Born Stefani Germanotta on March 28, 1986, the New York native attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private all-girl Catholic school in Manhattan, before proceeding to study music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts at age 17.
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. However, in the second week the album experienced an 84% sales decrease and a 94% digital sales drop. In it's third week the album had a 42% sales decrease and, in the fourth week sales of of the album decreased by another 33%.
Gaga has been included in Time's annual "The 2010 Time 100" list of the most influential people in the world as well as Forbes' list of the "The World's Most Powerful Celebrities" in the world. Forbes also placed her at number seven on their annual list of the world's "100 Most Powerful Women."
In November 2009, she reissued The Fame along with an eight-song EP of new tracks called The Fame Monster, explaining that she'd been grappling with different kinds of demons and fears as her profile grew. The record's "Bad Romance" hit Number Two and spawned another beloved video featuring Gaga and her backup dancers turning their hands into a contorted monster claw, which became one of her signatures. "Telephone" includes a guest spot from Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga returned the favor, singing on a remix of I Am ... Sasha Fierce's "Video Phone."
A joint tour with Kanye West called "Fame Kills" was announced but cancelled after West's public meltdown at the 2009 Video Music Awards. Gaga instead set off on her solo trek, dubbed the Monster Ball, which featured elaborate stage sets and costumes designed by her Haus of Gaga team.
She trained with Christina Aguilera's vocal coach, learned classical piano, and studied her father's classic rock albums. She joined a band her freshman year at an upscale New York prep school, doing covers of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin oldies.
Influenced by flamboyant glam rockers such as David Bowie and Freddie Mercury (indeed, her stage name is drawn from the Queen song "Radio Ga-Ga") as well as '80s dance-poppers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, she began playing the piano at a young age and later began writing songs and performing as a teenager. In 2007 she began to make a name for herself on the downtown Manhattan club scene with a performance art show billed as Lady GaGa and the Starlight Revue (co-featuring Lady Starlight; born Colleen Martin, a DJ and makeup professional), and music industry insiders began to take note.
In 2005, Lady Gaga was briefly signed by Def Jam Records, but was dropped just months after signing. Being dropped by the label propelled the singer to perform on her own in clubs and venues on New York City's Lower East Side. There, she collaborated with several rock bands, and began her experimentation with fashion.
The self-dubbed "Lady Gaga" (she has attributed the inspiration for her name to the Queen song, "Radio Ga-Ga") was granted early admission to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts at the age of 17 - one of only 20 students in the world to receive the honor of early acceptance. While there, she studied music and worked on her songwriting skills. She later withdrew from school in order to find creative inspiration. To make ends meet, she took three jobs - including a stint as a gogo dancer - while she honed her performance-art act.
Gaga learned to play the piano by the age of four. At the age of 11, she was accepted to the Juilliard School in Manhattan, but instead attended a private Catholic school in the city. She continued studying music and performing, writing her first piano ballad at the age of 13 and holding her first performance at the age of 14 in a New York nightclub.
Lady Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which included the hits "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "Bad Romance" and sold over 15 million copies worldwide. The album earned her six Grammy nominations and two wins as well as a slew of other awards recognition, including a record setting thirteen MTV Video Music Award nominations. Gaga is the first artist in history to claim four #1 hits from a debut album ("Just Dance," "Poker Face," "LoveGame" and "Paparazzi").