Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American pop singer-songwriter. She began performing in the rock music scene of New York City's Lower East Side in 2003 and enrolled at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She soon signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. During her early time at Interscope, she worked as a songwriter for fellow label artists and captured the attention of Akon, who recognized her vocal abilities, and signed her to his own label, Kon Live Distribution.
Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which was a commercial success and achieved international popularity with the singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The album reached number one on the record charts of six countries, accomplished positions within the top-ten worldwide, and topped the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart while simultaneously peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. Achieving similar worldwide success, the follow-up EP The Fame Monster (2009), produced a further two global chart-topping singles "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" and allowed her to embark on a second global headlining concert tour, The Monster Ball Tour, just months after having finished her first, The Fame Ball Tour. Her second studio album, Born This Way, is scheduled for release in 2011.
Inspired by glam rock artists like David Bowie and Queen, as well as pop singers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, Gaga is well-recognized for her outré sense of style as a recording artist, in fashion, in performance and in her music videos. Her contributions to the music industry have garnered her numerous achievements including two Grammy Awards, amongst twelve nominations; two Guinness World Records; and the estimated sale of fifteen million albums and fifty-one million singles worldwide. Billboard named her as the Artist of the Year in 2010 and ranked her as the 73rd Artist of the 2000s decade. Gaga has been included in Time magazine's annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as Forbes' list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world. Forbes also placed her at number seven on their annual list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.