Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — better known as Lady Gaga — may have only entered the public consciousness about two years ago but since then has become the biggest-selling female star on planet pop, commanding more column inches worldwide than any other celebrity.
And the New York-born performer is headed back to Belfast this weekend for a three-night stint at the Odyssey Arena.
With her experimental fashion sense and no-holds-barred comments about her bisexuality, Lady Gaga is a dream come true for the red tops. But she’s also a global phenomenon whose fans often dress in a weird and wacky style to pay homage to their music idol.
Her live shows are hedonistic and controversial, with plenty of bondage and gyrating male dancers. And if this week’s Dublin shows are anything to go by, her costume changes will be as flamboyant as ever.
For Lady Gaga, fashion and music go hand-in-hand. Her image is more shocking than sexy and her message is one of female empowerment, where she calls the shots and men are at her bidding.
The 24-year-old has come a long way since her days at the elite Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan, where former classmates have described her as well behaved and disciplined.
But at the age of 19 she took a job as a stripper in a seedy Manhattan club. After dropping out of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she joined a record label where she wrote songs for the likes of Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls.
Around this time she decided to set up her own club act, taking her stage name form the Queen song Radio Ga-Ga. R‘n’B star Akon signed her to his own record label Kon Live Distribution and in August 2008 she released her debut album The Fame, which reached number one in several countries including Ireland and the UK.
A second album, The Fame Monster, came out in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim.
Earlier this year she brought her much-hyped Monster Ball Tour to Belfast, promising fans a return visit before the end of 2010. This weekend, concert-goers will be treated to a visual spectacle as the sometimes controversial but never boring Lady Gaga takes to the stage at the Odyssey again.