Lady GaGa, who was born Joanne Stefani Germanotta on March 28, 1986 in New York City, showed a strong passion in music since she was a little. She used to sing along her mini plastic tape recorder to Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper's hits. There was also a point in her childhood where she turned to sounds performed by The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. By age four, she had taught herself to play piano by ear. When she was a teenager, she penned her first song and played in front of public for the first time during an open mic night at New York's Bitter End with a band she formed.
GaGa's music career was started through a performance in the Lower East Side club scenes. There, she found herself among singers who wrote the same style of songs. Wanting to try something different and unique, she decided to do something provocative in the music scene by being an exhibitionist, theatrical performer. "Everybody did the same s**t, super-boring. I wanted to do something that was original and fresh," she said during an interview.
It was after her band disbanded that big ideas were conceived. She worked with music producer Rob Fusari who was searching a female singer for a new band. Together they worked on electronic songs and sent them to music industry bosses, including Antonio "L.A." Reid. When she was 19, GaGa signed a deal with Def Jam Records but was dropped three months later. Yet, she didn't let her premature disappointment overthrow her.
GaGa met Lady Starlight who helped mold her on-stage persona. As a duo act of "Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow", these two gained the attention for their low-fi tribute to 1970s variety acts. They were invited to perform at 2007 Lollapalooza music festival and earned positive reviews. GaGa continued building her fan base by performing at local shows. Fusari sent the songs they have worked on to producer Vincent Herbert who eventually signed her to Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, in 2007.
From here, GaGa worked her way up from a songwriter for other artists to a performing artist. Interscope's producer Jimmy Iovine offered her a label deal via Streamline/Interscope and partnered her with singer/songwriter Akon, who recognized her vocal talent. "When we were working, Akon would say, 'Get in the booth and cut these vocals,' and he'd always tell me I could really sing. So he decided he wanted to be a part of my music," she said. "He spoke to Jimmy, and we decided to become a big family."
GaGa then struck a partnership with producer RedOne and created "Boys Boys Boys" with him. Creative juice flew out at rapid speed and GaGa's debut was in the making. Songs like "Beautiful Dirty Rich", "Dirty Ice Cream", and "Disco Heaven" were the ammo. Marrying a lot of different genres, from Def Leppard's drums to handclap sounds on urban tracks, she mixed retro dance beats with urban melodies, a pop chorus, and still retain a rock 'n' roll edge for her debut album.
Finally GaGa's hard work paid off when her first studio album called "The Fame" hit the U.S. stores on August 19, 2008 "It's very 70's, with early 80's Prince-like guitars and 80's synths. It's a bit retro, a bit glamorous, and you can dance to it. It's very futuristic, very fresh, and very dramatic, sort of like theatrical pop," she commented on the effort.
Out of 12 new tracks from "The Fame", GaGa picked a Colby O'Donis-featuring song "Just Dance" as the lead single off the record. The pop-dance track was a hit in clubs in U.S. peaking both number 2 on Billboard Hot Dance Airplay and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. Meanwhile, for the second single, she chose "Poker Face". Featuring some haunting beats, the song contains a hook interpolation from the 1977 disco hit "Ma Baker" by Boney M.
"The Fame" went on selling over 12 million copies worldwide. It was nominated for a total of six Grammys at the 52nd Grammy Awards, including for Album of the Year. It won the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album and the Best Dance Recording for the single "Poker Face". GaGa added multiple award honors in 2009 and 2010 including MTV Video Music Awards and BRIT Awards.
The rising star went on a world tour to support the album while recording an upgraded version of it. The fame short further high up when she released the single "Bad Romance". It topped the charts in a lot of countries such as United States, Australia and United Kingdom. Her eccentric performance and ideas began to influence the world of music, especially after the Beyonce Knowles-featuring music video for "Telephone" in which she wore glasses made of burning cigarettes.
Her videos started to become more and more controversial beginning with "Alejandro". The Catholic League attacked her for her alleged use of blasphemy, but GaGa managed to dodge all criticisms and earned billion views on YouTube.
