Today marks the 26th birthday of pop sensation Lady Gaga.
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in New York City, she was raised on the city's affluent Upper West Side. She briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before leaving to pursue a music career.
Gaga subsequently began performing in downtown bars and was quickly signed to Streamline records in 2007. She worked primarily as a songwriter until singer Akon took notice of her voice and signed her to his label as a performer.
By 2008, she was at the top of the charts with hits like "Just Dance" and "Poker Face." Her next album, The Fame Monster, spawned more hits such as "Bad Romance" and "Telephone." Her latest project, 2011's Born This Way, sold 1.1 million copies in its first week.
With only three albums under her belt, Lady Gaga has become one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She has been named Billboard's Artist of the Year, and is considered one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
Happy birthday, Lady Gaga!