How Did Lady Gaga Make It?

Lady Gaga
"Lady GAGA, GMA Concert, Lady GAGA, GMA Concert, Lady GAGA GMA Concert," by TJ Sengel is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Collaboration and passion about your musical direction are ways to get ahead - says Lisa Popeil

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Lady Gaga was born and raised in New York City. She started studying piano at age 4 and by the age of 13, was taking vocal lessons and writing songs. A year later she began performing at open mic nights. Not only did Lady Gaga study classical piano to a high proficiency, but she had won leads in her high school musicals.

At 17, she studied at CAP21, a musical theater training program associated with New York University but left to focus on a pop musical career. “I thought I could teach myself about art better than the school could,” she said in an interview with Elle magazine.

Early Industry Connections

Fascinated with combining art, religion, politics, sex and music into the pinnacle of pop artistry, she worked as a waitress while dancing in burlesque clubs and singing in dive bars.

In 2006, Gaga met music producer Rob Fusari and worked on composing new material. She was signed and dropped by Island Def Jam records, but her songwriting for Sony/ATV Music Publishing caught the attention of producer/writer/artist Akon. His interest led to her record contract with Interscope Records.

‘Poker Face’ reached #1

In 2007, she began working with Moroccan-American-Swedish producer RedOne which led to her to complete her first album ‘The Fame’. She supported the album with a tour in Europe and in gay clubs in the US, as well as opening for New Kids on the Block’s US tour. Her second single ‘Poker Face’ reached #1 in several major music markets worldwide in 2009, selling 9.8 million singles and was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Lady Gaga @ The O2 Arena
“Lady Gaga @ The O2 Arena” by Something For Kate is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What This Means for You:

1. Early musical training can be a boon to your career. Start early and get good.

2. Collaborate and brain-storm with like-minded musicians and artists.

3. Be passionate about your musical direction, even to the point of delusion. You must believe in yourself despite all reasoning.

4. Being sexually provocative gets attention. Creating a shocking image keeps you memorable.

5. Convince those around you that you are great. Then be great.

6. Perform anywhere and often. Don’t miss an opportunity to be seen and heard.

7. You’re only one well-connected person away from a bigger career. The more you perform, the more likely that person will come into your life and steer you onward.

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