An Award-Winning Artist
As evidence of her extraordinary fame, Lady Gaga has received numerous awards in her career; aside from the most famous awards, Lady Gaga holds no less than fifty awards and nominations. Among these include an American Music Award, two Billboard Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, an Emmy Award, five Grammy Awards, thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, three People’s Choice Awards, and many more. Often called as one of the world’s most favourite artists, Lady Gaga has truly proven herself as someone who deserves all this.
It is quite remarkable how Lady Gaga has handled her career all through her years of fame. Often, artists who acquire such popularity become riddled with a lot of controversy and criticism, and Lady Gaga was not spared by critical, and oftentimes ‘ridiculous’ accusations. Many of the artists who get into controversies are often overwhelmed by the situation, but not Lady Gaga. She has proven her resilience throughout her years of career, not allowing the negative comments about her to put her down. She views her imperfections as a means of connecting to people, by showing who she really is. In an interview, Lady Gaga says:
“People are imperfect in a perfect way. I always find it’s so interesting to have conversations about my work because in the past 10 minutes you’ve pointed out to me that some people find me to be artificial while others find me to be quite real with the world. Isn’t that interesting?”
One of the things that helped Lady Gaga achieve the success she is enjoying today is her amazing spirit of persistence and ambitious attitude. Despite the rejections and failures she has experienced in her life, Lady Gaga always stands up and moves forward, using those experiences as stepping stones to reach greater heights. Instead of those negative experiences pulling her down into a black hole of frustration and depression, Lady Gaga amazingly turned it into something that helped propel her up. Lady Gaga said in an interview:
“I’m very ambitious, very driven. And I’m competitive, based on so many years of rejection, so many years of being told no. I internalized that rejection and turned it into something positive. I said, 'I can do this. I can be greater. I know I have what it takes.'”
Lady Gaga’s motto in life is to get real. From the concert stages to the dressing rooms, Lady Gaga never puts up a front to try to hide who she really is. She has, and has always shown her true personality, and has been bold enough to reveal herself no matter what people might think of her. In an interview with her, Lady Gaga responded to the issue of having masks to hide one’s true self in this way:
“It’s absolute nonsense. What are you looking for? I’m sitting right here, I’ve got my legs spread with my feet up on the couch, what is it more than you want to see? It’s an interesting fight, the performance of my life, every day reminding people that the curtain has not closed and that if they don’t want to sit in the audience, that’s fine.”
Because of this attitude, Lady Gaga has been a powerful inspiration and encouragement to many to just be themselves. For Lady Gaga, there is no benefit to hiding behind a mask; it just diminishes your self-confidence and makes you rely on your front in order to get people to accept you.
Another thing that made Lady Gaga successful as a pop artist is her ability to adapt to the changes in the music world. Lady Gaga knows and understands that throughout the years, music changes, and one needs to follow the flow of change if he or she wants to be successful. In fact, this was what Lady Gaga said in an interview:
“I think pop is ever changing, and I hope to death it never stops being so. Art is designed to be different from moment to moment, and songs should reflect that. They shouldn’t all be the same. That’s my ambition as an artist. I’m not particularly obsessed with how my career will be viewed when it’s over. I’m much more obsessed with what I create along the way and how dedicated I am to each creation.”
But aside from all of her achievements and successes, aside from all of the controversies that she has managed to get through, what makes Lady Gaga so extraordinary is her heart of compassion and charity. Lady Gaga manages her own charitable organization, named the Born This Way Foundation. Through the Born This Way Foundation, Lady Gaga has been able to reach thousands of youths become productive and active members of their community by providing a safe community where the youths can have the skills and opportunities that they can use to build a brighter world.
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in 1986 in New York City, Lady Gaga seems to have been born to become a star. Lady Gaga is of Sicilian and Italian descent, from her parents Joseph Germanotta, an internet entrepreneur, and Cynthia Bissett, a telecommunications personnel. She has a sister named Natali (born in 1992), who would later on become a fashion student.
Growing up in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Stefani was in a way brought up with style and luxury compared to many children of her age. However, in spite of growing up in an upper-class family, Stefani remained humble and down to earth by being reminded of how her parents were able to raise up their family and achieve the status she was enjoying. In an interview, about her parents, Stefani said:
“My parents 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.”
Stefani was raised in a Roman Catholic family, and her parents instilled in her the values of love, care and compassion that enabled her to develop a sense of confidence and security throughout her years of growing up. This also allowed Stefani to have her own identity, and to never be afraid to show it to others.
