Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (/ˈstɛfəniː dʒɜːrməˈnɒtə/ STEF-ə-nee jur-mə-NOT-ə; born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. At the beginning of her career, Gaga became known for her unconventionality and provocative work. A popular contemporary recording artist, she is noted for constantly experimenting with new musical ideas and images.
Gaga initially played roles in high school plays, and studied at CAP21 through NYU's Tisch School of the Arts before dropping out to pursue a musical career. After leaving a rock band, participating in a performance art circuit, and being dropped from a contract with Def Jam Recordings, Gaga worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. From there, Akon noticed her vocal abilities and helped her sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and his own KonLive Distribution in 2007. Gaga rose to prominence with the release of her successful debut album The Fame (2008) and its international chart-topping singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". A follow-up EP, The Fame Monster (2009), was met with a similar reception and the singles: "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro" were also successful.
Gaga's second full-length album Born This Way (2011) topped the charts in more than 20 countries, including the US, where it sold over one million copies in its first week. The album produced the number-one single "Born This Way". Gaga's third album Artpop, released in 2013, topped the US charts and included the successful single "Applause". In 2014, Gaga released a collaborative jazz album with Tony Bennett titled Cheek to Cheek, her third consecutive number one in the US. For her work in the television series American Horror Story: Hotel, Gaga won a Golden Globe Award in 2016. With her fifth studio album Joanne (2016), she became the first woman to have four US number one albums in the 2010s. In February 2017, Gaga headlined the Super Bowl LI halftime show, which had an audience of over 150 million viewers across various platforms worldwide, making it the most viewed musical event in history.
With global album and single sales of 27 million and 146 million respectively, as of January 2016, she is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Her achievements include several Guinness World Records, three Brit Awards, and six Grammy Awards. She has also received awards from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Gaga regularly appears on Billboard's Artists of the Year lists and Forbes's power and earnings rankings. She was ranked at number four on VH1's Greatest Women in Music, finished second on Time's 2011 readers' poll of the most influential people of the past ten years, and was named Billboard's Woman of the Year (2015). She is known for her philanthropic work and social activism, including LGBT rights, and her own non-profit organization, the Born This Way Foundation, which focuses on promoting youth empowerment and combating bullying.