Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is an American songwriter, singer, actress, philanthropist, dancer and fashion designer.Gaga was born on March 28, 1986 in Manhattan, New York City, to Cynthia Louise (Bissett) and Joseph Anthony Germanotta, Jr., an internet entrepreneur.Her father is of Italian descent, and her mother is of half Italian and half French-Canadian, English, German, and Scottish ancestry.

She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart from age 11 where was bullied for her appearance (she was small and plumper than other girls with large front teeth) and eccentric habits.

By the age of 14, Gaga was performing at open mike nights in clubs and bars.

By age 17, she had gained early admission to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

In addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues and politics.

Gaga met performance artist Lady Starlight during this time; after a performance at Lollapalooza Festival in 2007 Gaga was signed by Vince Herbert to Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records.

Having served as an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV.As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears and labelmates New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls.At the age of 19 Gaga withdrew from her studies and moved out of her parents' home in order to pursue a musical career.During this time she started a band which began to gain local attention.After a brief partnership with talent scout Rob Fusari, which resulted in the creation of her stage name, Gaga was signed to Def Jam Records in 2006; however she was dropped from the label after just three months.Devastated, Gaga returned home, and became increasingly experimental: fascinating herself with emerging neo-burlesque shows, go-go dancing at bars dressed in little more than a bikini in addition to experimenting with drugs.