Lady Gaga Biography and Profile

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga. Photo by Gregg DeGuire / WireImage

The Education of Lady Gaga

Born March 20, 1986, Stefani Germanotta attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart school in New York. As a teenager she began writing songs and playing open mic nights at clubs in Manhattan. While in high school she performed in a wide range of dramatic plays and musicals. At the age of 17, Stefani was admitted to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Making a Name in the Underground

Through her club connections in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Stefani Germanotta met and began working with producer Rob Fusari in 2006.

It was Fusari who helped create the stage name Lady Gaga with inspiration from Queen's classic hit "Radio GaGa." It is a reference to sharing the flamboyant spirit of Queen's Freddie Mercury. Lady Gaga also joined forces with DJ / performance artist Lady Starlight, and the pair made a name for themselves with such stage projects as Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue.

The Sound of Lady Gaga

Unlike many of her counterparts in the Lower East Side club scene, Lady Gaga turned away from rock to pop music as her primary inspiration. She takes her inspiration from a wide variety of influences including the Cyndi Lauper music from her childhood, 70's variety shows, disco, and Madonna.

Reviews of Lady GaGa's Music

Albums

  • Born This Way
  • The Fame Monster

Songs

  • "Alejandro"
  • "Bad Romance"
  • "Born This Way"
  • "The Edge Of Glory"
  • "Judas"
  • "Just Dance"
  • "LoveGame"
  • "Paparazzi"
  • "Poker Face"
  • "Telephone" featuring Beyonce

Songwriting Success

Lady Gaga was briefly signed to a contract by Def Jam, but no recordings came out of the agreement.

In 2007 she was signed by Interscope as a songwriter and began collaborating with Akon. She also wrote songs for artists like the Pussycat Dolls and New Kids on the Block. While having her do initial reference vocals for recordings, Akon sensed Lady Gaga's talent and helped begin promoting her career as a solo recording artist.

Lady GaGa Breaks Into the Pop Mainstream

Working with a creative team titled House of Gaga, Lady Gaga headed to the studio to record her first album The Fame. Interscope released the first single "Just Dance" in April 2008 and sent Lady Gaga on tour with the New Kids on the Block reunion tour. With "Just Dance" in the pop top 40, the debut album The Fame was released in late October, and it debuted inside the top 20 of the album chart.

Pop Superstar

Lady GaGa's singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" both became #1 smash hits. She followed them with the summer 2009 top 5 hit "LoveGame." All three of these were produced by RedOne. For a fourth single from The Fame she turned to work with Rob Fusari and the song "Paparazzi." It was accompanied by a controversial Jonas Akerlund video examining death and murder.

In the fall of 2009 Lady Gaga's next musical step forward appeared with the release of "Bad Romance" in advance of the mini-album The Fame Monster. Her music garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success. The release of the music video for "Telephone" became a major pop culture event.

After months of feverish anticipation, Lady Gaga released "Born This Way," the title single from her third album.

The album Born This Way hit stores in May 2011. It sold 1,108,000 copies in its first week of release giving it the best single week of sales for any album since 2005.

Commercial Disappointment

After a phenomenal eleven consecutive top 10 pop hit singles, Lady Gaga was widely acclaimed as one of the world's top pop stars. Her 2013 album Artpop was one of the most highly anticipated releases in pop history. The first single "Applause" was released in August 2013. It received mixed reviews. While many critics gave positive assessments, they were quick to state that it did not match their quality of her best previous singles. "Applause" failed to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #4. 

Leading up to the release of the album. questions were raised about the quality of Lady Gaga's new music.

Amid massive fanfare and public events, Artpop was released in November 2013. It debuted at #1 on the album chart selling over 250,000 copies in its first week but the sales were a far cry from the million copies sold by Born This Way in its first week. Follow up singles failed to reach the pop top 10. 

New Directions and Artistic Acclaim

Following Artpop, Lady Gaga turned in a number of different directions with strong success. She recorded a jazz duet album with Tony Bennett titled Cheek To Cheek. Released in September 2014, it hit #1 on the album chart and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. 

In early 2015 Lady Gaga appeared at the Academy Awards to sing a medley of songs from The Sound Of Music in tribute to the film's 50th anniversary. She earned tremendous positive acclaim. In October 2015 Lady Gaga appeared as a star of the fifth season of hit TV series American Horror Story. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film.

In February of 2016, Lady Gaga gave a celebrated performance of the national anthem at the Super Bowl. She co-wrote the song "'Til It Happens To You" and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Lady Gaga performed the song live at the Academy Award ceremony. 

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Lamb, Bill. "Lady Gaga Biography and Profile." ThoughtCo, Aug. 31, 2016, thoughtco.com/lady-gaga-biography-and-profile-3245408. Lamb, Bill. (2016, August 31). Lady Gaga Biography and Profile. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/lady-gaga-biography-and-profile-3245408 Lamb, Bill. "Lady Gaga Biography and Profile." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/lady-gaga-biography-and-profile-3245408 (accessed November 20, 2017).