Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28 1986 with Sicilian/Italian heritage), is an American songwriter, singer, actress, philanthropist, dancer and fashion designer. Born in Manhattan, New York, she was able to sing and play the piano from a young age. She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart from age 11 where was bullied for her appearance (she was small and plumper than other girls with large front teeth) and eccentric habits.
By the age of 14, Gaga was performing at open mike nights in clubs and bars. By age 17, she had gained early admission to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues and politics. At the age of 19 Gaga withdrew from her studies and moved out of her parents' home in order to pursue a musical career. During this time she started a band which began to gain local attention.
After a brief partnership with talent scout Rob Fusari, which resulted in the creation of her stage name, Gaga was signed to Def Jam Records in 2006; however she was dropped from the label after just three months. Devastated, Gaga returned home, and became increasingly experimental: fascinating herself with emerging neo-burlesque shows, go-go dancing at bars dressed in little more than a bikini in addition to experimenting with drugs.
Gaga met performance artist Lady Starlight during this time; after a performance at Lollapalooza Festival in 2007 Gaga was signed by Vince Herbert to Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Having served as an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV. As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears and labelmates New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls. At Interscope, singer-songwriter Akon recognized her vocal abilities when she sang a reference vocal for one of his tracks in studio; Akon then convinced Interscope-Geffen-A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Iovine to form a joint deal by having her also sign with his own label Kon Live, making her his "franchise player."
In 2008 Gaga released her first album 'The Fame' to lukewarm radio play; Gaga toured around Europe and in gay clubs in the US to promote the album - however it was not until her first hit 'Just Dance' came to mainstream attention in 2009 that Gaga exploded onto the music scene.
Since then Gaga has gained numerous awards and nominations for a string of hits; her first album spawned several more smash hits ('Paparazzi' 'LoveGame' and 'Poker Face'); while touring the album Gaga wrote 'The Fame Monster', an EP examining the darker side to her new-found fame. The Fame Monster was released in 2009 and won multiple awards, spawning her most iconic single 'Bad Romance' as well as 'Telephone' and 'Alejandro'. During this time Gaga came under increased public and critical scrutiny for her eccentric and often bizarre style choices. Gaga embarked on her second tour, The Monster Ball;ipon finishing in May 2011, the critically acclaimed and commercially accomplished tour ran for over one and a half years and grossed $227.4 million, making it one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time and the highest-grossing for a debut headlining artist. Concerts performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City were filmed for an HBO television special. The special accrued one of its five Emmy Award nominations and has since been released on DVD and Blu-ray.
In 2011 Gaga released her second full-length album 'Born this Way'; the album was received vastly more critically than her previous two for touching on themes of politics, sexuality, and religion. Despite this, the album's songs were praised critically, and Born This Way sold 1.108 million copies in its first week in the US, debuting atop the Billboard 200, and topping the charts in more than 20 other countries. In addition to exceeding 8 million copies in worldwide sales, Born This Way received 3 Grammy Award nominations, including her third consecutive for Album of the Year. In March 2012, Gaga was ranked fourth on Billboard's list of top moneymakers of 2011, grossing $25,353,039 dollars, which included sales from Born This Way and her Monster Ball Tour.
At the end of April 2012, Gaga's Born This Way kicked off in Korea - the tour would last 2 years and take the singer to every continent of the globe. However in February 2012 the tour was abruptly cancelled; Gaga had a labral tear in her right hip which she had been nursing secretly for several weeks in the hopes that she would be able to continue the tour. After a performance in Toronto left her unable to walk and in considerable pain, she was taken to hospital for surgery and the tour was cancelled. Through to Jan. 17, the tour had grossed $168.2 million and moved 1.6 million tickets to 85 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore, with the Asian, European, and South American legs already completed in 2012. The North American leg, which was to wrap the tour and was almost completely sold out, would have likely put the tour at more than $200 million gross, easily in the top 20 tours of all time and probably in the top 15, according to Billboard. As it stands, Gaga finished sixth among all touring artists in 2012, with a gross of $125 million and attendance of more than 1.1 million, according to Boxscore.
Gaga is writing her third album, ARTPOP, to be released mid-to-late 2013. Gaga is also to make her acting debut in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills, the sequel to his 2010 film Machete.
Often gives empowering speeches during shows to her fans about the importance of self-confidence and 'being whoever you want to be'.
Constant reinvention of her appearance.
