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Few music stars have had the immediate impact of Lady Gaga. Over the past year, her debut CD, The Fame, has produced four Number One Billboard Pop Songs chart hits: Just Dance, Poker Face, LoveGame, and Paparazzi - surpassing the previous record of three chart toppers achieved by Ace Of Base, and Avril Lavigne. Lady Gaga has also managed to create a unique persona defined as much by her songs as by her bizarre fashion. Lady Gaga was nominated for nine MTV Awards and recently for five American Music Awards, including Artist of the Year.
Stefani Germanotta tried a subtler approach to the music business.
"For a while I had this very long brown hair and I was really into Bob Dylan and Jefferson Airplane and [Jefferson Airplane's lead singer] Grace Slick. I was doing just a different kind of music," she said.
It was not until she changed her sound, and became Lady Gaga that her career took off.
With the success of her debut CD, The Fame, she has gone from a struggling singer-songwriter to a headliner with a well-known opening act.
Her success might seem sudden, but the groundwork was laid by years of music lessons and performing in local clubs for little money.
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"I mean, I've been playing piano since I was four, and been studying," she recalled. "Whether it was in music theory classes or I was in jazz band or writing music, and around 14 I started to play out in local clubs [where] my mother would take me, and sign me up on the open mic night sheet.
I could tell the story forever but really it's just that I never gave up, and music has always been my destiny."
This year her success includes nine MTV Video Music Award nominations and Billboard Magazine's "Rising Star Award".
"The Rising Star Award is a very big deal," she said. "I've been given a tremendous amount of credit for the number of songs that have done well. I think it takes a lot more than a few singles to secure yourself in the world. I just want to put out great music and show the fans all the love I can show them."
Artists owe their careers to the fans and Lady Gaga does not take her fans for granted.
"I've got very special fans, you know," she added. "At the risk of sounding slightly pretentious, I would like to say I have the best fans in the whole world. They dress like the music, and they emulate me when they come to the shows; not in the spirit of celebrating Gaga myself, but in celebrating the idea of the fame which is that you can be whoever you want to be. It doesn't matter how much money you have or where you're from. All that matters is that you have your ideas and your creativity. My hair bow's kind of a good example. I know that some people view my fashion as kind of kooky, avant-garde statement, but it's actually a statement about being a kid in the streets that wants to express herself. You can buy a hair extension for three dollars, and I tie it in a knot and stick it on my head, and suddenly I feel like I can do anything. So that's the message. It's small, but my fans understand."
In addition to writing songs for her CD, Lady Gaga has written for artists as varied as The Pussycat Dolls and Michael Bolton.
"And they said, 'How do you feel about writing for Michael Bolton?' And I said, 'Oh wow, I love Michael Bolton! That would be great!' It sounds like a great fun thing for me to do. And, he's a really lovely guy, and he was really kind of an inspirational figure for me when I was working with him because I was just still really starting out. He didn't really know who I was. But of course, everyone knows who Michael Bolton is, and it's a beautiful record," she said.
Lady Gaga's plans for a tour with Kanye West were canceled. With four Number One hits from her debut CD, she should not have trouble filling seats, however, on her own headline tour starting November 27 in Montreal, Canada.
"You know, I was just a girl from New York that wanted to make her dad proud, and it's been a lot more than that this year I think," she noted.