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What Is Lady Gaga's Real Name? 7 Facts To Know About The GRAMMY-Winning 'Chromatica' Singer
Did you know Lady Gaga has won 13 GRAMMYs across multiple genres? Here are seven facts to know about "Mother Monster," aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Everything Lady Gaga has touched bears her conspicuous fingerprints, but the simple fact remains: there's no predicting in which direction she'll swerve next.
She hit the world stage by slugging out some of the most undeniable pop smashes of the late 2000s, like "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance." Then, she made a bold stride for LGBTQ+ representation with 2011's Born This Way.
From there, the 13-time GRAMMY winner proved she could be it all, and do it all — from gonzo EDM (2013's Artpop) to confessional soft rock (2016's Joanne) to futuristic dispatches (2020's Chromatica).
In between, she's helped Tony Bennett conclude his career on a magnificent note with 2014's Cheek to Cheek and 2021's Love for Sale, shattered hearts as the co-lead of 2018's A Star is Born, and overall kept her scores of Little Monsters satiated with each creative move.
But if you've made it to this article, chances are you're looking for a few basic facts about the multi-hyphenate born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. So here are seven questions about Lady Gaga, answered — whether you're a brand-new fan or just want to brush up.
Who Is Lady Gaga, And Where Did She Come From?
Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986 into an Italian American family in New York City. She showed musical promise early on — she played piano from age 4 and went on to perform at open-mic nights.
Her mother, Cynthia Louise, is a philanthropist and businesswoman; her father, Joseph Germanotta, is an internet entrepreneur. She has a younger sister, Natali Germanotta.
After attending the all-girls school the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan, she studied music at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. And before her musical career took off, she danced in go-go bars in New York City.
Why Did Lady Gaga Change Her Name?
Her stage name is a nod to Queen and their classic song "Radio Ga Ga." Throw on the faux-royal title, and you've got a moniker that the world won't soon forget.
What Is Lady Gaga's Biggest Hit?
That depends on what metric you want to go by. Through a GRAMMYs lens, "Bad Romance," "Poker Face," "Shallow" (from A Star is Born) and "I Get a Kick Out of You" (with Tony Bennett) are up there, in terms of wins and nominations.
Spotify tells a slightly different story, at least at press time: While "Shallow" reigns supreme at 1.85 billion streams, her Ariana Grande collab "Rain On Me" and another Star is Born track, "Always Remember Us This Way" have broken 800 million streams ("Rain On Me" has nearly 833 mil, and "Always Remember" has more than 804 mil).
And according to the Billboard Hot 100, Lady Gaga's biggest hit is "Born This Way," which remained at No. 1 for six weeks. She had four other songs hit No. 1 on that chart, too: "Rain On Me," "Just Dance" (with Colby O'Donis), "Shallow" and "Poker Face."
How Many GRAMMYs Has Lady Gaga Won?
At press time, Lady Gaga has won 13 GRAMMYs and has received 34 GRAMMY nominations overall.
Did Lady Gaga Really Wear A Meat Dress?
She sure did — at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. But she didn't mean it as a knock against animal rights.
"It's certainly no disrespect to anyone that's vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I'm the most judgment-free human being on the Earth," Gaga explained to Ellen Degeneres post-VMAs, in one of many examples of her sociopolitically outspoken nature.
"It has many interpretations," she continued. "But for me this evening, it's [saying], 'If we don't stand up for what we believe in, if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones." (In this case, she was referring to "don't ask, don't tell" policies in the military.)
What Is Lady Gaga's Connection To Bradley Cooper?
Lady Gaga starred alongside Bradley Cooper in the 2018 film A Star is Born. In the film, Cooper plays Jackson "Jack" Maine, an alcoholic, drug-addicted musician whose career is dwindling. He later discovers and nurtures Ally (Lady Gaga), a struggling artist. The two fall in love quickly and deeply.
A Star is Born heavily features the chart-topping song "Shallow," the lead single off the film's soundtrack, performed by Lady Gaga and Cooper. Lady Gaga won the GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, shared with Cooper, and Best Song Written For Visual Media, both for "Shallow," at the 2019 GRAMMYs. The song also won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2019. At the 2020 GRAMMYs, Lady Gaga won the GRAMMY for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media for A Star Is Born as well as Best Song Written For Visual Media for "I'll Never Love Again (Film Version)," a single off the film's soundtrack.
