She does it her way
You would have to have been sealed in the Hulk-proof cell to have missed the fact Hong Kong is suffering from a serious case of Lady Gaga fever. The pop diva is in the middle of a four-show gig as part of her Born This Way Ball Tour, with the last show tomorrow night.
From the initial announcement of her show dates to the rapid sales of concert tickets, her influence on our city has been clearly evident in both adults and teenagers alike.
Born and raised in New York City, Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Germanotta) toiled in the underground music scene before she was discovered in 2007. Initially hired to write songs for Britney Spears, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas and the Pussycat Dolls, R&B singer Akon recognised her singing talent and quickly signed her to his label, Kon Live. She released her debut album The Fame in 2008.
Initial reaction was slow to Lady Gaga's dance-pop tracks, but the album eventually went on to sell more than 15 million copies worldwide, powered by her hit singles Just Dance and Poker Face. Her next release was an eight-track EP titled The Fame Monster which spawned four more hit singles along with a Grammy for the Best Pop Vocal Album. Her latest album Born This Way , released in May last year, saw the singer expand herself musically as it incorporated elements of electro-rock, opera, heavy metal and rock and roll along with her usual synthpop tunes. The album received critical acclaim from many industry publications, cementing Gaga's status as the reigning queen of pop music.
But Lady Gaga's fame stretches far beyond the music world. She is as well known for her elaborate outfits as for her hits. Her fans see her individuality as inspiration.
'I think she represents the underdog in some ways. Though the celebrity scene is creative and very public, in recent years it's become quite conventional,' says Tam Sum-sze, 18, of Sha Tin College. 'Pop culture figures don't sell themselves as anything but the best ... Lady Gaga isn't afraid to go out there and dazzle in her own way, whether people find it freakish or not.'
Kate Ng, 16, of Queen Elizabeth School adds: 'I admire her courage to be extraordinary, because young people nowadays rarely try to make big changes. Not every decision she makes might be the right one, but at least she takes a risk.'
Lady Gaga has taken her message of individualism to heart and ecome the face of the anti-bullying movement. In February, she launched the Born This Way Foundation, which focuses on encouraging individuality and self-expression among young people.
Even this was not enough to please her critics, some of whom call her provocative and too sexy.
'I don't think [baring] as much of your skin as you can or acting in a provocative way in videos qualifies as 'art',' says Yasmin Subba, 16, of Sha Tin College. 'She has certainly made a scene in the music industry - but is it for the right reasons?'
Love or hate her, Lady Gaga sure knows how to attract attention. Perhaps Coco Lam of Marymount Secondary school sums up her impact best.
'Gaga is walking, talking proof that we shouldn't be afraid of showing who we are, whether we're normal Hongkongers or a five-time Grammy award winner. We should be proud of who we are, even when people try to change us.'