Lady Gaga was born Stefani Germanotta. Young Stefani first learned to play piano by ear at the age of four (so she claims) and wrote her first piano ballad at the age of 13.
Gaga's Italian/American father, Joe Germanotta, started a company called Guest WiFi in 2002, which installed wireless internet access in hotels. Germanotta was quite a pioneer as 2002 was the dark ages of hotel WiFi. He eventually got out of the WiFi game to runs his daughter's publishing company, House of Gaga Publishing. Gaga later wrote the song "Speechless
, in which she hoped he would be convinced to seek the medical treatment for his longstanding heart condition.
She attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, the same private Manhattan Catholic school that Nicky and Paris Hilton attended. Gaga went on to study music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts at the age 17 but dropped out to pursue her music career.
Early Gaga TV appearances include an appearance at the age of 15 on Season 3 episode 9 of The Sopranos and a MTV reality show called Boiling Points in 2005, where she failed to win the $100 prize money. She also popped up on MTV's The Hills alongside Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port in September 2008.
Gaga started performing as a burlesque dancer after dropping out of college. She originally made a name for herself playing gigs at downtown Manhattan club venues with a performance art show billed as Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue (co-featuring performance artist Lady Starlight), which was when music industry insiders initially to take note.
Before becoming an internationally famous star, Gaga was an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing. After the company was acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga struck a music publishing and was hired to write songs for Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls.
Gaga's debut single was "Just Dance
. It was a slow starter, initially becoming a club hit, before debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in August 2008. It finally reached #1in January 2009. The song not only proved top be the singer's breakthrough hit, but was also instrumental in introducing to the Top 40 a techno-synth sound that had already been popular in Europe for the previous decade.
Gaga wrote a lot of her hit singles with Moroccan/Swedish producer RedOne (born Nadir Khayat). The first song they wrote together was "Boys Boys Boys
. RedOne once told MTV News that before he met with Gaga, he had decided he no longer wanted to work with unsigned artists, however the young New Yorker was different. He recalled: "I went and met with her ... and then we started talking David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, all of that. We went into the studio. We wrote 'Boys Boys Boys.' The rest is history.
The New York star often refers to her fans as her "little monsters" and in dedication, she had that inscription tattooed on her left arm. She is very protective of her "little monsters" and once purchased $1,000 worth of pizza for fans who had camped out overnight before a CD signing session.
Gaga has admitted in interviews to being an exhibitionist from an early age. Famous incidents intended to provoke a reaction include arriving at the 2011 Grammy Awards incubating in an egg from which she hatched to perform "Born This Way
. She also attended the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards wearing a dress made from the flesh of a dead animal. The dress was named Time
magazine's Fashion Statement of 2010.
Lady G is a frequent advocate of gay rights and she attributes much of her early success as a mainstream artist to her gay fanbase. The singer has stated that the song "Poker Face
" is about her bisexuality.
The singer was influenced by flamboyant glam rockers such as Freddie Mercury and she took her stage name from the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga
. The moniker came about after her former producer Rob Fusari tried to type the words 'Radio Gaga' into his mobile, but when Stefani received the message, it had been auto-corrected to 'Lady Gaga' . Fusari said, "After that day, she was Lady Gaga. She's like, 'Don't ever call me Stefani again.'"
Gaga is a natural brunette; she reportedly bleached her hair blonde because she was once mistaken for Amy Winehouse.
She only has tattoos on the left side of her body because her father requested her to try to remain "normal" on one side. Among her tats are a peace symbol which was inspired by John Lennon, and a quote in German by her favorite philosopher - the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
Gaga loves heavy metal and admits to unwinding to AC/DC. Asked by the British magazine NME to recommend some music, she went for Australian rock act Airbourne because, "I swear to you they sound just like AC/Dc and the songwriting is just as good."
The New Yorker eats healthily: "I'm on a very strict healthy pop star diet," Gaga said. "I don't eat bread, just vegetables and salad and fish. Eating like that is much better for me anyway but on Sundays I sometimes eat pasta."
Gaga's album, The Fame Monster was the best-selling album of 2010 worldwide.
Stefani Germanotta is committed to being Lady Gaga 24 hours a day. She told NME: "If you look at every single interview, every single television appearance, every single performance of my life, it's been devoted to who I am. Devoted to my identity, devoted to my craft. And if that isn't f---ing art I don't know what is."
Diagnosed in February 2013 with synovitis, which is severe inflammation of the joints, Gaga was forced to cancel the remaining dates of her Born This Way Ball tour and go into hospital for hip surgery. She was later seen being wheeled about in a 24-Karat gold wheelchair, custom-made by New York-based stylist Ken Borochov.
Asked by Harper's Bazaar what she would like written on her gravestone, Gaga replied: "She spread love with every invention."