Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta ( STEF-ən-ee JUR-mə-NOT-ə) (born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for reinventing herself throughout her career and for her versatility in numerous areas of the entertainment industry. Gaga began performing as a teenager, singing at open mic nights and acting in school plays. She studied at Collaborative Arts Project 21, through New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, before dropping out to pursue a music career. When Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, she worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where Akon helped her sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and his own label KonLive Distribution in 2007. She rose to prominence the following year with her debut album, the electropop record The Fame, and its chart-topping singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The album was reissued as The Fame Monster (2009), which included the successful singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone" and "Alejandro".
Gaga's second full-length album, Born This Way (2011), explored electronic rock and techno-pop and debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with more than one million copies sold. Its title track became the fastest-selling song on the iTunes Store with over a million downloads in less than a week. Other successful singles on the album included “The Edge of Glory” and “Judas”. Gaga experimented with EDM on her third studio album, Artpop (2013), which included the single "Applause". Her collaborative jazz album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek (2014), and her soft rock-influenced fifth studio album, Joanne (2016), continued to top the US charts. During this period, Gaga ventured into acting, playing leading roles in the miniseries American Horror Story: Hotel (2015–2016), for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, and the critically acclaimed musical drama film A Star Is Born (2018). She also contributed to the latter's soundtrack, which yielded her fourth US number-one single "Shallow", and made her the first person to win an Academy, Grammy, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award in one year. Gaga is due to release her sixth studio album, Chromatica, in 2020, which includes the lead single “Stupid Love”.
Having sold 124 million records as of 2014, Gaga is one of the world's best-selling music artists and the fourth highest-earning female musician of the 2010s. Her achievements include various Guinness world records, 11 Grammy Awards and awards from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She has been declared Billboard's Artist of the Year and Woman of the Year, and included among Forbes's power and earnings rankings. She was ranked number four on VH1's Greatest Women in Music in 2012 and second on Time's 2011 readers' poll of the most influential people of the past ten years. She is known for her philanthropy and social activism, including her work related to mental health awareness and LGBT rights. Gaga founded her nonprofit organization, the Born This Way Foundation, which focuses on empowering youth, improving mental health and preventing bullying.