Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) is an American pop singer-songwriter with a net worth of $150 million. In 2011 alone Gaga earned more than $90 million through album sales, tours, endorsements and more! Gaga began her rise to fame performing in the rock music scene of New York City's Lower East Side in 2003. Lady Gaga is known for her outrageous fashion choices as much as her performing abilities. Lady Gaga says her fashion influence is Donatella Versace. Lady Gaga's stage name is a reference to rock band Queen's song Radio Ga Ga. Lady Gaga's music and fashion is inspired by glam rock artists such as Queen and David Bowie, and pop singers such as Britney Spears, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Lady Gaga states fashion inspires her songwriting and performances. Lady Gaga has a dramatic flare to her performance, having been involved in leading roles in numerous high school musicals.
Lady Gaga began playing piano at age four, writing her first piano ballad at 13, and at 14 began performing at open mike nights. In August 2003 Lady Gaga attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where she studied music, improving her songwriting skills by composing papers focusing on topics such as religion, social issues, art, and politics. The artist signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. During her early years at Interscope, she worked as a songwriter for fellow label artists. Akon, who recognized her vocal abilities, signed Lady Gaga to his own label, Kon Live Distribution.
Lady Gaga's debut album, The Fame, was released on August 19, 2008, reaching number one in Austria, Germany, the UK, Canada, and Ireland, and reached the top-ten in numerous countries worldwide; in the United States the album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart, topping Billboard's Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The album produced the hit singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face", and she embarked on her first tour The Fame Ball Tour. Lady Gaga's second studio album The Fame Monster produced the global chart-topping single "Bad Romance", leading to The Monster Ball Tour for the album.