By Natalya Jones
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By Liz Tracy
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By Jesse Scheckner
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Those already familiar with the phrase "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" might be surprised to learn that Lady Gaga, the self-proclaimed retro-sexual behind infectious pop/dance tracks like the instant club classic "Just Dance" and her new single, "Poker Face," is much more than just another hot girl in hot pants.
The 22-year-old New Yorker has been preparing herself for the limelight from a very young age, and though she tells New Times she never thought of herself as a prodigy, Lady Gaga has always been admittedly precocious in her approach to music. While still just a little diva, Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta) learned piano by ear at age 4, and by the tender age of 14, she was already playing open-mic nights at clubs around New York City.
"My mom used to help me get in," Gaga reminisces. "My parents always knew I was going to be a performer, and they just wanted to help me pursue my passion. They never hindered my creativity."
At 17, she was one of only a handful of kids accepted early to Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, though she'd eventually drop out to pursue her career as a performer. To some, she seems like an overnight success, but the spotlight was never simply handed to her.
"It was the result of many years of hustling in New York," she explains. "I even worked as an intern in publishing companies and record labels just to be around it. For me, there were no jobs too small, even scrubbing toilets."
Interscope/KonLive/Streamline released her debut album, The Fame, in August, a labor of love that's been two and a half years in the making. "It's finished," she says, "and I'm performing, and the fans love it; it's a total dream come true. That's my baby."
Her reputation for energetic club performances and "pop shows fit for the Louvre" has earned her the affection of a rabid fan base. SoFla locals will get to sample the goods firsthand when she hits the BankAtlantic Center for the Y100 Jingle Ball on Saturday.
And those hot pants she's known for stripping down to? She designs those herself, making them by hand.
"I like to show off my legs," she laughs. "There's nothing wrong with that."
Lady Gaga has seamlessly combined her talents as a singer/songwriter, her love of the spotlight, her flare for theatrics, and influences ranging from David Bowie and Queen (her name comes from their hit "Radio Gaga") to Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper, with a little Peggy Bundy mixed in for good measure.
The result? An energetic explosion of electro club rockers laced with classic-rock flavor that's certainly living up to the hype.