Just a few months ago, 'gaga' was a term used exclusively for babies, going bonkers or the lyrics to that song by Queen. Today it means blonde hair, big sunglasses and PVC pants. It also means trouble. In just a short time, Lady GaGa has rampaged her way around the world, storming the charts and becoming an overnight style sensation. She's quickly gained a reputation for being feisty, frank and opinionated. And we're about to see whether she lives up to it.
In true diva fashion, Lady GaGa turns up an hour late in her trademark giant shades and micro catsuit. We’ve been waiting patiently for her arrival, and when she finally does grace us with her presence, there's no apology. Maybe she's a little tired. Maybe she's feeling a little under the weather. After all, going out in nothing but her undies she’s just asking to cath a chill.
But now she's here, she means business. "Shall we start?" she says. We get the feeling it's not a question. But it's no wonder Lady GaGa is more than a little self-assured. From her point of view, she was destined for greatness.
"Some people are just born stars," she says in her upmarket New York drawl. "You either have it or you haven't, and was definitely born one."
"Even as a kid I always had eyes on me like bees on honey. I was always outrageous and I was always very smart."
It may sound arrogant, but she has already more than proven her point. A graduate from the Tisch School of Arts (think The Brit School for New Yorkers), Lady Gaga – real name Stefani Joanne Germanotta – has written songs for Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls before deciding she wanted a taste of the limelight too. So she gave herself an image overhaul, transforming herself from a brunette in braces and jeans to the bleached blonde siren we know today.
And, in less than a year, she has become pop's hottest diva, scoring number ones on both sides of the Atlantic with Just Dance and performing with the Pet Shop Boys at this year's Brit Awards. All this at just 22.
So where did GaGa come from – and what are her crazy outfits all about?
Her style icons are her favourite 'glam' rock acts, including David Bowie and Queen – she took her name from the band's anthem Radio Ga Ga – but she also draws inspiration from her formative years as a stripper.
"I have a strong sense of my own sexuality. I love the naked human body and I have huge body confidence," she says.
"I was working in strip clubs when I was 18. Girls from my background weren't meant to turn into someone like me. I come from a wealthy Italian family, went to a good school [she was at the same super-rich Manhattan Catholic girls’ school – Convent Of The Sacred Heart – as Paris Hilton]. You're meant to live with Mom and Dad until they die. I went against all I was brought up to be: I moved out of home, wouldn't take any help from my parents [her internet entrepreneur dad and his business partner wife] and supported myself with waitressing jobs and stripping."
"My act was pretty wild. I'd wear black leather and dance to Black Sabbath, Guns N' Roses and Faith No More. Very rock n' roll."
Probably more rock n' roll than she'll admit, as it was around this time she got heavily into drugs – but she quit when her father read her the riot act.
"I don’t like to talk about it too much but there were drugs, serious drugs," she says. "I wouldn't want to inspire other people to do the same." But she doesn’t regret the stripping.
"I discovered a real personal freedom through it. Obviously my parents didn’t like it. I was drawing huge crowds, setting hairspray alight on stage and dancing madly. My dad thought I'd lost it. With the drugs it was his reaction that pulled me back. I didn't go to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. I did it myself. I have such a fear of failure, I didn't want anything to make me fail. So I stopped. I still drink and party, but there's no darkness now. Just a lot of fun."
Fast-forward a few days and "Fabulous" is chatting to Lady GaGa again. This time, she's in her hotel room in Bologna in Italy and is in a more relaxed mood. The GaGa confidence is still on full glare but she's friendlier and even cracks some jokes. And she actually admits it's not always rosy in GaGa garden.
"My problem area is definitely men," she sighs. "I've only really been in love once. He didn't want me to do this job. He wanted me to stay at home, so I left. It broke my heart, but also made me realize music is my first love."
"My music's never going to roll over in bed one morning and tell it doesn’t love me any more. I have a problem with rejection."
"I do love British men, though. They're smart and the accent is borderline pretentious, which I love."
Could recently single Prince Harry be a contender? "Well, he’s definitely handsome, but I could never give up my leather and lace for the royal family."
As for another eligible British bachelor, Guy Ritchie, Lady Gaga looks stunned. "God, no! I'd stay away from the Queen’s ex-husband. I love Madge so it would be way to dangerous."
And despite the scary clothes and the ego, she insists she's just a normal gal.
"I behave like lady GaGa 24/7 because I have to, but the real me is the girl who's still really close to her mom, dad and little sister."
"I feel so guilty for upsetting them as my family are my life. We've come full circle. They are really proud of me. My parents were so excited about me performing at The Brits – that was such a special moment."
She's also on her way to becoming amazingly rich, recently being paid £10,000 for a couple of hours DJing.
"I don't do this for the money," she says, "I don't want to buy a flash car. I just want to put everything into my music and art. I'm going to get bigger and bigger,"
You go GaGa!
"You and Madonna go head-to-head in a fashion competition – who wins?"
- That depends on the category. I think she's super cool. She's one of my icons. I think we've both learnt something from each other.
"You went to Catholic school – what’s been your biggest ever sin?"
- Baby, I was born to sin!
"Who was the last person to see you naked?"
- My assistant Jen this morning and my make-up artist Cassie, five minutes later. I'm always naked.
"You used to be a stripped – who would you love to do a striptease for?"
- Wouldn't you like to know! I have someone in mind but that would be telling way too much.
"What underwear have you got on today?"
- Sometimes nothing – but today I have tiny black silk panties.