertoire (A&R) at Def Jam Recordings, responded positively and, after approval from Sarubin's boss Antonio "L.A." Reid, Gaga was signed to Def Jam in September 2006. She was dropped from the label three months later and returned to her family home for Christmas. She began performing at neo-burlesque shows, which according to her represented freedom. During this time, she met performance artist Lady Starlight, who helped mold her onstage persona. The pair began performing at downtown club venues like the Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End, and the Rockwood Music Hall. Their live performance art piece, known as "Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue" and billed as "The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow", was a tribute to 1970s variety acts. They performed at the 2007 Lollapalooza music festival.
Having initially focused on avant-garde electronic dance music, Gaga began to incorporate pop melodies and the glam rock style of David Bowie and Queen into her songs. While Gaga and Starlight were performing, Fusari continued to develop the songs he had created with her, sending them to the producer and record executive Vincent Herbert. In November 2007, Herbert signed Gaga to his label Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, established that month. Gaga later credited Herbert as the man who discovered her. Having served as an apprentice songwriter during an internship at Famous Music Publishing, Gaga struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV. As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and The Pussycat Dolls. At Interscope, musician Akon was impressed with her singing abilities when she sang a reference vocal for one of his tracks in studio. Akon convinced Jimmy Iovine, chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M, to form a joint deal by having Gaga also sign with his own label KonLive, making her his "franchise player".
In late 2007, Gaga met with songwriter and producer RedOne. She collaborated with him in the recording studio for a week on her debut album, signing with Cherrytree Records, an Interscope imprint established by producer and songwriter Martin Kierszenbaum; she also wrote four songs with Kierszenbaum. Despite securing a record deal, she said that some radio stations found her music too "racy", "dance-oriented", and "underground" for the mainstream market. She responded: "My name is Lady Gaga, I've been on the music scene for years, and I'm telling you, this is what's next."
2008–2010: Breakthrough with The Fame and The Fame Monster By 2008, Gaga had relocated to Los Angeles to work extensively with her record label to complete her debut album, The Fame, and to set up her own creative team called the Haus of Gaga, modeled on Andy Warhol's Factory. The Fame was released on August 19, 2008, reaching number one in Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and the UK and appearing in the top five in Australia and the US. Its first two singles, "Just Dance" and "Poker Face", reached number one in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The latter was also the world's best-selling single of 2009—with 9.8 million copies sold that year—and spent a record 83 weeks on the Digital Songs chart. Three other singles, "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)", "LoveGame", and "Paparazzi", were released from the album; the last one reached number one in Germany. Remixed versions of the singles from The Fame except "Eh, Eh" were included in Hitmixes in August 2009. At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, The Fame and "Poker Face" won Best Dance/Electronica Album and Best Dance Recording, respectively.
A young woman on stage. She wears a bright yellow wig, a purple shiny jacket with shoulder pads, and matching purple sunglasses with a leotard and stockings. Gaga performing on The Monster Ball Tour in 2010. Grossing $227 million, it became the highest-grossing concert tour for a debut headlining artist. Following her opening act on The Pussycat Dolls' 2009 Doll Domination Tour in Europe and Oceania, Gaga headlined her worldwide The Fame Ball Tour, which ran from March to September 2009. While traveling the globe, she wrote eight songs for The Fame Monster, a reissue of The Fame. Those new songs were also released as a stand-alone EP.