Lady Gaga is everywhere.  She will no doubt be a costume choice for the upcoming Halloween season.

Who is Lady Gaga?

Almost everyone has heard of the chart topping glam rocking songstress known as much for her unique, fashion forward style as for her music, but who the singer behind the persona? Like David Bowie and Freddy Mercury, two of the artists that she cites as influences, she has managed to create a highly successful showy persona that her fans adore without giving away too much her own personal life or history.  She performs often, and is often in the press, but manages to keep up her persona most of the time.

Lady Gaga is Stephanie Germanotta, an Italian girl born in New York City. Adept at the piano from age 4 she had a solid grounding in the performing arts by the age of 11, when she was accepted the famous Julliard school in New York City.  Instead she went to a private Catholic school, although she didn’t stop performing and writing her own songs. She went to the elite Tisch School of the Arts, but despite getting high marks and doing very well in school she dropped out to focus on becoming a pop star and pop culture icon. A longtime denizen of the underground club scene in New York City she hooked up with a performance artist named Lady Starlight, who helped her define and refine her Lady Gaga style and clothing.  Originally the pair performed a unique blend of burlesque show and musical act that focused primarily on electronic music and performance art. Lady Gaga’s style and music were a bit too underground to achieve mainstream success at that point so she started to write music that used a lot more recognizable pop elements and used catchy pop melodies to get mainstream attention. By channeling the style of her idols like David Bowie and giving her music and performances more of a pop sensibility she was able to cross over into the mainstream arena.

Once she made the jump into the mainstream music world and signed with an imprint of Interscope Records she was on the path to pop stardom. The combination of her outrageous and futuristic clothing, a blend of 80s pop fashion and pop music, and her own unique electronic music compositions hit the mainstream hard and she was an overnight success. Her singles started climbing the charts and after a few tours supporting other artists she mounted her first solo tour and now strictly tours as a headliner.

Lady Gaga owes much of her success to finding a solid fanbase in the gay and lesbian community. She acknowledges that their support was critical to her mainstream success because their support of her music in clubs and on radio was one of the few chances she had to get large scale exposure for her music. She is an avid and open gay right supporter and continues to work for and champion gay rights. She performed at the National Equality March on Washington in 2009 and was quoted in the press as saying that it was the “single most important event” of her career.

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