It All Started with a Piano
Even at a very young age, Stefani already showed an amazing potential in music. Joseph and Cynthia, her parents, saw this and had Stefani develop her musical talent by teaching her to play the piano; she learned to do this when she was only four years old, a feat that was quite amazing for a child of her age. She continued studying music all throughout her childhood that she was able to write her first piano ballad at thirteen years of age, followed by her first performance at a New York night club’s “Open Mike” nights at age fourteen.
When she was eleven years old, Stefani was accepted to the Julliard School, a well-known school in Manhattan on the area of dance, drama and music. However, Stefani was instead enrolled at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls private school. As a high school student, Stefani showed amazing determination and discipline in her studies; a very studious yet talented girl, Stefani loved to perform before audiences and entertain them with her singing. Because of her outgoing personality, however, Stefani felt a bit distanced from her classmates. In interviews, she often cited the feelings of not fitting in because her schoolmates saw her as being too eccentric or provocative for expressing herself.
During her high school years, Stefani already showed her talent for performing by getting lead roles in many of the school’s productions, which included her playing the role of Philia in the school’s rendition of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and Adelaide in the production of “Guys and Dolls.” But aside from school plays, Stefani also had a taste of Hollywood when she was cast in a small role as a mischievous student in one of the episodes of the famous 2001 television show “The Sopranos.”
After graduating from the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Cynthia encouraged Stefani to apply for the Collaborative Arts Project 21, a prestigious musical theatre training conservatory at the Tisch School of Arts in New York University. Here, Stefani’s prodigious talents were really highlighted as she became among the only twenty students who gained early admission to the University. After finalizing her application, Stefani moved from their house to a New York University dormitory on 11th Street, where she spent her time honing her musical talents and songwriting skills. Aside from this, Stefani also showcased her intellectual skills by writing essays and analytical papers on topics such as religion, art and politics, and created a thesis on Spencer Tunick and Damien Hirst, two famous pop artists.
Breaking Out Of Her Shell
At age nineteen, during the second semester of her sophomore year, Stefani left the CAP21 program in search of a creative inspiration. It was not an easy decision to make, as Stefani had to make ends meet after leaving the university. Her father Joseph agreed to pay her rent for a year, with the condition of Lady Gaga returning to school if she was unsuccessful in her efforts. And so, Stefani began a slow but steady journey to fame; during the early months of her career, Stefani struggled to make ends meet, taking three jobs just so she could financially support herself. Among these jobs was becoming a go-go dancer, where she was able to perfect her own style of dancing.
A few months after leaving school, Stefani started her own band which she called the “Stefani Germanotta Band.” Along with her friends from the New York University, Lady Gaga and her band started playing in local bars such as the Mercury Lounge at the Lower East Side and The Bitter End at the Greenwich Village. Not long after they started their musical career, The Stefani Germanotta Band was noticed by Joe Vulpis, a music producer, who invited the band to record in his studio. Soon enough, the SGBand started to get more attention, so much so that they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
It was also during this time that Stefani started to get the attention of the more well-known and powerful figures of the music industry. Sometime around 2006, Stefani was approached by Wendy Starland, a talent scout for the music producer Rob Fusari, and invited her to become the singer of a new band. Soon after the SGBand disbanded, Lady Gaga went to New Jersey so she could work with Rob.
The Birth of Lady Gaga
Around this time, Stefani began to look for a new stage name. There are several stories as to how she came to use “Lady Gaga,” but the most common would be Rob Fusari’s story of inspiring her to use the moniker. In an interview with Rob, he said:
“Every day, when Stef came to the studio, instead of saying hello, I would start singing 'Radio Ga Ga'. That was her entrance song and that the text message was the result of a predictive text glitch that changed 'radio' to 'lady'. She texted back, 'That's it,' and declared, 'Don't ever call me Stefani again.'”
Lady Gaga’s early music career was not what someone would call ‘good,’ as she had several issues during that time. Aside from having a strained relationship with the music producer Rob, Lady Gaga also went through several ‘experimental’ stages where she became fascinated with neo-burlesque shows, go-go dancing and drugs after she was dropped by Def Jam Recordings, where she stayed for three months. It was a difficult time for Lady Gaga and her family, who were very concerned about her drug intake. In an interview made with Lady Gaga years later, she recalled this part of her life and said:
“I was onstage in a thong, lighting hairsprays on fire and do go-go dancing to Black Sabbath. 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.”
