Lady Gaga was literally thrown in the trash by school bullies. Now she uses her artistry to create safe spaces for outcasts worldwide. This is The Evolution of Lady Gaga.
Raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta began piano lessons at age four, was in weekly acting classes by 11, and writing her own music by 13. She even supplemented her natural talent with singing lessons, sharing a singing coach with a rising star from another borough, Christina Aguilera.
Her initial aspiration was to become an actress. She was obsessed with Judy Garland and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Stefani enrolled at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts to study theater, but her nerves always seemed to get the best of her during auditions. She dropped out during her sophomore year, much to the disapproval of her parents, and decided to pursue life as a full-time musician. She got a tiny studio on the LES, and took a job as a burlesque dancer while chasing dive-bar singing gigs.
Within a year, the 19-year-old was signed by Def Jam Records, but they dropped her three months later because they couldn’t connect with her sound. It was around this time that Stefani reinvented herself as Lady Gaga, a name taken from the Queen song ‘Radio Ga Ga.’ Three years later, her then-boyfriend, producer and songwriter Rob Fusari took her to Interscope Records where she caught the attention of Akon. He signed her to his label KonLive Distribution.
2011’s ‘Born This Way’ became a powerful anthem for not only the LGBTQ+ community, but also anyone who has ever been made to feel unwelcome or inferior. The single inspired such an outpour of support, that she and her mother launched the Born This Way Foundation in 2012 to further encourage kinder and braver young people. Her vulnerability also extended into the revelation of the PTSD she’s retained from a sexual assault she endured at the beginning of her career, and her support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
And, in a full circle moment, Lady Gaga joins her idol Judy Garland as the fourth starlet to remake the romantic, music-filled drama ‘A Star is Born.’