The biggest pop star in the world comes to the Sunshine State this week. She has shows in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and then on Saturday night in Tampa at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Next month her third album, Born This Way, comes out; two years ago her second album, The Fame Monster, came out; three years ago her first album, The Fame, came out; four years ago she was a mostly unknown singer-songwriter in her native New York City; five years ago she was Stefani Germanotta.
Now, of course, she goes by Lady Gaga. She has recognizable musical talent — she plays the piano, writes her own songs and has a better than adequate voice — but so much of her success over these last few years has been self-consciously and brazenly based on the creation of a character.
Her career and its rapid, eye-catching ascent, traced here through words of hers and also those of others, poses big questions about identity and celebrity in our post-millennial society. Maybe that's overstatement. But maybe it's not. Her millions of fans aren't the only people watching her.
Music and culture critics, students of celebrity and serious academics are fascinated, too.
They think who she is says something about who we are.
Her meteoric rise begins in 2006.
Check it out in the timeline below.
Michael Kruse can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8751.