Biography of Lady Gaga
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American recording artist. After being signed to and quickly dropped from Def Jam Records at age nineteen, she began performing in the rock and roll scene of the Lower East Side. During this time, she was also working at Interscope Records as a songwriter for several established acts, including Akon, who, after hearing Gaga sing, convinced Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine to sign her to a joint deal with the label and Akon's Kon Live Distribution label.
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(and Susan Miller gives Sagittarius Ascendant)
Her debut album The Fame was released in August 2008 to critical and commercial success. In addition to receiving generally positive reviews, it has gone to number one in four countries, also topping the Billboard Top Electronic Albums chart in the United States. The album's first two singles, "Just Dance" and "Poker Face," have become international number one hits, and the former was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 51st Grammy Awards. In 2009, after previously opening for New Kids on the Block and the Pussycat Dolls, Gaga embarked on her first headlining tour, The Fame Ball Tour.
Musically, Gaga is inspired by glam rockers such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as pop singers such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. She is also inspired by fashion, which she claims is an essential component to her songwriting and performances. She is also very supportive of the gay community, crediting them for her early mainstream success.
1986–2004: Early life and education
Gaga was born on March 28, 1986 in Yonkers, New York as the eldest child to Italian American parents Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta. By the time she was eleven, Gaga was set to join Juilliard School in Manhattan, but instead attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private Catholic school. Having learned piano at the age of four, Gaga went on to write her first piano ballad at thirteen and began performing at open mic nights by the age of fourteen. At the age of seventeen, she gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. There, she studied music and improved her songwriting skills by composing essays and analytical papers focusing on topics such as art, religion, and socio-political order. Gaga later withdrew from the school to focus on her musical career.
2005–2007: Career beginnings
Grayscale image of two young women standing side-by-side. The woman on the right is blond and wears a leotard while tilting her head back. She keeps her body straight and holds her waist with her left hand. The other woman is a brunette. She stands facing the blond woman. Her hands are raised up to her head with her fingers spread. She wears a silk robe that comes up to her knees. Her face has a hint of smile.
Gaga signed with Def Jam Records when she was nineteen years old, after record executive L. A. Reid heard her singing down the hallway from his office. However, she claims Reid never met with her, and after three months, she was dropped from the label. She moved out of her parents' house and started performing downtown in the Lower East Side club scene, with bands Mackin Pulsifer and SGBand. Wanting to differentiate herself from the prevalent rock and roll scene, she chose to focus on pop music. Around the same time, she started taking drugs and performing at burlesque shows; Gaga said her father "just didn't understand" it, and that he could not look at her for several months. One day, music producer Rob Fusari, who helped Gaga write some of her earlier songs, compared her vocal style to that of Freddie Mercury. He nicknamed her Gaga, after the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga." She began to use it as her stage name and was known thereafter as Lady Gaga.
Throughout 2007, Gaga collaborated with performance artist Lady Starlight, who helped her create her onstage fashions. The pair began playing gigs at downtown club venues like the Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End, and the Rockwood Music Hall, with their live performance art piece known as "Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue." Billed as "The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow," their act was a low-fi tribute to 1970's variety acts. In August 2007, Gaga and Starlight were invited to play at the American music festival Lollapalooza. The show was critically acclaimed, and their performance received highly positive reviews. Having initially focused on avant-garde, electronic dance music, Gaga found her musical niche when she began to incorporate pop melodies and the vintage glam rock of David Bowie and Queen into the mix.
During this time, she began writing for artists signed to Akon's Konvict label, as well as Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, and New Kids on the Block. After hearing her sing a reference vocal for one of his tracks, Akon formed the opinion that she was also a good singer. He ultimately convinced Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine to sign her to a joint deal with his own label, Kon Live Distribution, and would later call Gaga his "franchise player." Through her affiliation with Akon, Gaga started to work on her own new material for her debut album with producer RedOne. Already having a solid selection of electro-glam, David Bowie-esque, and Queen-inspired songs, Gaga wanted to mix her retro dance beats with urban melodies, a pop chorus and still retain a rock and roll edge. The first song they produced together was "Boys Boys Boys", a mash-up of Mötley Crüe's "Girls, Girls, Girls" and AC/DC's "T.N.T."
2008–present: The Fame
A distant image of a blond woman performing onstage. She is clad in a white leotard. She is singing onto a microphone in her left hand. Her right hand is held by somebody whose appearance is not clear. On her left, two African dancers imitate a pose where they appear to be looking at the woman throuogh a camera.
By 2008, Gaga had relocated to Los Angeles, working closely with her record label to finalize her debut album The Fame. Gaga said that she combined a lot of different genres on the album, "from Def Leppard drums and handclaps to metal drums on urban tracks." She began to work with a collective called the Haus of Gaga, who collaborate with Gaga on her clothing, stage sets, and sounds. The Fame received mostly positive reviews from critics; according to the music review aggregation of Metacritic, it has received an average score of seventy-one out of hundred. Times Online described the album as "a fantastic mix of Bowie-esque ballads, dramatic, Queen-inspired midtempo numbers and synth-based dance tracks that poke fun at celebrity-chasing rich kids." The Fame peaked at number one in Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland, and at number four in Australia and the United States; worldwide sales as of July 2009 stand at 3 million copies. The album's lead single, "Just Dance," was released on April 8, 2008, and has topped the charts in six countries - Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It received a Grammy nomination for the Best Dance Recording, but lost to Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." The second single, "Poker Face", was released on September 23, 2008, and has reached number one in nearly twenty countries, including almost all major music markets in the world. "Poker Face" became Gaga's second consecutive number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 2009.
