Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name, Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Raised in New York City, Gaga, the eldest of two sisters, primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart. She briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to focus on her musical career and starting to perform in the rock music scene of Manhattan's Lower East Side. By the end of 2007, she was signed with Streamline Records. Employed as a songwriter for the record company, she captured the attention of recording artist Akon who, recognizing her vocal abilities, signed her to his label Kon Live Distribution.
Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which received generally favorable reviews from critics. Its first two singles, "Just Dance" and "Poker Face", were number-one singles and the album itself reached number one on nine record charts worldwide. Gaga embarked on the Fame Ball Tour in order to promote the album. Following it, she released an extended play, The Fame Monster, which spawned international number-one singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone" and "Alejandro". In order to promote the EP, Gaga embarked on the eighteen-month long Monster Ball Tour, which became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Her album Born This Way was later released, topping the charts on several major markets and spawning international chart-topping singles "Born This Way", "Judas" and "The Edge of Glory". Aside from being a recording artist, Gaga has also involved herself with humanitarian causes and LGBT activism.
In her songwriting and performances, Gaga takes influence from glam rock artists such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as dance-pop artists like Michael Jackson and Madonna. She is among the best-selling music artists worldwide and the best-selling digital artists in the United States. She has won many awards, including Grammy Awards and MTV awards, among others, as well as two consecutive appearances on Billboard magazine's Artists of the Year (scoring the definitive title in 2010); regular placements on lists composed by Forbes; and an appearance on the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.