Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (/ / ste-fə-nee jur-mə-not-ə; born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American recording artist, activist, record producer, businesswoman, fashion designer, philanthropist, and actress. She was born, raised, and lives in New York City. Gaga studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart before briefly attending Collaborative Arts Project 21 (CAP21). She withdrew from CAP21 to focus on her musical career. She soon began performing in the rock music scene of Manhattan's Lower East Side. By the end of 2007, record executive and producer Vincent Herbert signed her to his label Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Initially working as a songwriter at Interscope Records, her vocal abilities captured the attention of recording artist Akon, who also signed her to Kon Live Distribution, his own label under Interscope.
Gaga rose to prominence with her August 2008 debut album, The Fame, which was a critical and commercial success. The record included the international number-one tracks "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". In November 2009, her extended play, The Fame Monster, was released to a similar reception, and produced the hit singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro". Its accompanying Monster Ball Tour became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Gaga's second album, Born This Way, was released in May 2011 and topped albums charts in most major markets. It was preceded by the chart-topping songs "Born This Way", "Judas", and "The Edge of Glory". After taking a sabbatical for a hip injury and the cancellation of the remaining dates of the Born This Way Ball Tour, Gaga's third album Artpop was released in November 2013 and became her second number one album in US. Artpop was preceded by singles "Applause" and "Do What U Want".
Influenced by David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Queen, Gaga is recognized for her flamboyant, diverse, and outré contributions to the music industry through her fashion, performances, and music videos. As of November 2013, she had sold an estimated 24 million albums and 125 million singles worldwide and her singles are some of the best-selling worldwide. Her achievements include five Grammy Awards and 13MTV Video Music Awards.
Gaga has consecutively appeared on Billboard magazine's Artists of the Year (scoring the definitive title in 2010), ranked fourth in VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music, is the fourth best selling digital singles artist in US according to RIAA, is regularly placed on lists composed by Forbes magazine, including The World's 100 Most Powerful Women from 2010 to 2013, and was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Outside of her musical career, she is a prominent LGBT activist.