Afterward, the Haus of Gaga turned its focus further upon the American market with Gaga going on her first ever concert tour with fellow Interscope pop group, the reformed New Kids on the Block. Gaga started her stint with them in Los Angeles on October 8, 2008, and continued through the end of November. She appeared as a guest artist on the song "Big Girl Now" from their new album, The Block. Gaga's first headlining North American tour, The Fame Ball Tour, began on March 12, 2009, and has received critical acclaim. In May, Gaga opened for the Pussycat Dolls in Australia. Her performance there was well-received, with a reviewer claiming that she upstaged the Dolls. Around the same time, the music video for her international third single, "LoveGame," was banned by the Australian channel Network Ten, who refused to play the video reasoning that it contained sexually explicit imagery.
Gaga appeared semi-nude, wearing only plastic bubbles, on the cover of the annual 'Hot 100' issue of Rolling Stone in May 2009. In the issue she discussed that while she was making her beginnings in the New York club scene, Gaga was romantically involved with a heavy metal drummer. Gaga described their relationship and break-up, saying of it, "I was his Sandy, and he was my Danny , and I just broke." He later became an inspiration behind some of the songs on her debut album The Fame. Gaga also stated that she is bisexual and is inspired by beautiful women, which she says makes her boyfriends "uncomfortable." She later regretted disclosing her orientation, saying, "I don't like to be seen as somebody who is using the gay community to look edgy. I'm a free sexual woman and I like what I like. I don't want people to write that about me because I feel like it looks like I'm saying it because I'm trying to be edgy or underground." She had previously told a crowd at one of her concerts that her song "Poker Face" lyrically discusses fantasizing about a woman while being in bed with a man. Gaga appeared on rapper Wale's single "Chillin."
Gaga was nominated for a total of nine awards at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female Video and Best Pop Video for "Poker Face" and Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction for "Paparazzi. "Poker Face" managed to win the award for "Best New Artist" while "Paparazzi" won two awards for "Best Art Direction" and "Best Special Effects."
Musical style and influences
Gaga has been primarily influenced by glam rockers such as David Bowie and Queen, pop singers Michael Jackson and Madonna, artist Andy Warhol, poet Rainer Maria Rilke, fashion icon and entertainer Grace Jones, and fashion as a whole. Gaga's vocals have drawn frequent comparison to Madonna and Gwen Stefani, while the structure of her music is said to be reminiscent of classic 1980s pop and 1990s Europop. In reviewing her debut album The Fame, The Sunday Times asserts "in combining music, fashion, art and technology, Lady evokes Madonna when she was good, Gwen Stefani circa Hollaback Girl, Kylie 2001 or Grace Jones right now." Similarly, The Boston Globe critic Sarah Rodman comments Gaga draws "obvious inspirations from Madonna to Gwen Stefani... in girlish but sturdy pipes and bubbly beats." Baby A. Gil of The Philippine Star asserts that her voice is "just right for the mix of dance and rock that she does." As an artist, Alexis Petridis of The Boston Globe commented that although Gaga lacks originality, "pop music doesn't have to be blindingly original or clever to work: it needs tunes, and Lady is fantastically good at tunes." Though Gaga's lyrics are said to lack intellectual stimulation, " does manage to get you moving and grooving at an almost effortless pace."
Gaga has stated that she is "very into fashion" and that it is "everything" to her. Her love of fashion came from her mother, who was "always very well kept and beautiful." She claims that: "When I'm writing music, I'm thinking about the clothes I want to wear on stage. It's all about everything altogether — performance art, pop performance art, fashion. For me, it's everything coming together and being a real story that will bring back the super-fan. I want to bring that back. I want the imagery to be so strong that fans will want to eat and taste and lick every part of us." She has her own creative production team called the Haus of Gaga, which she handles personally. The team creates many of her clothes, stage props, and hairdos.
A blond woman in a bob-cut, sitting cross-legged on a transparent platform which is full of bubbles and lit from inside in pink. The woman is wearing a dress made of transparent bubbles of varying sizes. She is holding a microphone in her left hand and appears to be smiling.
Gaga has six known tattoos, among them a peace symbol which was inspired by the late English musician John Lennon who The Guardian remarked as Gaga's "hero," and a curling German script on her left arm which quotes the poet Rainer Maria Rilke with the lines "In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?" Gaga described Rilke as her "favorite philosopher," commenting that his "philosophy of solitude" spoke to her.
