Lady GaGa is a theatrical dance-pop singer/songwriter whose commercial debut single, the international chart-topping smash hit "Just Dance," established her as an up-and-coming superstar upon its release in 2008. Born Stefani Germanotta on March 28, 1986, in Yonkers, NY, she attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private all-girl Catholic school in Manhattan, before proceeding to study music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts at age 17. Influenced by flamboyant glam rockers such as David Bowie and Freddie Mercury (indeed, her stage name is drawn from the Queen song "Radio Ga-Ga") as well as '80s dance-poppers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, she began playing the piano at a young age and later began writing songs and performing as a teenager. In 2007 she began to make a name for herself on the downtown Manhattan club scene with a performance art show billed as Lady GaGa and the Starlight Revue (co-featuring Lady Starlight; born Colleen Martin, a DJ and makeup professional), and music industry insiders began to take note. While Lady GaGa was initially signed to Def Jam in 2007, nothing came of that association, and ultimately it was pop-rap superstar Akon who took her under his wing, signing her to his vanity label Kon Live in association with Interscope Records.