Futuristic, highly fashionable/controversial outfits
She carries a glow-in-the-dark disco stick during performances
Rhythmic hooks and choruses
Refers to all her fans as "Monsters"
Often portrays herself as a rebel in her videos
In her videos, she often ends up killing someone - usually her boyfriend
Various colored wigs
Wild, charismatic dancing
Elaborate sunglasses and high heels
Has 14 tattoos: a peace sign on her left wrist, "Little Monsters" on her left inner bicep, a Rainer Rilke quote on her left inner bicep, the death date of her aunt Joanne on her left inner bicep, "Tokyo Love" on her left shoulder blade, a heart with "Dad" on her left shoulder blade, daises on her left shoulder blade, a treble clef on her center lower back, flowers up her left side, a unicorn with "Born This Way" on her left thigh, the word "ARTPOP" on her left forearm, an anchor on the left side of her ribcage, a cherub on the back of her head and the word "Rio" on the back of her head.
Is of Italian descent.
Go-go danced in bars until her musical career took off.
Three hit albums have spawned multiple award-winning hits such as 'Poker Face' Bad Romance' and 'Born This Way'.
Went to the same school with Paris Hilton.
At seventeen, she was one of twenty people in the world to have gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Her stage name, Lady Gaga, is a reference to the song "Radio Ga-Ga" by Queen.
Interscope music executive Vincent Herbert hired her in January 2008 as a music writer.
She states that she is "very into fashion" and that it is "everything".
Her song "Boys, Boys, Boys" was inspired by Mötley Crüe's hit "Girls, Girls, Girls".
She learned how to play the piano at the age of four, wrote her first piano ballad at 13, and began performing at open mic nights by the age of 14.
Her parents are Joseph, an Internet entrepreneur, and Cynthia, a telecommunications assistant.
She makes mention of the band, The Killers, in her song "Boys, Boys, Boys".
On February 20, 2009, she donated tickets and a meet and greet, for any show on her Fame Ball tour, in the US or Canada, to raise money for Odyssey Charter School and elementary schools in Los Angeles affected by budget cuts.
Has a younger sister, Natalie Germanotta.
Is a natural brunette.
Bleached her hair blonde in light of the fact that she was being mistaken for Amy Winehouse by interviewers while trying to make it big.
Has a contralto vocal range.
Her song "Telephone" was originally written for Britney Spears's sixth album Circus. However, after it failed to make the album's final track listing, Gaga recorded the song as a collaboration with 'Beyonce Knowles' for her second album, The Fame Monster.
Made the cover of Time magazine's double issue - The 100 Most Influential People in the World - alongside Bill Clinton and Didier Drogba. In the magazine's "Artists" category (which she headed), the singer's tribute was written by Cyndi Lauper. [May 10, 2010]
Is good friends with Deepak Chopra and has stated he is one of the most influential people in her life because of the spiritual guidance he gives her.
In high school, one of her nicknames was "The Germ".
A staunch supporter of LGBT Rights.
Her sister, Natalie Germanotta, once dressed as her for Halloween.
Her album "Born This Way" (2011) sold over 1 million copies in the first week. Amazon sold 440,000 copies of the album in its first two days at a price of 99 cents (at a loss of over $3 million). This contributed to the album's 662,000 digital sales, the highest one-week digital total of all time.
Her second album "Born This Way" (2011) is the seventh album to sell 1 million copies in 1 week. Gaga is the 5th woman to sell 1 million album copies in a week, after Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Norah Jones and Taylor Swift.
Ranked #99 in the 2011 FHM list of "100 Sexiest Women". Ranked #92 in the 2010 FHM list of "100 Sexiest Women".
Launched "Born This Way Foundation", a non-profit organization to help people, worldwide, develop a new standard of care towards one another [November 13, 2011].
[November 14, 2011] Fired her longtime creative director and choreographer, Laurieann Gibson.
In a 2011 Billboard poll, Gaga was voted as having the Best Fashion for 2011 and was also voted as the Most Overrated artist of 2011. Her song "Born This Way" was voted as the 3rd Favorite Hot 100 No. 1 (16% of all votes), behind "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele (32% of all votes) and "Hold it Against Me" by Britney Spears (31% of all votes). Gaga's album "Born This Way" was also voted as the 3rd Favorite No. 1 album for 2011 (17% of votes), behind "21" by 'Adele' (35% of votes) and "Femme Fatale" by Britney Spears (33% of votes).
Sang "The Lady is a Tramp" with Tony Bennett on his compilation album "Duets II" (2011).
Her father, Joe Germanotta, and Art Smith are co-owners of "Joanne Trattoria", a New York Italian restaurant [January 2012].
Voted #18 on Ask men's top 99 'most desirable' women of 2012 list.
Got her middle name, Joanne, after her aunt. Her aunt Joanne died of lupus at age 19.
Underwent successful hip surgery on February 20, 2013.
[on Donatella Versace] She's iconic and powerful, yet people throw darts at her. She's definitely provocative.
Some artists are working to buy the mansion or whatever the element of fame must bear, but I spend all my money on my show.
I was the arty girl, the theatre chick. I dressed differently and I came from a different social class from the other girls. I was more of an average schoolgirl with a cork.