And while Gaga's and Cooper's steamy performance of "Shallow" at the 2019 Oscars ginned up gossip about an offstage relationship, there's no evidence that's been the case. But on screen, they suffused the fourth remake of the film with crucial chemistry and verve.
Bonus fact: While some film historians believe actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay's relationship was the real-life inspiration for the original 1937 version of the film, A Star Is Born is not based on a true story.
Director William A. Wellman and screenwriter Robert Carson devised the original storyline together, based on a simple, shopworn conceit: a young woman has showbiz dreams and meets a famous man in decline — who charts her path to stardom while falling for her.
Next up: Lady Gaga will star alongside Joaquin Phoenix in Joker: Folie à Deux, the sequel to the 2019 blockbuster, Joker. Early reports on the film, which is reported to be a musical, indicate Gaga will star as Harley Quinn, Joker's devilish sidekick and love interest. Lady Gaga confirmed her involvement in Joker: Folie à Deux — as well as the film's release date, Oct. 4, 2024 — in a teaser video she posted on social media today.
When Will Lady Gaga Be On Tour Next?
Right now! Her Chromatica Ball Tour — which just wrapped its first leg in Europe — is set to swing North America before heading overseas to Japan. You can find her tour dates here.
Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes
GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program
On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.
Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.
"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."
The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.
"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."
"GRAMMY Effect" Spikes Sales
"GRAMMY Effect" Spikes Sales
The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards drove a 3.3 percent increase in album sales compared to last week, according to a Billboard report. The 2010 GRAMMY Nominees album jumped to No. 5 with sales of 71,000 units, a 55 percent increase. Top GRAMMY winner Beyoncé's I Am…Sasha Fierce rose to No. 14 with sales of 32,000 copies, a 101 percent increase. Other GRAMMY performers experiencing sales increases include Pink (up 234 percent), Dave Matthews Band (up 114 percent), the Zac Brown Band (up 82 percent), the Black Eyed Peas (up 76 percent), Taylor Swift (up 58 percent), and Lady Gaga (up 17 percent). Lady Antebellum, who also performed on the telecast, remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week. (2/10)
Grainge Promoted To UMG CEO
Universal Music Group International Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has been promoted to CEO of Universal Music Group, effective Jan. 1, 2011. He will succeed Doug Morris and report to Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman of the management board of Vivendi. Grainge will relocate from London to New York to serve as co-CEO of UMG in tandem with Morris for six months starting July 1. Morris, who has served as UMG chairman and CEO since 1995, will remain as company chairman. (2/10)
Ladies Antebellum And Gaga, Jeff Beck, David Frost, John Legend Win Three GRAMMYs Each
Arcade Fire wins Album Of The Year; Esperanza Spalding wins Best New Artist
(To view a list of 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards winners, click here.)
The evening began with a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, but by the time the last of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards was handed out on Feb. 13, several other singers and bands looked something like royalty. Foremost among them was Lady Antebellum, who walked away with three trophies while the group members earned two more each for songwriting categories.
Lady Antebellum at the GRAMMYs
During a show memorable for its range of fully fueled performances, the country superstars sang a pitch-perfect medley of tunes that ended with a quiet rendition of the song that launched them, "Need You Now," and shortly afterward collected the Song Of The Year GRAMMY for it (along with co-writer Josh Kear, with whom they also took Best Country Song). But there was plenty more to come for the trio. They also took home the GRAMMY for Best Country Album for Need You Now. Accepting that award, lead singer Charles Kelley said, "This song has completely flipped our world upside down." By the time Lady Antebellum stood up to collect a trophy for Record Of The Year for "Need You Now," they were in disbelief, and possibly discombobulated: "Oh my gosh, we're so stunned we started walking the wrong direction," said singer Hillary Scott breathlessly.
Also racking up awards was Lady Gaga, who claimed three: Best Pop Vocal Album for The Fame Monster, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video for "Bad Romance." Never one to miss the chance to make an entrance, she hatched herself onstage from a giant opaque egg. That was a riff on her new single, "Born This Way," and perhaps her bared shoulders, which sprouted a pair of pointy elbows, were too. Her dancers and outfit gave off a Cleopatra vibe, but Gaga can't be stopped from seeming ultra-modern, and her performance of "Born This Way" reflected that; it was a warp-speed whirlwind.
