World gone gaga
Barry C Chung
For one reason or another, Lady Gaga has hogged the spotlight for the past few weeks. From her lawsuit and countersuit against former boyfriend and producer Rob Fusari to her medical test for lupus, like it or not, the world has gone gaga.
It seems like ages ago that Fusari - who has also collaborated with the likes of the Jonas Brothers, Will Smith and Britney Spears - recognised her potential as a song writer and singer. Back then she was a garage rocker from New York.
Fusari thought her voice resembled that of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, particularly on the song Radio Ga Ga. This was before she'd acquired her current moniker, even before she had a stage name at all. After attempting to text 'Radio Ga Ga' on his mobile phone, the autocorrect function changed it to 'Lady Ga Ga'. The singer thought the name had a nice ring to it, and the rest is history.
Lady Gaga's birth name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She attended the same high school as socialite siblings Paris and Nicky Hilton.
Since her debut album The Fame was released in 2008, Lady Gaga's name has been tossed around in every music discussion. The hit singles Just Dance and Poker Face reached No 1 on the Billboard US charts. The album was nominated for six Grammies, and won two. All this fame before she even turned 23.
Lady Gaga released her own collection of remixes this month, as a follow-up to the platinum album The Fame Monster. Interestingly, the album, called Lady Gaga the Remix, is available with two different cover artworks - both showing off her own brand of eccentricity.
The album takes 17 of her most adored tracks and is remixed by a wide range of producers and artists. The songs retain their original lyrics, but the beats and melodies are altered to give the songs a fresh twist. In perhaps the oddest duet in a long time, Lovegame pairs gothic rocker Marilyn Manson with the electro-dance rhythms we are accustomed to hearing from a Gaga album.
Like any collection of remixes, much of the listening experience depends on us appreciating the intricate tinkering to the original versions - we may enjoy the nuanced final product, but we maintain a closer connection to the original.
Gaga's creativity extends beyond her music. Highly artistic music videos are another platform Lady Gaga uses to display her talent, which includes a wardrobe that would make Madonna blush. But critics often cite her lyrics as being her strongest work.
Despite being in the business for only three years or so, Lady Gaga has become not only an entertainment superstar but also a cult icon. This year's Time magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World included her in the section devoted to artists.
'Lady Gaga's art captures the period we're in right now,' Cyndi Lauper, a pop diva of yesteryear, says in Time. 'Most of the stuff on the radio is not very clever, but Gaga presents her ideas in a sophisticated manner.'
Don't expect her popularity to wane anytime soon. She lent her songs to the hit musical show Glee. So like it or not, we'll be seeing a lot more of Lady Gaga in future.