Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (/ˈstɛfəniː dʒɜːrməˈnɒtə/ STEF-ə-nee jur-mə-NOT-ə; born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. At the beginning of her career, Gaga became known for her unconventionality and provocative work. A popular contemporary recording artist, she is noted for constantly experimenting with new musical ideas and images. Gaga initially played roles in high school plays, and studied at CAP21 through NYU's Tisch School of the Arts before dropping out to pursue a musical career. After leaving a rock band, participating in a performance art circuit, and being dropped from a contract with Def Jam Recordings, Gaga worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. From there, Akon noticed her vocal abilities and helped her sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and his own KonLive Distribution in 2007. Gaga rose to prominence with the release of her successful debut album The Fame (2008) and its international chart-topping singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". A follow-up EP, The Fame Monster (2009), was met with a similar reception and the singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro" were also successful.