After sometime in 2007, Lady Gaga met another female artist who called herself Lady Starlight, and the two developed a friendship and started working together. Lady Gaga often cites Lady Starlight as the one who helped mold her persona on-stage. Their performance in that year’s Lollapalooza music festival was critically acclaimed, with critics giving them praises. Afterwards, Lady Gaga met Vincent Herbert, a recording executive and friend of Rob Fusari. Vincent then helped manage Lady Gaga’s career, and caused her to strike a deal with Sony/ATV as a writer for Britney Spears’ songs.
By the end of 2007, Lady Gaga made several collaboration songs with RedOne, another songwriter and producer. They were able to produce songs such as “Boys Boys Boys”. Lady Gaga also collaborated with the famous songwriter Martin Kierszenbaum, and produced songs such as “Christmas Tree” and “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say). And in spite of her initial apprehensions about her style being ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’, Lady Gaga moved forward, intending to show the world the kind of entertainment she can give.
Breakout: Achieving Success Worldwide
In 2008, Lady Gaga produced and recorded her first studio album, which she titled “The Fame.” After its release, The Fame immediately garnered incredible fame worldwide, and was both a critical and financial success. It stayed at the top ten of several well-known music charts for several months, and has sold more than twelve million copies internationally. It spawned singles such as “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” which were more than well received internationally and instantly became huge hits worldwide. Because of this, Lady Gaga received numerous awards, which included the “Best New Artist” title from various awarding bodies.
Lady Gaga followed up the success of The Fame by releasing her second album—a tour album—“The Fame Monster.” Comprised of eight songs, the album’s lead single “Bad Romance” topped charts from all over the world, and made Lady Gaga the first artist in digital history to have produced three singles that passed the four million mark in sales (digital). Her collaboration with equally famous singer Beyonce for the single “Telephone” received praise from critics, and remained at the top of several lists for a number of months. In 2010, Lady Gaga received more than half of the nominations in that year’s MTV Video Music Awards; in addition to this, The Fame Monster also received six nominations in that year’s Grammy Awards, which simply proved just how famous Lady Gaga has become in just a short span of time.
Lady Gaga’s achievements in the record industry skyrocketed her into international fame and allowed her to do jam-packed concert tours in various countries. Aside from her solo performances, Lady Gaga was also invited to guest in the concerts of many famous artists such as Elton John (Lady Gaga would also guest in Michael Jackson’s “This is It” Concert had he lived to see it through).
Of course, in the midst of enjoying her achievements and successes, Lady Gaga did encounter several issues along the way. In 2010, her previous producer Rob Fusari sued Mermaid Music LLC, Lady Gaga’s production team, and demanded that he receive a twenty percent share in the company’s earnings, citing that he was responsible for helping Lady Gaga achieve the success she is enjoying today. Aside from this, rumors began to circulate that Lady Gaga was tested to be borderline positive for the disease called lupus; this caused disappointment and dismay among her fans, but Lady Gaga calmed them in an interview by stating that she was maintaining a healthy lifestyle to avoid acquiring the symptoms.
In spite of all these challenging moments in her life, Lady Gaga did not get discouraged or weighed down. Her persistence and determination, along with the support of her family and friends, helped Lady Gaga to press on, moving forward even at a slow pace. This attitude of taking risks and never backing down enabled Lady Gaga to move to greater heights in her career, and sustained her in the battles that she fought along the way.
That same year, Lady Gaga was invited to take part in the single “We Are the World 25” to benefit the victims of the Haiti Earthquake. Although she declined to appear on the music video, Lady Gaga donated all the proceeds of her concert at Radio City Music Hall, as well as the profits from her official online store to Haiti for their reconstruction projects.
Born This Way: Getting Real
In 2011, Lady Gaga produced and released her second studio album which she titled “Born This Way.” Within a week of its release, Born This Way already sold more than one million copies and debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, as well as numerous other charts around the world. The album, which contained singles such as “Born This Way,” “Judas” and “The Edge of Glory,” received both praise and criticism for its radical style of entertainment. “Judas” was criticized by many religious organizations for using biblical references in a different way, but many critics defended the single by stating that there was nothing offensive about it. The three mentioned singles stayed at the top of charts for several months.
During that year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami incident, which ravaged a great portion of the Japanese Eastern Coast, Lady Gaga endorsed the Japan Prayer Bracelets, and tweeted that the revenues from the sales of the bracelets would go to the relief efforts for those who were devastated by this terrible incident. In June of that year, Lady Gaga performed at the MTV Japan charity show to benefit the Japanese Red Cross.
