- MAY 27, 2022
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About Lady Gaga
Some may dismiss pop as inauthentic. But for Lady Gaga—one of popular culture’s greatest, most extravagant creations—the inauthenticity is the point. No artist has more defiantly embodied that provocation this century than the one born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (in New York in 1986). Never wedded to the same image—one minute wearing a dress made of raw meat at the MTV VMAs, the next a coat of Kermit the Frog puppets on German TV—Gaga personifies pop’s surface obsessions while simultaneously upending them.
In a sense, her creative identity had crystallized by age 21, having been a child pianist, aspiring actor, and burlesque performer. Each of these facets powered her career’s most distinct parts: the celebrity fascination of her first two albums, 2008’s The Fame and 2009’s The Fame Monster; the subversive layering of 2011’s Born This Way and 2013’s ARTPOP; the sincere reverence of 2014’s Cheek to Cheek, her jazz standards album with Tony Bennett; and the rootsier songwriting of 2016’s Joanne. If 2009’s “Paparazzi” reveled in the flashes, then “Born This Way” celebrated inner light: In translating her diffuse identity into world-conquering art, Gaga has become a beacon to anyone else who’s felt like an outsider. Her loyal following—a.k.a. Little Monsters—has affirmed a deep connection to her message of self-love and self-expression, despite pop’s fickleness and her chameleonic exterior. She played out a simpler version of her path to fame in the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born: But while her character’s ascent was abetted by her lover, Gaga’s was all her own.
- New York, NY, United States of America
- March 28, 1986