In response to Gaga saying that she considers Donatella Versace her muse, Melissa Magsaysay of Los Angeles Times commented, " aversion to wearing a top and bottom at the same time swigging champagne and being fanned by oily men in Speedos very Donatella-esque." Towards the end of 2008, comparisons were made between the fashions of Gaga and recording artist Christina Aguilera, noting similarities in their styling, hair, and make-up. Aguilera later claimed she was "completely unaware of " and "didn't know if it a man or a woman." Afterward, Gaga released a statement in which she welcomed the comparisons due to the attention providing useful publicity. Gaga said, "She's such a huge star and if anything I should send her flowers, because a lot of people in America didn't know who I was until that whole thing happened. It really put me on the map in a way." Gaga is a natural brunette, but her hair is dyed blonde because she was often mistaken for fellow musician Amy Winehouse.
Relationship with gay community
Gaga attributes much of her early success as a mainstream artist to her gay fans and is considered by some to be a rising gay icon. She claimed difficulty in the early stages of her career in getting her songs to receive radio airplay and stated, "he turning point for me was the gay community. I've got so many gay fans and they're so loyal to me and they really lifted me up. They'll always stand by me and I'll always stand by them. It's not an easy thing to create a fanbase."
Gaga thanked FlyLife, a Manhattan-based LGBT marketing company with whom her label Interscope works, in the liner notes of her debut studio album, The Fame, saying, "I love you so much. You were the first heartbeat in this project, and your support and brilliance means the world to me. I will always fight for the gay community hand in hand with this incredible team." She believes that "there is no fucking spirit in the world like in the gay community. I'm always gonna be the most supportive chick on the planet of the gay community. Every time I go to cities to play, even in arenas, I always make sure I play a second show at a gay club." In response to those who have referred to her as a gay icon, Gaga said, "If I can let people in on that joy then that would make me a deserved gay icon, but it's not going to be for my shoes. It's gonna be because I really love ."
Some of Gaga's first major performances were at events related to gay culture. Her first televised performance was in May 2008 at the NewNowNext Awards, an awards show aired by the LGBT television network Logo, where she sang her song "Just Dance." In June of the same year, she performed the song again at the San Francisco Pride event. Gaga said that "being invited to play" at the event "was a real turning point for me as an artist." When she appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in May 2009, Gaga praised DeGeneres, a lesbian and gay icon, for being "an inspiration for women and for the gay community."
While accepting an award at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, she thanked "God and the gays."
And another biography from Wikipedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Portrait of a young, pale-skinned Caucasian female with blond hair
Gaga performing on The Monster Ball Tour in 2010
Birth name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Born March 28, 1986 (age 25)
New York City, United States
Genres Pop, dance
Occupations Singer-songwriter, performance artist, record producer, dancer, businesswoman, activist
Instruments Vocals, piano, synthesizer, keytar
Years active 2005–present
Labels Def Jam, Cherrytree, Streamline, Kon Live, Interscope
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American pop singer-songwriter. After performing in the rock music scene of New York City's Lower East Side in 2003 and later enrolling at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, she soon signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. During her early time at Interscope, she worked as a songwriter for fellow label artists and captured the attention of recording artist Akon, who recognized her vocal abilities, and signed her to his own label, Kon Live Distribution.
Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which was a critical and commercial success and achieved international popularity with the singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The album reached number one on the record charts of six countries, topped the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart while simultaneously peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and accomplished positions within the top ten worldwide. Achieving similar worldwide success, The Fame Monster (2009), its follow-up, produced a further two global chart-topping singles "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" and allowed her to embark on her second global concert tour, The Monster Ball Tour, just months after having finished her first, The Fame Ball Tour. Her second studio album Born This Way, released in May 2011, topped the charts in all major musical markets, after the arrival of its eponymous lead single "Born This Way", which achieved the number-one spot in countries worldwide and was the fastest-selling single in iTunes history, selling one million copies in five days.
Inspired by glam rock artists like David Bowie, Elton John and Queen, as well as pop singers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, Gaga is well-recognized for her outré sense of style in fashion, in performance and in her music videos. Her contributions to the music industry have garnered her numerous achievements including five Grammy Awards, among twelve nominations; two Guinness World Records; and the estimated sale of 15 million albums and 51 million singles worldwide. Billboard named her the Artist of the Year in 2010, ranking her as the 73rd Artist of the 2000s decade. Gaga has been included in Time magazine's annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as being listed in a number of Forbes' annual lists including the 100 most powerful and influential celebrities in the world and attained the number one spot on their annual list of the 100 most powerful celebrities.
1 Life and career
1.1 1986–2004: Early life
1.2 2005–07: Career beginnings
1.3 2008–10: The Fame and The Fame Monster
1.4 2011–present: Born This Way
2.1 Musical style and influences
2.2 Public image
3.1 LGBT advocacy
6 Awards and nominations
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Life and career
1986–2004: Early life
Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986, in New York City. The first child of Italian American Joseph Germanotta, an internet entrepreneur, and Cynthia (née Bissett), Gaga has one sister, Natali, born in 1992. Gaga is left-handed and began learning to play piano aged four, went on to write her first piano ballad at 13 and began performing at open mike nights by age 14. Gaga was raised a Roman Catholic. At the age of 11, Gaga attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private all-girls Roman Catholic school on Manhattan's Upper East Side, but has stressed that she does not come from a wealthy background, saying 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."