GaGa made an impression worldwide when she performed a duet with Elton John in a medley of "Speechless" and "Your Song" at the opening of 52nd Grammy Awards. Known for her stage persona, she was booked in almost big music events that year. GaGa admitted that she was even asked to open the tour for Michael Jackson's This Is It concert series before the legendary pop singer died.
Due to the success of the album, it spawned a re-release "The Fame Monster", but a glitch popped up in mid 2010 when her former producer Rob Fusari wanted his share of earnings from "The Fame". Case was resolved when New York Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit and a countersuit was filed by GaGa five months later.
GaGa's sophomore album received high expectation because the first one made her an instant major player in the industry. As soon as she released the single "Born This Way", GaGa met both praises and criticisms. Many thought that she was copying Madonna in her "Vogue" days. Despite the comments, GaGa was invited to perform live for the first time at the 53rd Grammy Awards. She famously emerged from a giant egg shell to project the idea of "Born".
The album was released on May 23, 2011, and the lead single continued to make successful entries on charts. Deemed as an anthem for the gays, "Born This Way" broke atop Billboard Hot 100, becoming the 19th number-one debut and the 1,000th number-one single in the history of the charts. It also sold more than 3 million copies digitally in United States. GaGa topped it all off with a surreal music video in which she gave birth to a new race.
GaGa was featured in a duet song with John called "Hello, Hello", which was used as the soundtrack to animated film, "Gnomeo & Juliet". She continued releasing dance anthems such as "Judas" and "The Edge of Glory" from the second album. A music video for "Judas" in particular, touched sensitive issue of Catholicism when she portrayed Mary Magdalene and hired actors to play Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot.
"Born This Way" the album sold more than a million copies in the first week of sale in the United States. It also topped the charts in more than 20 countries around the world. While releasing more singles from the album, she did a collaboration with Tony Bennett on the jazz version of "The Lady Is a Tramp". She struck a friendship with the senior singer after he did a charcoal sketch of her naked self.
GaGa once again invited the chatters when she performed 2011 MTV Video Music Awards as her male alter-ego, Jo Calderone. She attempted to kiss Britney Spears on stage in a staged stunt, but Britney stopped her and said that she was done with a same-sex kiss, referring to her famous on-stage kiss with Madonna back in 2003.
In late 2011, GaGa parted ways with her longtime choreographer Laurieann Gibson and replaced her with Richard Jackson. In November that year, GaGa released some festive-related projects such as her fourth extended play "A Very GaGa Holiday" and a Thanksgiving Day television special entitled "A Very GaGa Thanksgiving". She had started working on her third album while going on "Born This Way" tour.
While working for her next album, GaGa continued traveling the world for live concerts and appeared in movies "Machete Kills" and "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For". In early 2013, she had to take a break from performing after suffering a hip surgery. During this year, her feud with frenemy Perez Hilton escalated.
She also had a rift with Kelly Osbourne but she offered an olive branch by sending the E! host a birthday cake on her 29th birthday. Her peace offering was initially rejected harshly by Osbourne but the "Fashion Police" judge later backtracked her rants.
Two years in the making, her third all-new album "ARTPOP" was finally released on November 6. 2013. It boasted a hit single "Applause" which peaked at No. 4 on Hot 100. It became her twelfth top-ten single in the United States. Just before the album got released, news broke out that she parted ways with her longtime manager Troy Carter due to creative differences.
"ARTPOP" landed at No. 1 on Billboad 200, but it was considered a flop because it failed to sell as much as its predecessor. Following fans' criticism, GaGa returned in 2014 with a jazz album which she worked on with Tony Bennett. Titled "Cheek to Cheek", the record received rave reviews from critics and made its debut at No. 1 on the album chart.
GaGa spent the following year promoting the album with live performances with Bennett. She also kept herself busy by starring on the fifth season of "American Horror Story". Her performance as the owner of the haunted hotel on the show received mixed reviews, but she walked away with the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film at the 2016 ceremony.
In early 2016, GaGa began teasing her fifth solo album by saying during an interview that it was going to come out later in the year. The first preview, the lead single called "Perfect Illusion", was finally released in early September and it has so far peaked at No. 15 on Billboard Hot 100. Her next album, "Joanne", is scheduled to hit the stores on September 30.