Lady Gaga was born Joanne Stefani Germanotta on March 20, 1986. Even before she was famous, Gaga was interested in music. According to Gaga's official website, she learned to play the piano by age four and was writing piano ballads by age thirteen. Four years later Gaga was studying music at the prestigious New York University Tisch School of the Arts. At nineteen she was signed to a recording contract with Def Jam Records but was later released. After Def Jam, she wrote for Akon, Britney Spears, The Pussycat Dolls, and the reconstituted New Kids on the Block.