Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She began performing in the rock music scene of Manhattan's Lower East Side, and by the end of 2007, was signed with Streamline Records. Employed as a songwriter for the record company, her vocal abilities captured the attention of recording artist Akon, who signed her to his label Kon Live Distribution.

Lady Gaga came to prominence as a recording artist following the release of her debut album The Fame (2008), which was a critical and commercial success that topped charts around the world and included the international number-one singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". After embarking on the Fame Ball Tour, she followed the album with The Fame Monster (2009), which spawned the worldwide hit singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone" and "Alejandro" and allowed her to embark on the eighteen-month long Monster Ball Tour, which later became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Her most recent album Born This Way (2011) topped the charts of most major markets and generated more international chart-topping singles that include "Born This Way", "Judas", "The Edge of Glory", and "Marry The Night". Beside her musical career, she involves herself with humanitarian causes and LGBT activism.

Influenced by such acts as David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Queen, Lady Gaga is well-recognized for her flamboyant, diverse and outré contributions to the music industry through fashion, performance and music videos. She has sold an estimated 23 million albums and 64 million singles worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time and her singles some of the best-selling worldwide. Her achievements include four Guinness World Records, five Grammy Awards and thirteen MTV Video Music Awards. Lady Gaga has consecutively appeared on Billboard magazine's Artists of the Year (scoring the definitive title in 2010), is regularly placed on lists composed by Forbes magazine, and was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

Early life
Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986 in New York City to parents Cynthia (née Bissett) and Joseph Germanotta, an internet entrepreneur. Descending from Italian and more distant French-Canadian roots, Gaga is the elder of two children. Her sister, Natali, a fashion student, was born in 1992. Despite her seemingly affluent upbringing in the family home in Manhattan's Upper West Side, Gaga has stressed that she did not come from a wealthy background, stating that her parents "both came from lower-class families, so we've worked for everything—my mother worked eight to eight out of the house, in telecommunications, and so did my father."

From the age of 11, Gaga – who was raised Roman Catholic – attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private all-girls Roman Catholic school on Manhattan's Upper East Side. She described her academic life in high school as "very dedicated, very studious, very disciplined" but also "a bit insecure": "I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn't fit in, and I felt like a freak." Acquaintances dispute that she did not fit in at school. "She had a core group of friends; she was a good student. She liked boys a lot, but singing was No. 1," recalled a former high school classmate.

Left-handed Gaga began playing the piano at the age of 4, went on to write her first piano ballad at 13, and started to perform at open mike nights by the age of 14. Her passion for musical theatre brought her lead roles in high school productions, including Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. She also appeared in a very small role as a mischievous classmate in the television drama series The Sopranos in a 2001 episode titled "The Telltale Moozadell" in addition to unsuccessfully auditioning for parts in New York shows. When her time at the Convent of the Sacred Heart came to an end, her mother encouraged her to apply for the Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21), a musical theatre training conservatory at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. After gaining early admission at 17, she eventually lived in an NYU dorm on 11th Street.

CAP21 prepared her for her future career focus in "music, art, sex and celebrity" where, in addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues and politics, including a thesis on pop artists Spencer Tunick and Damien Hirst. With CAP21, she also tried out for and won auditions, including the part of an unsuspecting diner customer where MTV's Boiling Points, a prank reality television show, was being filmed. Notwithstanding these achievements, she felt that she was more creative than some of her classmates. "Once you learn how to think about art, you can teach yourself," she said. By the second semester of her sophomore year, she withdrew to focus on her musical career. Her father agreed to pay her rent for a year, on the condition that she re-enroll at Tisch if unsuccessful. "I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find, and ate shit until somebody would listen," she remembers.

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