With 13 Grammy awards under her belt and over 170 million records sold worldwide, it’s hard to imagine a time when Lady Gaga wasn’t a certified pop icon. Merging elements of electronica, R&B, and dance-pop, as well as crystal clear drag influences from her days as a Lower East Side club kid, the New York native’s 2008 debut album The Fame made clear instantly that Gaga was a force to be reckoned with.
Now, 15 years later, Lady Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta), is by far one of the most acclaimed performance artists of the 21st century. Just a year after being discovered by legendary R&B artist Akon at her burlesque show titled ‘Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue,’ Gaga had recorded and released a no-skips album filled to the brim with some of the most iconic pop songs of all time. Enter: “Poker Face”, “Paparazzi”, “Just Dance”, and “Love Game”.
Painting a picture of an alluring world of sex, drugs, money, and dance; sometimes gritty, at other times glamorous, it was always undoubtedly inspired by the vibrant queer club scene of New York City. After all, as Gaga said to Out Magazine in 2009, her desire was to “inject gay culture into the mainstream,” both through her music and extravagant outfits crafted by a small, behind-the-scenes creative team called the Haus of Gaga; a name inspired by the Ballroom subculture of NYC, led by Black and Latinx LGBTQIA+ performers.
The record was reissued as a deluxe edition titled The Fame Monster in 2009 with new additions “Bad Romance”, arguably Gaga’s most instantly recognizable track, and “Telephone” featuring the one and only Beyoncé. Although she had made an impression with her futuristic disco looks, complete with massive sunglasses, hooded bodysuits, and geometric dresses, Gaga’s impact on fashion and pop culture had only just begun—evidently seen on many of our covers, including one of Gaga’s first V moments for V67 starring alongside designer Marc Jacobs, signaling her entry into the world of high fashion.
By the time the 2009 MTV VMAs rolled around, Lady Gaga was a household name, sealing the deal with a now-iconic blood-soaked performance of “Paparazzi”, after which she took the stage to accept her award, thanking “God and the gays,” in sheer red lace by Alexander McQueen and a full-coverage lace mask and crown by Haus of Gaga.
The subsequent years saw Gaga’s identity as an artist take shape even more through a series of straight-up jaw-dropping music videos, standouts being the cinematic video for “Paparazzi” starring Gaga alongside award-winning actor Alexander Skarsgård, and the “Bad Romance” video full of stunning Alexander McQueen looks. The following year, just when we thought she couldn’t get any more theatrical, Mother Monster took the word “camp” to new heights by returning to the VMA’s red carpet in a dress, boots, and headpiece all made from raw flank steak.
A one-of-a-kind artist and activist, Lady Gaga has achieved more in her career than most can dream of; a debut album that stands the test of time and captures her distinct creative vision without forgetting to honor the marginalized communities that have inspired and supported her through it all.
To commemorate the 6x RIAA certified platinum album which has gone on to sell over 23 million copies worldwide and earn certified diamond singles “Just Dance” (11x platinum) and “Poker Face” (10x platinum) and multi-platinum singles “Paparazzi” (5x platinum) and “LoveGame” (3x platinum), Interscope Records is releasing a limited edition translucent blue vinyl of The Fame (which also happens to be the longest running #1 album on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Chart of all time with over 175 non-consecutive weeks) with a select range of brand new merchandise for Little Monsters everywhere to enjoy, available at ladygaga.com.