An avid actor in high school musicals, Gaga portrayed lead roles as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. She described her academic life in high school as "very dedicated, very studious, very disciplined" but also "a bit insecure" as she told in an interview, "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." Acquaintances dispute that she did not fit in at school. "She had a core group of friends; she was a good student. She liked boys a lot, but singing was No. 1," recalled a former high school classmate.
At age 17 Gaga gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and lived in a NYU dorm on 11th Street. There she studied music and improved her songwriting skills by composing essays and analytical papers focusing on topics such as art, religion, social issues and politics. Gaga wrote a thesis on pop artists Spencer Tunick and Damien Hirst; research that prepared her for her future career focus in "music, art, sex and celebrity." Gaga felt that she was more creative than some of her classmates. "Once you learn how to think about art, you can teach yourself," she said. By the second semester of her sophomore year, she withdrew from the school to focus on her musical career. Her father agreed to pay her rent for a year, on the condition that she re-enroll at Tisch if she was unsuccessful. "I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find, and ate shit until somebody would listen," she said.
2005–07: Career beginnings
Gaga (right) performing with Lady Starlight (left) at Lollapalooza 2007
Gaga had initially signed with Def Jam Recordings at the age of 19, although she was dropped by the label after only three months. Shortly after, her former management company introduced her to songwriter and producer RedOne, who they also managed. The first song she produced with RedOne was "Boys Boys Boys", a mash-up inspired by Mötley Crüe's "Girls, Girls, Girls" and AC/DC's "T.N.T." She moved into an apartment on the Lower East Side and recorded a couple of songs with hip-hop singer Grandmaster Melle Mel for an audio book accompanying the children's book The Portal in the Park by Cricket Casey. She also started the Stefani Germanotta Band with some friends from NYU. They recorded an extended play of their ballads at a studio underneath a liquor store in New Jersey, becoming a local fixture at the downtown Lower East Side club scene. She began experimenting with drugs soon after, while performing at neo-burlesque shows. "I was onstage in a thong, with a fringe hanging over my ass thinking that had covered it, lighting hairsprays on fire, go-go dancing to Black Sabbath and singing songs about oral sex. The kids would scream and cheer and then we'd all go grab a beer. It represented freedom to me. I went to a Catholic school but it was on the New York underground that I found myself." Her father did not understand the reason behind her drug intake and could not look at her for several months. Music producer Rob Fusari, who helped her write some of her earlier songs, compared some of her vocal harmonies to that of Freddie Mercury. Fusari helped create the moniker Gaga, after the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga". Gaga was in the process of trying to come up with a stage name when she received a text message from Fusari that read "Lady Gaga." He explained,
Every day, when Stef came to the studio, instead of saying hello, I would start singing 'Radio Ga Ga'. That was her entrance song. [Lady Gaga] was actually a glitch; I typed 'Radio Ga Ga' in a text and it did an autocorrect so somehow 'Radio' got changed to 'Lady'. She texted me back, "That's it." After that day, she was Lady Gaga. She's like, "Don't ever call me Stefani again."
Full right profile of a young blond woman, surrounded by sitting spectators in a pub. She wears a black leotard and her long hair falls around her side. With her right hand she holds a pair of video sunglasses to her eyes.
Gaga performing at "The Bazaar" in Atlanta, Georgia
The New York Post, however, has reported that this story is incorrect, and that the name resulted from a marketing meeting. The same Post report speculated she may be lying about her real age, and that myths existed about the singer. The article states Fusari recalled she was originally overweight.
Throughout 2007 Gaga collaborated with performance artist Lady Starlight, who helped create her on-stage fashions. The pair began playing gigs at downtown club venues like the Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End, and the Rockwood Music Hall, with their live performance art piece known as "Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue." Billed as "The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow", their act was a low-fi tribute to 1970s variety acts. In August 2007, Gaga and Starlight were invited to play at the American Lollapalooza music festival. The show was critically acclaimed, and their performance received positive reviews. Having initially focused on avant-garde electronic dance music, Gaga found her musical niche when she began to incorporate pop melodies and the glam rock of David Bowie and Queen into her music.
Fusari sent the songs he produced with Gaga to his friend, producer and record executive Vincent Herbert. Herbert was quick to sign her to his label Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, upon its establishment in 2007. She credited Herbert as the man who discovered her, adding "I really feel like we made pop history, and we're gonna keep going." Having already served as an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV. As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears and labelmates New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls. While Gaga was writing at Interscope, singer-songwriter Akon recognized her vocal abilities when she sang a reference vocal for one of his tracks in studio. He then convinced Interscope-Geffen-A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Iovine to form a joint deal by having her also sign with his own label Kon Live Distribution and later called her his "franchise player." Gaga continued her collaboration with RedOne in the recording studio for a week on her debut album and also joined the roster of Cherrytree Records, an Interscope imprint established by producer and songwriter Martin Kierszenbaum, after co-writing four songs with Kierszenbaum including the single "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)".
