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30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga performs at the Glastonbury Festival 2009 in southwest England

As the biggest solo female acts in the history of pop music, Madonna, Cher, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey need no introduction.

Combined, they've sold in excess of 1 billion albums world-wide, and are really and truly living legends!

But the Internet is a strange realm, one in which they stand as mere dwarves before the new princess of pop -- Lady Gaga.

Last month, it was reported that GaGa's videos had been accessed over 1 billion times through online video sites, making the 24-year-old the first member of the Internet's 'Billionaire Club'.

The combined total of the super six named above? Not even close.

With a successive string of hits, including Poker Face and Just Dance, it appears that Gaga has become the new face of a music industry struggling to cope in the Internet age.

But, unlike the aforementioned stars, Gaga's a virtual unknown, an overnight superstar. So, who is she exactly?

And is there any correlation between online video success and real world popularity?

Let's see what we can learn about the uber-hip Gaga, through 30 quick facts.

30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga

1. Location! Location! Location!

Italian-American on her father's side and French-German-English on her mother's side, Stefani Germanotta was born March 28, 1986 in New York City. She was raised on Manhattan Island, America's financial, media and fashion capital.

2. High school with the heiresses

She attended the prestigious Convent of the Sacred Heart, one of New York City's most expensive schools, which counts the infamous Hilton sisters, Paris and Nicky, among its alumni.

3. Ugly duckling

Though classmates remember things a bit different, Germanotta has said in interviews that she was ridiculed in school for being fat and having a big nose. While she considered herself a loner, others have said she seemed pretty normal at the time.

4. An early learner

According to her official biography, Stefani began playing by ear at age three and composed ballads for the instrument at 13. By 14, she was already performing at open mic nights in the Big Apple.

5. Loved to perform, even then!

A committed thespian, in high school she played a leading role in several productions.

30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga strikes a pose on the 2010 Grammy red carpet.

6. Studious superstar in the making

Always ahead of the curve, at the age of 17 she enrolled at New York University's Tish School of the Arts, where she continued to study music. After a year and a half at the school, she withdrew to focus full-time on her career

7. First impressions count

Though still a teenager, a considerable buzz had built around the young Germanotta, and at 19 she signed with Def Jam Recordings. Legend has it that an offer was made after the company's CEO heard her singing in the hallway outside his office.

8. Pop purgatory

Just 20, Interscope records soon scooped her up and had her write for several of their artists, including the Pussycat Dolls. While she wanted to make her own name, Gaga has acknowledged this time was necessary for her to grow.

9. Still too safe

The Stefani Germanotta Band, her first real effort to drive out on her own, played rather conventional female rock. Some compared her to Alanis Morisette and Fiona Apple.

10. Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono

Around this time, though her image still lacked the characteristic edge that defines her today, Germanotta became interested in pop-art, high fashion and less traditional music.

30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga

11. Risque business

Reports say she soon began experimenting with drugs and started dressing provocatively. She also became known for her burlesque performances, which allegedly became a cause of great concern for her father. She spent nearly two years developing material that exhibited her new sound.

12. Going Gaga

It was during this time that she and producer Rob Fusari, in a moment of sudden inspiration, came up with the moniker she now goes by, Lady Gaga! Reports vary on the exact source of the name, but agree that Germanotta's fondness of Queen's Radio Gaga played a role. Along with David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Madonna, critics have cited Queen frontman Freddie Mercury as prime influences on Gaga's style.

13. The Fame on the horizon

Gaga had found her own unique voice! Trippy-pop, futuristic leanings now distinguished her from the countless other talented young recording artists in the city, and in August 2008 Interscope released her debut album, The Fame.

14. Just Dance... and that's an order!

The first single from the album, the aptly titled Just Dance, was a massive hit, climbing the charts and reaching number 1 in Canada, the UK, Australia, the United States and elsewhere. Gaga has said she wrote lyrics for the song in just ten minutes. It was meant to be a happy club-friendly tune. Just Dance remains the second high-selling digital song of all time.

15. Four times the fun

The Fame went on to sell over 10 million albums world-wide, and cemented Gaga's status as one of the music industry's hottest acts. It produced four hit singles, Just Dance, Poker Face, LoveGame and Paparazzi. It was also a critical success and earned enthusiastic reviews, with many heralding her arrival as that of the next Madonna.

