Desperate to get attention in the New York club scene, the young singer, then known as Stefania Germanotta, donned super-skimpy outfits and sang her way to the top - before discovering the cute-and-quirky persona that would help make her a household name.
"When I started out, I was pretty funky, but not quite so mad," says Gaga, now 22.
"I'd be go-go dancing in front of 15 people who didn't know who I was but I'm a fearless person, although I shudder now when I look back at how naive I was."
"It's just as important as the music. I don't want to exist to the British people as just one song.
"I want to be a true artist who affects their culture in the same way that I've affected American culture."
Check out some other pre-fame celebs in our When They Were In High School gallery!