2008–10: The Fame and The Fame Monster
Right profile of a young blond woman. She wears a mauve leotard with purple stripes. Her hair is curled up behind her head. She holds a silver trophy in her right hand. A black background with red letters is visible behind her.
Gaga at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
By 2008 Gaga had relocated to Los Angeles, working closely with her record label to finalize her debut album The Fame. She combined different genres on the album, "from Def Leppard drums and hand claps to metal drums on urban tracks." The Fame received positive reviews from contemporary critics; according to the music review aggregation of Metacritic, it garnered an average score of 71/100. The album peaked at number one in United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland, and the top-five in Australia, the United States and fifteen other countries. Worldwide, The Fame has sold over fourteen million copies. Its lead single "Just Dance" topped the charts in six countries—Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and later received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording. The following single "Poker Face" was an even greater success, reaching number-one in almost all major music markets in the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States. It won the award for Best Dance Recording at the 52nd Grammy Awards, over nominations for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. The Fame was nominated for Album of the Year; it won the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album. Although her first concert tour happened as an opening act for fellow Interscope pop group, the reformed New Kids on the Block, she ultimately embarked on her own worldwide concert tour, The Fame Ball Tour, which was critically appreciated and began in March 2009; ending in September of that year. The cover of the annual "Hot 100" issue of Rolling Stone in May 2009 featured a semi-nude Gaga wearing only strategically placed plastic bubbles. In the issue she said that while she was beginning her career in the New York club scene, she was romantically involved with a heavy metal drummer. She described their relationship and break-up, saying of it, "I was his Sandy, and he was my Danny [of Grease], and I just broke." He later became an inspiration behind some of the songs on The Fame. She was nominated for a total of nine awards at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, winning the award for Best New Artist, while her single "Paparazzi" won two awards for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects. In October Gaga received Billboard magazine's Rising Star of 2009 award. She attended the Human Rights Campaign's "National Dinner" the same month, before marching in the National Equality March for the equal protection of LGBT people in all matters governed by U.S. civil law in Washington, D.C.
Profile of a young blond woman. Her hair falls in waves up to her shoulders. She wears a purple leotard with visible sequins attached. Ample bosom, arm and leg are visible.
Gaga performing in 2010 at The Monster Ball Tour
Written over the course of 2008–09, The Fame Monster, a collection of eight songs, was released in November 2009. Each song, dealing with the darker side of fame from personal experience while she traveled the world, is expressed through a monster metaphor. Its first single "Bad Romance" topped the charts in eighteen countries, while reaching the top-two in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In the U.S., Gaga became the first artist in digital history to have three singles (along with "Just Dance" and "Poker Face") to pass the four million mark in digital sales. The song won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance while its accompanying music video won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. The album's second single "Telephone", which features singer Beyoncé, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and became Gaga's fourth UK number-one single while its accompanying music video, although controversial, received a more positive reception from contemporary critics: praising her for "the musicality and showmanship of Michael Jackson and the powerful sexuality and provocative instincts of Madonna". Her following single "Alejandro" paired Gaga with fashion photographer Steven Klein for a music video similarly as controversial—critics complimented its idea and dark nature, but the Catholic League attacked Gaga for her alleged use of blasphemy. Despite the controversy surrounding her music videos, they made Gaga the first artist to gain over one billion viral views on video-sharing website YouTube. Musically, The Fame Monster has also received abundant success. Equating to the amount of Grammy nominations her debut received, The Fame Monster garnered a total of six – among them, the album won for Best Pop Vocal Album and earned her a second-consecutive nomination for Album of the Year. The success of the album allowed Gaga to start her second worldwide concert tour, The Monster Ball Tour, just weeks after the release of The Fame Monster and months after having finished The Fame Ball Tour. Upon finishing in May 2011, the critically acclaimed and commercially accomplished tour ran for over one and a half years and, according to Billboard, grossed 227.4 million dollars, making it one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time and the highest-grossing for a debut headlining artist. Additionally, Gaga has performed other songs from the album at international events such as the 2009 Royal Variety Performance where she sang "Speechless", a power ballad, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II; the 52nd Grammy Awards where her opening performance consisted of the song "Poker Face" and a piano duet of "Speechless" in a medley of "Your Song" with Elton John; and the 2010 BRIT Awards where a performance of an acoustic rendition of "Telephone" followed by "Dance in the Dark" dedicated to the late fashion designer and close friend, Alexander McQueen, supplemented her hat-trick win at the awards ceremony.
