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Biography
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. She initially performed in theater, appearing in high school plays, and studied at CAP21 through New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before dropping out to pursue a musical career. After leaving a rock band, participating in the Lower East Side's avant garde performance art circuit, and being dropped from a contract with Def Jam Recordings, Gaga worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. There, Akon noticed her vocal abilities and helped her to sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and his own KonLive Distribution.

Gaga rose to prominence with her debut album The Fame (2008), a critical and commercial success which produced global chart-topping singles such as "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". A follow-up EP, The Fame Monster (2009), was met with a similar reception and released the successful singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro". Her second full-length album Born This Way was released in 2011, topping the charts in more than 20 countries, including the United States, where it sold over one million copies in its first week. The album produced number one single "Born This Way". Her third album Artpop, released in 2013, topped the US charts and included the successful singles "Applause" and "Do What U Want". In 2014, Gaga released a collaborative jazz album with Tony Bennett titled Cheek to Cheek, which debuted at number one in the United States and became her third consecutive number one album in the country.

Gaga is noted for her flamboyant and diverse contributions to the music industry via her fashion, live performances, and music videos. With global album and single sales of 27 million and 125 million respectively, as of June 2014, she is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Her achievements include six Grammy Awards, 13 MTV Video Music Awards, and 13 Guinness World Records. She regularly appears on Billboard's Artists of the Year lists and Forbes's power and earnings rankings, and was named one of the world's most influential people by Time in 2010. In the same year, Billboard named her the Artist of the Year. Outside of her music, she is noted for her philanthropic endeavors and activism for LGBT rights.

Life and career

1986–2004: Early life

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born at the Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York to a Catholic family on March 28, 1986. She is the elder daughter of Cynthia Louise "Cindy" (Bissett; born c. 1955), and internet entrepreneur Joseph Anthony "Joe" Germanotta, Jr. Gaga is of 75 percent Italian ancestry, and also has French Canadian ancestry. Her sister Natali (born c. 1992) is a fashion student. Despite her affluent upbringing on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Gaga says 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 age eleven she 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." Gaga began playing the piano at the age of four, wrote her first piano ballad at thirteen, and started to perform at open mic nights by the age of fourteen. She performed 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" and auditioned for New York shows without success.

After high school, her mother encouraged her to apply for the Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21), a musical theater training conservatory at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. By age seventeen, after becoming one of twenty students to gain early admission, she lived in an NYU dorm on 11th Street. 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. She also auditioned for various roles and won the part of an unsuspecting diner customer for MTV's Boiling Points, a prank reality television show.
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