Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta[a] (born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is known for her unconventionality, provocative work, and visual experimentation. She began performing as a teenager, singing at open mic nights and acting in school plays. She studied at Collaborative Arts Project 21, through New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, before dropping out to pursue a music career. When Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, she worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where Akon helped her sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and his own label KonLive Distribution in 2007. She rose to prominence the following year with her debut album, the electropop record The Fame, and its chart-topping singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”. A follow-up EP, The Fame Monster (2009), featuring the singles “Bad Romance”, “Telephone” and “Alejandro”, was also successful.