Excited about bringing back Polaroid and "combining it with the digital era", Gaga was named Chief Creative Officer for a line of imaging products for the international optic company in January 2010 with the intent of creating fashion, technology and photography products. Her production team, Mermaid Music LLC, was sued in March by Rob Fusari; claiming that he was entitled to a 20% share of its earnings. Gaga's lawyer, Charles Ortner, described the agreement with Fusari as "unlawful" and declined to comment; five months later, the New York Supreme Court dismissed both the lawsuit and a countersuit by Gaga. In April, Gaga was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of the year. While giving an interview to The Times, Gaga hinted at having Systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly referred to as lupus, which is a connective tissue disease. She later confirmed with Larry King that she does not have lupus but "the results were borderline positive". With the television host, Gaga also revealed that she was among several artists who would have opened for Michael Jackson during his This Is It concert series at London's O2 Arena. "I was actually asked to open for Michael on his tour," she stated. "We were going to open for him at the O2 and we were working on making it happen." She added: "I believe there was some talk about us, lots of the openers, doing duets with Michael on stage." In November 2010, one month after the singer reported assassination fears, a restraining order was issued against Russian Anastasia Obukhova, who had threatened to shoot her in the head.
2011–present: Born This Way
Gaga's second studio album and third major release Born This Way was released on May 23, 2011. She announced the title of the album during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Described as "a marriage of electronic music with major [...] metal or rock 'n' roll, pop, anthemic style melodies with really sledge-hammering dance beats" and referred to as an album "about what what keeps us up at night and what makes us afraid", She stated, "It came so quickly. I've been working on [the album] for months, and I feel very strongly that it's finished right now. Some artists take years. I don't. I write music every day." Likening Born This Way to "bad kids going to church" that are "having fun on a high level", Gaga characterized her new music as "something so much deeper than a wig or lipstick or a fucking meat dress" and upon hearing it, Akon remarked that she will take music to the "next level." Its arrival followed the release of its eponymous lead single on February 11, 2011, which was performed live for the first time at the 53rd Grammy Awards two days after its release. The song debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the 19th number-one debut and the 1,000th number-one single in the history of the charts. Two other singles, "Judas" and "The Edge of Glory", the former being criticized for its references to Biblical characters Judas, Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, were released before the album, both placing in the top ten of the major musical markets. Upon release, Born This Way sold 1.108 million copies in its first week in the United States, debuting atop the Billboard 200, and topping the charts in more than 10 other countries.
Lending her vocals elsewhere, Gaga paired with Elton John to record an original duet for the animated feature film Gnomeo & Juliet. The song, titled "Hello, Hello", was released on February 11, 2011, without Gaga's vocals. The duet version is only featured in the film. She undertook her job as a fashion columnist for V, where she wrote about her creative process, her studying of the world of pop culture, and her ability to tune into the evolution of pop-culture meme. On May 30, 2011, Gaga told Australian radio show The Kyle & Jackie O Show that she would be coming to Sydney to perform a one-off concert on July 13, 2011, to promote Born This Way.
Musical style and influences
"Just Dance" (2008)
A 30-second sample of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" featuring the chorus sung by Lady Gaga and Colby O'Donis in the range of B3 to C♯, backed by a synth marching beat. The song became her first international hit single.
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Gaga has been influenced by glam rock artists such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as pop music artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. The Queen song "Radio Ga Ga" inspired her stage name, "Lady Gaga". She commented: "I adored Freddie Mercury and Queen had a hit called 'Radio Gaga'. That's why I love the name [...] Freddie was unique—one of the biggest personalities in the whole of pop music." In response to the comparisons between herself and Madonna, Gaga stated: "I don't want to sound presumptuous, but I've made it my goal to revolutionize pop music. The last revolution was launched by Madonna 25 years ago." Actress and singer Grace Jones was also cited as an inspiration, along with Blondie singer Debbie Harry.
A blond woman in a bob-cut, sitting cross-legged on a transparent platform full of bubbles and lit from inside in pink. The woman is wearing a dress made of transparent bubbles of varying sizes. She is holding a microphone in her left hand and appears to be smiling.
Gaga wearing a plastic bubble dress while performing on The Fame Ball Tour
Gaga has the vocal range of a contralto. Her vocals have drawn frequent comparison to those of Madonna and Gwen Stefani, while the structure of her music is said to echo classic 1980s pop and 1990s Europop. While reviewing her debut album The Fame, The Sunday Times asserted "in combining music, fashion, art and technology, [Gaga] evokes Madonna, Gwen Stefani circa 'Hollaback Girl', Kylie Minogue 2001 or Grace Jones right now." Similarly, The Boston Globe critic Sarah Rodman commented that she draws "obvious inspirations from Madonna to Gwen Stefani... in [her] girlish but sturdy pipes and bubbly beats." Though her lyrics are said to lack intellectual stimulation, "[she] does manage to get you moving and grooving at an almost effortless pace." Music critic Simon Reynolds wrote that "Everything about Gaga came from electroclash, except the music, which wasn't particularly 1980s, just ruthlessly catchy naughties pop glazed with Auto-Tune and undergirded with R&B-ish beats.