The following year, Lady Gaga went on several tours internationally to further promote her album Born This Way. Her concerts were very well received in almost all of the countries that she performed in, which caused Lady Gaga to be named as one of the most successful artists of all time. She has appeared in numerous television show interviews, and has performed in various important events.
Founding Her Own Charity
In 2012, Lady Gaga, with the help of her mother Cynthia, launched the Born This Way Foundation, a charitable and non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the youths by building up their self-confidence, well-being, and intellectual capacity. The Born This Way Foundation partnered with numerous local organizations and institutions in order to help the youth of their communities to grow up to become productive members of their society. Through the Born This Way Foundation, Lady Gaga became instrumental in reaching out to the out of school youth and offering them the right course in their life.
Recently, Lady Gaga has decide to take a break from the music industry after suffering a hip injury. Through this break, Lady Gaga has been able to focus more on her personal life. In an interview she made with a famous internet website, Lady Gaga expressed her desire of getting married; she is currently in a relationship with Taylor Kinney, an actor who is currently a cast of the hit television series, Chicago Fire.
One word can be used to summarize Lady Gaga’s life and career – real. Her amazing story of failures and successes teach us one simple thing: you do not have to set up a front just so that people would like you. People will like you better when you are being yourself. Do not allow what other people’s opinions of you shape your life; instead, know what really matters, and put all of your efforts into making the most of who you really are.
“I want them to free themselves, and I want them to be proud of who they are. I want them to celebrate all the things they don't like about themselves the way that I did, and to be truly happy from the inside.”
Discography (Albums and Singles)
- 2008: The Fame
- 2008: Just Dance
- 2008: Poker Face
- 2009: Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)
- 2009: LoveGame
- 2009: Paparazzi
- 2009: Bad Romance
- 2009: The Cherrytree Sessions
- 2009: Hitmixes
- 2009: The Fame Monster
- 2010: The Remix
- 2010: Telephone
- 2010: Alejandro
- 2010: The Singles
- 2011: Born This Way: The Remix
- 2011: Born This Way
- 2011: A Very Gaga Holiday
- 2011: Born This Way
- 2011: Judas
- 2011: The Edge of Glory
- 2011: You and I
- 2011: Marry the Night
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Alzheimer’s Association
- American Foundation for AIDS Research
- Artists for Peace and Justice
- Born This Way Foundation
- CLIC Sargent
- GRAMMY Foundation
- It Gets Better Project
- Lupus Foundation of America
- M-A-C AIDS Fund
- Robin Hood
- Stand Up To Cancer
- The Trevor Project
Awards and Achievements
- 2009: Received the Billboard’s Rising Star Award
- 2009: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist (Poker Face)
- 2009: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects (Paparazzi)
- 2009: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Art Direction (Paparazzi)
- 2010: Received the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist
- 2010: Received the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Songs (Just Dance)
- 2010: Received the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Songs (Paparazzi)
- 2010: Received the BET Award for Video of the Year (Video Phone)
- 2010: Received the Billboard’s Artist of the Year Award
- 2010: Received the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album (The Fame)
- 2010: Received the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording (Poker Face)
- 2010: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year (Bad Romance)
- 2010: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video (Bad Romance)
- 2010: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video (Bad Romance)
- 2010: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Dance Video (Bad Romance)
- 2010: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography (Bad Romance)
- 2010: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction (Bad Romance)
- 2010: Received the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Breakout Artist
- 2010: Received the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Pop Artist
- 2011: Received the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Songs (Telephone)
- 2011: Received the BAMBI Award for International Pop Artist
- 2011: Received the Big Women of the Year Award
- 2011: Received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing For a Special (Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden)
- 2011: Received the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album (The Fame Monster)
- 2011: Received the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (Bad Romance)
- 2011: Received the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video (Bad Romance)
- 2011: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video (Born This Way)
- 2011: Received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video with a Message (Born This Way)
- 2012: Received the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Songs (Born This Way)
- 2012: Received the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Songs (The Edge of Glory)
- 2012: Received the ASSOS Award for Top 5 Songs (Marry the Night)
- 2012: Received the ASSOS Award for Top 5 Albums (Born This Way)
- 2012: Received the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Album of the Year (Born This Way)
- 2011: Honorary Degree from mtvU