Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, and businesswoman. She was born on the 28th of March, 1986. She is known for her consistent image reinventions and versatility in both music and entertainment. 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 career in music. When Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, she worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and Akon's label, KonLive Distribution, in 2007. She rose to prominence the following year with her debut album The Fame and its chart-topping singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The album was later reissued to include the EP The Fame Monster (2009), which yielded the singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro".
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' power and earnings rankings. Gaga 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. Her extensive philanthropy and social activism includes work related to mental health awareness and LGBT rights. Gaga founded the Born This Way Foundation in 2012, a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering youth, improving mental health, and preventing bullying.