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:
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.
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.