Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in March 1986, is a singer, songwriter and actress from New York City who has been hailed for her unconventional and provocative art and performances. With over 27 million albums and 146 million single sold as of January 2016, she is widely considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, and has won three Brit Awards, six Grammies and recognition from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
After dropping out of studying at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to become a professional musician, she was first picked up by Def Jam Recordings where she wrote and performed alongside their roster of artists. After her contract was cancelled, Gaga then worked as a songwriter for Sony and ATV Music Publishing where she would later meet fellow musician Akon, who in turn helped her to sign a deal with Interscope Records and his own label KonLive Distribution in 2007.
Collaborating with songwriter and producer RedOne and signing with Cherrytree Records, Gaga started work on her debut album in 2007.
was released in 2008, a dance-pop and electronic record that spawned chart-topping singles "Just Dance"
and "Poker Face"
. A follow-up EP called The Fame Monster
was also wildly successful on its release in 2009, with more singles hitting the charts, including "Bad Romance", "Telephone" and "Alejandro", and Gaga hitting the road on an international tour.
Gaga's second album took a few more years of work, remaining unreleased until 2011, and took a more electro-rock and glam-inspired direction. Born This Way
topped the US charts, sold more than a million copies in its first week and produced a title track, "Born This Way", that became the fastest-selling song ever to appear on iTunes, shifting more than a million downloads within a week. Her third album Artpop
took on more of an RnB and disco flavour but topped US charts again with the hit single "Applause".
In 2014, she moved on to record an album with jazz legend Tony Bennett called Cheek to Cheek
, which featured several duets and was Gaga's third consecutive number one album. She also appeared in US television show American Horror Story: Hotel
, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 2016.
Her fifth studio album Joanne
took on a new approach again, this time featuring country and pop elements, and marked her ascent to stardom by making her the first woman to ever have four US number one albums during the 2010s.
Most recently, Gaga performed in the half-time show of the 2017 Superbowl and has performed a great deal of humanitarian and philanthropic work, including setting up a non-profit called the Born This Way Foundation which promotes youth empowerment and prevents bullying.