Late morning at Lady GaGa's apartment in Los Angeles and she's just decided on her outfit for the day. "I'm going to be wearing a vinyl catsuit that I made," shee purrs in a soft voice. "With chrome pearls and a hair bow. It's a dressdown day."
What with her outrageous taste in outfits - and music and match - 22-year-old Joanne Stefani Germanotta is currently causing a sensation in the US, where her vivid electro-glam debut single Just Dance has gone Top 10. Her sassy, bad-girl act echoes that of childhood idols Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. "I look to Madonna for her philosophy about music and fashion," she admits. "If I'm going to get compared to a blonde pop star, I sure as fuck want it to be her."
Raised on New York's swish Upper West Side, Germanotta attended the $30,000-a-year Convent Of The Sacred Heart school in Manhattan, where fellow students included Paris Hilton. 'I didn't hang out with all the popular blonde girls," she says, claiming to have kept her head down and focused on art and theatre studies. To the chagrin of her parents - founders of a successful internet start-up - she ended up moving downtown and reinventing herself as a go-go dancing performance artist.
"I was performing in hand=made leather and leopard bikinis,ta;king about oral sex and Andy Warhol. I was doing drugs, i was really out of control," she says. "But what made me different was that I was making music, too. O wasn't just doing drugs."
Her antics caught the eye of producer Rob Fusari,who told her she was "ga-ga, like Freddie Mercury", before bringing her to the attention of Interscope Recirds. GaGa's debut album The Fame is released in the UK this month, and she plans to bring her electro-burlesque stage show - a lurid mix of Material Girl dance moves and strobing video screens 0 to Europe. But she has even more lofty ambitions. "Besides becoming the greatest pop performance art show on the planet," she says, "my ultimate goal is a Lady GaGa exhibition at the Lourve."