Gaga has identified fashion as a major influence. She considers Donatella Versace her muse. Gaga has her own creative production team called the Haus of Gaga, which she handles personally. The team creates many of her clothes, stage props, and hairdos. Her love of fashion came from her mother, who she stated was "always very well kept and beautiful." "When I'm writing music, I'm thinking about the clothes I want to wear on stage. It's all about everything altogether—performance art, pop performance art, fashion. For me, it's everything coming together and being a real story that will bring back the super-fan. I want to bring that back. I want the imagery to be so strong that fans will want to eat and taste and lick every part of us." The Global Language Monitor named "Lady Gaga" as the Top Fashion Buzzword with her trademark "no pants" coming in at No. 3. Entertainment Weekly put her outfits on its end of the decade "best-of" list, saying, "Whether it's a dress made of Muppets or strategically placed bubbles, Gaga's outré ensembles brought performance art into the mainstream."
Gaga, well-recognized for her unconventionality, during a "blood soaked" performance on The Monster Ball Tour
Critical reception of Gaga's music, fashion sense and persona are mixed. Her status as a role model, trailblazer and fashion icon is by turns affirmed and denied. Gaga's albums have received mostly positive reviews, with critics pointing out her unique place in pop music, the need for new movements in popular culture, the attention Gaga brings to important social issues, and the inherently subjective nature of her art. Her role as a self-esteem booster for her fans is also lauded, as is her role in breathing life into the fashion industry. Her performances are described as "highly entertaining and innovative"; in particular, the blood-spurting performance of "Paparazzi" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards was described as "eye-popping" by MTV. She continued the "blood soaked" theme in The Monster Ball Tour, in which she wore a revealing leather corset and is "attacked" by a performer dressed in black who gnaws on her throat, causing "blood" to spurt down her chest, after which she lies "dying" in a pool of blood. Her performances of that scene in Manchester, England, triggered protests from family groups and fans in the aftermath of a local tragedy, in which a taxi driver had murdered 12 people. "What happened in Bradford is very fresh in people's minds and given all the violence which happened in Cumbria just hours earlier, it was insensitive," said Lynn Costello of Mothers Against Violence. Chris Rock later defended her flamboyant, provocative behavior. "Well, she's Lady Gaga," he said. "She's not 'Lady Behave Yourself.' Do you want great behavior from a person named Gaga? Is this what you were expecting?" She later returned to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards wearing a dress supplemented by boots, a purse and a hat—each fabricated from the flesh of a dead animal. The dress, named Time magazine's Fashion Statement of 2010 and more widely known as the "meat dress", was made by Argentinian designer Franc Fernandez and received divided opinions—evoking the attention of worldwide media but invoking the fury of animal rights organization PETA. Gaga, however, later denied any intention of causing disrespect to any person or organization and wished for the dress to be interpreted as a statement of human rights with focus upon those in the LGBT community.
Contrary to her outré style, the New York Post described her early look as like "a refugee from Jersey Shore" with "big black hair, heavy eye makeup and tight, revealing clothes." Gaga is a natural brunette; she bleached her hair blonde because she was often mistaken for Amy Winehouse. She often refers to her fans as her "little monsters" and in dedication, she had that inscription tattooed on "the arm that holds [her] mic[rophone]." She has another six known tattoos, among them a peace symbol, which was inspired by John Lennon, who she stated was her hero, and a curling German script on her left arm quoting the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, her favorite philosopher, commenting that his "philosophy of solitude" spoke to her. Towards the end of 2008, comparisons were made between the fashions of Gaga and fellow recording artist Christina Aguilera that noted similarities in their styling, hair, and make-up. Aguilera stated that she was "completely unaware of [Gaga]" and "didn't know if it [was] a man or a woman." Gaga released a statement in which she welcomed the comparisons due to the attention providing useful publicity, saying, "She's such a huge star and if anything I should send her flowers, because a lot of people in America didn't know who I was until that whole thing happened. It really put me on the map in a way." When interviewed by Barbara Walters for her annual ABC News special 10 Most Fascinating People in 2009, Gaga dismissed the claim that she is intersex as an urban legend. Responding to a question on this issue, she stated, "At first it was very strange and everyone sorta said, 'That's really quite a story!' But in a sense, I portray myself in a very androgynous way, and I love androgyny." In addition to Aguilera's statement, comparisons continued into 2010 when Aguilera released the music video of her single "Not Myself Tonight". Critics noted similarities between the song and its accompanying music video with Gaga's video for "Bad Romance". There have also been similar comparisons made between Gaga's style and that of fashion icon Dale Bozzio from the band Missing Persons. Some have considered their respective images to be strikingly parallel although fans of Missing Persons note that Bozzio had pioneered the look more than thirty years earlier.
During an interview with Harper's Bazaar magazine published in May 2011, Gaga discussed the recent appearance of horn-like ridges on her cheekbones, temples, and shoulders. When asked about the necessary makeup to attach the prosthetics, she responded, "They're not prosthetics, they're my bones." She also clarified that they were not the result of plastic surgery, believing such surgery to only be the modern byproduct of fame-induced insecurity to which she does not subscribe. Further probing by the interviewer only got her to state that they are an artistic representation of her inner inspirational light, part of the "performance piece" that is her musical persona, an inevitability of her becoming who she now is.
