Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her consistent image reinventions and versatility in both music and entertainment. Gaga began performing as a teenager, singing at open mic nights and acting in school plays. She studied at Collaborative Arts Project 21, through New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, before dropping out to pursue a career in music. When Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, she worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and Akon’s label, KonLive Distribution, in 2007. Gaga rose to prominence the following year with her debut studio album, The Fame, and its chart-topping singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”. The album was later reissued to include the EP, The Fame Monster (2009), which yielded the successful singles “Bad Romance”, “Telephone”, and “Alejandro”.
Gaga’s five succeeding studio albums have all debuted atop the US Billboard 200. Her second full-length album, Born This Way (2011), explored electronic rock and techno-pop and sold more than one million copies in its first week. Its title track became the fastest-selling song on the iTunes Store, with over one million downloads in less than a week. Following her EDM-influenced third album, Artpop (2013), which yielded the single “Applause”, Gaga released a jazz album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek (2014), and the country-pop and soft rock-influenced album Joanne (2016). She also ventured into acting, playing leading roles in the miniseries American Horror Story: Hotel (2015–2016), for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and the critically acclaimed musical drama film A Star Is Born (2018). Her contributions to the latter’s soundtrack, which spawned the chart-topping single “Shallow”, made her the first woman to win an Academy, Grammy, BAFTA, and Golden Globe Award in one year. Gaga returned to her dance-pop roots with her sixth studio album, Chromatica (2020), which spawned the number-one single “Rain on Me”.
Having sold 124 million records as of 2014, Gaga is one of the world’s best-selling music artists and the fourth highest-earning female musician of the 2010s. Her achievements include various Guinness World Records, 11 Grammy Awards, and awards from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She has been declared Billboard‘s Artist of the Year and Woman of the Year and included among Forbes‘ power and earnings rankings. Gaga was ranked number four on VH1’s Greatest Women in Music in 2012 and second on Time‘s 2011 readers’ poll of the most influential people of the past ten years. Her extensive philanthropy and social activism includes work related to mental health awareness and LGBT rights. Gaga founded the Born This Way Foundation in 2012, a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering youth, improving mental health, and preventing bullying. In 2019, she launched Haus Laboratories, a vegan cosmetics brand.