30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga arrives for the amFAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) annual gala in New York

16. Pop culture as performance art

In interviews, Gaga began to describe the inspiration and meaning behind her sound and look: She was trying to fuse appearance, attitude, lifestyle and music into an overall cohesive image.

17. And then came the awards

She won the 2009 Grammy for Best Dance Recording (Poker Face), the 2009 Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for "Best New Artist", received Billboard magazine's Rising Star of 2009 award and was featured in Rolling Stone magazine's annual 'Hot 100' issue, for which she posed semi-nude on the cover.

18. Bisexual babe

Gaga has repeatedly mentioned that she has bisexual tendencies, and has lamented that former boyfriends have been so intimated by her admissions. She's also explained that the song Poker Face can be seen as a woman's grappling with bisexual tendencies while living in a heterosexual relationship. When Gaga appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she praised the host for being "an inspiration for women and for the gay community". She's also said that her speech at the National Equality March in Washington DC in October 2009 was the single most important event of her career.

19. Fashion forward, with an eye to the past

Known for her funky fashion sense, Gaga's often asked where she comes up with her outrageous outfits. She's always quick to name Donatella Versace and Chanel, She's been quoted as saying, "I'm very into fashion -- I channel Versace in everything I do. Donatella is my muse in so many ways: she's iconic and powerful, yet people throw darts at her. She's definitely provocative, and I channel that more so than anything else. I'm just trying to change the world one sequin at a time." She once related that she'd almost been arrested in Russia for her daring on-stage attire!

20. In a tizzy over Twitter

Gaga, ever the digital and online superstar, was quick to embrace microblogging site Twitter. Today she has almost 3.5 million followers.

30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga

21. The sequel!

In late 2009, she released her second studio album, The Fame Monster, which immediately produced the global chart-topping lead single, Bad Romance. The music video for the song is possibly the most viewed, in terms of online video, of all-time. While the album didn't register the success of her first, it kept momentum going for Gaga.

22. On the road again...

In 2009, Lady Gaga headlined two separate tours, in addition to publicity for her first album and the recording of her second. Talk about a busy girl! Eventually, all the work took its toll, as Gaga had to cancel several shows due to exhaustion.

23. Lady, erm, Sir Gaga, erm?

In a December 2009 interview with Barbara Walters, who had selected Gaga as one of the world's most fascinating people, she dismissed a persistent urban legend: that she is a hermaphrodite, with sex organs from both genders! She said of the rumours, "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. I like pushing boundaries."

24. Third time's a charm...

In a recent interview with MTV UK, Gaga said she'd already begun work on a third studio album, and that much of it had been written in the UK. She added that, "It's certainly my best work to date."

25. Into the sub-continent

Gaga's music video of Telephone, featuring Beyonce Knowles and criticised by some for its racy, controversial content, premiered April 7 in India.

30 reasons that make this Lady go Gaga!

Last updated on: April 12, 2010 10:07 IST
Lady Gaga arrives at the 30th Brit Awards ceremony at Earl's Court in London.

26. India inspires... my stomach

A report from a desi web site based in the UK says that during an interview with Gaga, she revealed that she loves Indian food, especially pasanda! Though she's not yet toured India, she seems to have an eye on the country, and has reportedly taken an interest in Bollywood style theatrics.

27. Single and celibate

Never mind those lingerie-inspired outfits and over-the-top make-up. According to Gaga, she's single and celibate at the moment, and happy to focus on her music career. She's also said she's afraid to date a woman, for fear her family will distance themselves from her.

28. Sister star?

Gaga reportedly has high hopes for her 17-year-old sister Natali Germanotta, an aspiring musician.  However, rumour has it that Gaga's parents want her sister to finish high school before diving head first into music.

29. Lady at Lollapalooza

As part of her non-stop, hectic schedule -- which had fellow pop star Janet Jackson express concern that she 24-year-old might burn out -- Gaga will be headlining at annual music fest Lollapalooza this year, in Chicago.

30. Internet star means real-world success?

So, we've  established that Gaga's the most person online. But what about in the real world? It appears that her non-digital audience, while impressive, is nothing compared to her legion of iPod-clad fans. She's sold about 20 million albums worldwide, far less than any of the six artists mentioned earlier in the article!