In view of Lady Gaga's influence on modern culture and her rise to global fame, sociologist Mathieu Deflem of the University of South Carolina since the Spring of 2011 organizes a course titled "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame" with the objective of unravelling "sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga with respect to her music, videos, fashion, and other artistic endeavors".
Besides her career in music, Gaga has enhanced her repertoire as a philanthropist who has contributed to various charities and humanitarian works. Although declining an invitation to record a benefit song, Gaga held a concert of The Monster Ball Tour following the 2010 Haiti earthquake and dedicated it to the country's reconstruction relief fund. This concert, held at the Radio City Music Hall, New York, on January 24, 2010, donated any received revenue to the relief fund while, in addition, all profits from sales of products on Gaga's official online store on that same day were donated. Gaga announced that an estimated total of $500,000 was collected for the fund. Hours after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, Gaga tweeted a message and a link to Japan Prayer Bracelets. With the company, she designed a bracelet, with all sales revenue going to Japanese relief efforts. The bracelets raised $1.5 million (as of March 29, 2011). Performing at MTV Japan's charity show on June 25, 2011 in Makuhari Messe, Gaga will appear for the benefit of the Japan Red Cross which aids victims suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.
Gaga also contributes in the fight against HIV and AIDS with the focus upon educating young women about the risks of the disease. In collaboration with Cyndi Lauper, Gaga joined forces with MAC Cosmetics to launch a line of lipstick under their supplementary cosmetic line, Viva Glam. Titled Viva Glam Gaga and Viva Glam Cyndi for each contributor respectively, all net proceeds of the lipstick line were donated to the cosmetic company's campaign to prevent HIV and AIDS worldwide. In a press release, Gaga declared, "I don't want Viva Glam to be just a lipstick you buy to help a cause. I want it to be a reminder when you go out at night to put a condom in your purse right next to your lipstick."
With the performance of a new bilingual song called "Americano" on her upcoming album, Gaga jumped into the debate surrounding SB 1070, Arizona's immigration law. She premiered the tune for the first time on the Guadalajara, Mexico stop of her Monster Ball tour telling the local press that she could not “stand by many of the unjust immigration laws" in the United States.
A blond woman wearing a white shirt and black glasses speaking on a lectern carrying a 'National Equality March' poster. Behind her is a white stone balustrade of a building.
Gaga delivers a speech at the National Equality March, October 11, 2009
Gaga attributes much of her early success as a mainstream artist to her gay fans and is considered to be a gay icon. Early in her career she had difficulty getting radio airplay, and stated, "The turning point for me was the gay community. I've got so many gay fans and they're so loyal to me and they really lifted me up. They'll always stand by me and I'll always stand by them. It's not an easy thing to create a fanbase." She thanked FlyLife, a Manhattan-based LGBT marketing company with whom her label Interscope works, in the liner notes of The Fame, saying, "I love you so much. You were the first heartbeat in this project, and your support and brilliance means the world to me. I will always fight for the gay community hand in hand with this incredible team." One of her first televised performances was in May 2008 at the NewNowNext Awards, an awards show aired by the LGBT television network Logo, where she sang her song "Just Dance". In June of the same year, she performed the song again at the San Francisco Pride event.
After The Fame was released, she revealed that the song "Poker Face" was about her bisexuality. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she spoke about how her boyfriends tended to react to her bisexuality, saying "The fact that I'm into women, they're all intimidated by it. It makes them uncomfortable. They're like, 'I don't need to have a threesome. I'm happy with just you'." When she appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in May 2009, she praised DeGeneres for being "an inspiration for women and for the gay community". She proclaimed that the October 11, 2009, National Equality March rally on the national mall was "the single most important event of her career." As she exited, she left with an exultant "Bless God and bless the gays," similar to her 2009 MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech for Best New Artist a month earlier. At the Human Rights Campaign Dinner, held the same weekend as the rally, she performed a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" declaring that "I'm not going to [play] one of my songs tonight because tonight is not about me, it's about you." She changed the original lyrics of the song to reflect the death of Matthew Shepard, a college student murdered because of his sexuality.
Gaga addresses the crowd at SLDN's "Don't ask, don't tell" rally in 2010
Gaga attended the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards accompanied by four service members of the United States Armed Forces (Mike Almy; David Hall; Katie Miller and Stacy Vasquez) all of whom, under the U.S. military's "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy, had been prohibited from serving openly because of their sexuality. In addition, Gaga wore a dress fabricated from the flesh of a dead animal to the awards ceremony. Gaga wished that the dress, more widely known as the "meat dress", was interpreted as a statement of human rights with focus upon those in the LGBT community adding that "If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones." She later released three YouTube videos urging her fans to contact their Senators in an effort to overturn the policy. On September 20, 2010, she spoke at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's "4the14K" Rally in Deering Oaks Park in Portland, Maine. The name of the rally signified the number—an estimated 14,000—of service members discharged under the DADT policy at the time. During her remarks, she urged members of the U.S. Senate (and in particular, moderate Republican Senators from Maine, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) to vote in favor of legislation that would repeal the DADT policy. Following this event, editors of The Advocate commented that she had become "the real fierce advocate" for gays and lesbians.