Lady Gaga at the GRAMMYs
In keeping with that same modernist — or maybe futurist — spirit, she accepted her award for Best Pop Vocal Album in black body armor. But Gaga also proved she can be an old-fashioned girl with a soft side. In an emotional acceptance speech for that award, she surprised the audience by thanking Whitney Houston: "I imagined she was singing…because I wasn't secure enough in myself to imagine I was a superstar. Whitney, I imagined you."
Leading the nominees with 10 nods revolving around Recovery, an album that detailed his struggles with addiction but also reestablished him as a rap force to be reckoned with, Eminem took home trophies for Best Rap Album — a triumph over rivals including Jay-Z, Drake and B.o.B — and Best Rap Solo Performance for "Not Afraid." Onstage, his swagger proved undiminished.
A flame-haired Rihanna opened Eminem's performance with a searching rendition of their duet "Love The Way You Lie," but it was Slim Shady who came out blazing, spitting the lyrics to that song before raging into "I Need A Doctor" with Dr. Dre and singer Skylar Grey; Adam Levine from Maroon 5 handled piano duty.
Closing the show and likely lifting the Sunday-night spirits of indie kids everywhere was the Canadian collective Arcade Fire, who won the Album Of The Year GRAMMY for The Suburbs and, before the night's final performance, turned in a frothy and fierce rendition of the rocking "Month Of May."
Arcade Fire at the GRAMMYs
Other multiple winners for the evening included classical music producer David Frost, legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck and R&B artist John Legend, who each earned three awards. Among those who won two each were alternative rock band the Black Keys, jazz giant Herbie Hancock, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, urban/alternative group the Roots, Keith Urban, and gospel singer BeBe Winans.
And in a bit of surprise, jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding won Best New Artist over teen phenom Justin Bieber, as well Canadian rapper Drake, and adventurist rock outfits Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons.
Esperanza Spalding at the GRAMMYs
The show also featured a few firsts, including a first-time ever GRAMMY performance by Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger, who helped pay tribute to fallen R&B singer Solomon Burke.
But if there was also a constant, it was the annual, high-profile celebration of music that the GRAMMYs represent, and the 53rd GRAMMYs fit the bill once again, with performances, pairings and awards presentations that were full of pleasant musical surprises.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Haus Laboratories
WATCH: Lady Gaga And Ariana Grande Team Up For "Rain On Me"
Grande enters the "Stupid Love" singer's futuristic world as the two pop sensations dance together in an out-of-this-planet setting
"I can feel it on my skin (It's comin' down on me)/ Teardrops on my face (Water like misery)/ Let it wash away my sins (It's coming down on me)," the global pop stars sing together on the chorus. "I'd rather be dry, but at least I'm alive/ Rain on me, rain, rain."
The song is an empowering track about being comfortable with letting tears fall. Gaga revealed the many layers behind the song in an interview with Vulture, sharing that some of the inspiration for it came from her relationship with drinking. "This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself," she said. "I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive. Rain on me."
She added that the song also went beyond that. "Okay, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers," she said.
Grande enters the "Stupid Love" singer's futuristic world in the video released Friday, May 22, with the two dancing together in an out-of-this-planet setting. The video ends with them in a strong embrace.
Gaga has shared how much the collaboration with Grande means to her and thanked Grande for "reminding me I’m strong." Before the video's release, she tweeted out a special message to the "Stuck with U" singer.
"One time I felt like I was crying so much it would never stop. Instead of fighting it, I thought bring it on, I can do hard things. @arianagrande I love you for your strength and friendship. Let’s show them what we’ve got," she tweeted.
Grande returned the love with more love, revealing what sharing a track with Gaga means to her.
"one time ..... i met a woman who knew pain the same way i did... who cried as much as i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me," she tweeted. "she then held my hand and invited me into the beautiful world of chromatica and together, we got to express how beautiful and healing it feels to mothafuckinnnn cry ! i hope this makes u all feel as uplifted as it does for us both. i love u @ladygaga , u stunning superwoman !"
Watch the full video above. Chromatica is set to be released on May 29.