[on her style] My grandmother is basically blind, but she can make out the lighter parts, like my skin and hair. She says, "I can see you, because you have no pants on." So I'll continue to wear no pants so that my grandma can see me.
You must never ever let a guy know how much you like him, because then he'll run in the other direction ... Well, I just sign that when you don't play hard to get, if you're too easy or you come off too eager, they run away so you gotta keep your pokerface on.
I love Dolce & Gabbana. I love Versace. I love the crazy, more eccentric stuff. I can't pay my rent, but I'm f---ing gorgeous.
I dropped out of NYU, moved out of my parent's house, got my own place, and survived on my own. I made music and worked my way from the bottom up. I didn't know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody. If I have any advice to anybody, it's to just do it yourself, and don't waste time trying to get a favor.
Writing a record is like dating a few men at once. You take them to the same restaurants to see if they measure up, and at some point you decide who you like best. When you make music or write or create, it's really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you're writing about at the time.
My album covers are not sexual at all, which was an issue at my record label. I fought for months, and I cried at meetings. They didn't think the photos were commercial enough... In my opinion, the last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself.
[on Britney Spears] Britney's a real class act in terms of the way she handles herself in the media and embraces new artists. She's always really kind, I've always admired that about her.
[on Britney Spears] It was awesome seeing the song change when she put her touches on it. I'm just really grateful that she loves the music and she's so supportive of me. She's a fan of my stuff and to write a song that she loves and to know she loves me as an artist, you can't ask for anything better than that.
[on Britney Spears] She's gonna kick everybody's ass. She's awesome; as far as I'm concerned, Britney never left.
[on writing the song Quicksand for Britney Spears] She was very sweet and she was very excited to do this song. It's an honor to do anything for Britney Spears - she is such an iconic pop figure for my generation.
I am not sexy in the way that Britney Spears is sexy - which is a compliment to her because she's deliciously good-looking.
[on writing songs for Britney Spears] She's a nice girl - I just feel very honored that she wanted to sing my song. I used to scream for her in Times Square and now I work for her. When I was 13 she was the most provocative performer of my time. I love her so much!
I would rather die than have my fans not see me in a pair of high heels. I'd never give up my wigs or hats for anything. You see legendary people taking out their trash, I think it's destroying show business.
[about her experience at school] I had a very big nose, very curly brown hair and I was overweight. I got made fun of.
Pop music will never be low brow.
[on how to be glamorous for a photo shoot] Just look straight into that lens and be yourself.
Be yourself and love who you are and be proud. Because you were born this way, baby.
People assume that when I'm off stage I transform back into someone else. But I truly believe in the glamorous lifestyle that I present to the outside world. I love glamor. A glamorous life is quite different to a life of luxury. I don't need luxury. For years I was practically broke but I was still vain and glamorous.
[on Freddie Mercury]: Freddie was unique - one of the biggest personalities in the whole of pop music.
Everywhere I go a Gaga fairy has been there before me and left a cupboard full of wonderful clothes that I'm allowed to borrow and wear. When I move on to the next city, the next cupboard is waiting. I haven't been shopping myself for over a year now.
She is the queen, Madonna is the queen. I have so much adoration for her. Being compared to her is unbelievably flattering, but in truth there is no one that can compare with Madonna. She is the queen!
First thing in the morning, try to think compassionate thoughts about yourself for five minutes. I don't always do it, but I try to.
[on sleeping with her makeup still on] I've got to wash my face at some point. I do get laughed at quite a bit by all my friends because they say I go to sleep a lot with my make-up on. But I say that I have to be ready for the men in my dreams!
They'd say, 'Why do you do your make-up like that, what's with your eyebrows?' I used to do these really big Evita brows. I used to self-tan, and I had this really intense tan in school, and people would say, 'Why the fuck are you so orange, why do you do your hair that way, are you a dyke?' I used to be called a slut... I didn't even want to go to school sometimes.
[on sex] It's always been important to me, as it's for my generation, a most relevant consideration when you're growing up. Sex doesn't mean nothing; sex means so much. I hope that young women know that sex is still a big deal, and they don't have to put out soon. If they want someone to court them for a while before they give it up, that's wonderful and beautiful, and a man will only respect you more for honoring your body. I am that way.
My mother and I have initiated a passion project. Together we hope to establish a standard of Bravery and Kindness, as well as a community worldwide that protects and nurtures others in the face of bullying and abandonment.
Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are.
Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams.
There's a sort of stigma around doing good deeds that's maybe not so cool. I'm doing everything that I can, working with experts, really studying the statistics to figure out a way we can make. It cool or normal to be kind and loving.
(January 2010) Named the new face of "Polaroid".
(January 2013) Set to make first theatrical debut in Machete Kills.
(February 2012) Ended her 2-year world tour early due to injury; is now recovering and focusing on her second studio album, ARTPOP
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