When she was 19, Gaga started the Stefani Germanotta Band with the goal of getting a record deal by age 21. "I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find, and ate s*** until somebody would listen," recalled the ambitious college dropout. Producer Rob Fusari, impressed by her powerful voice and songwriting chops, approached Stefani at a club one week before her 20th birthday. At the time, Gaga’s songs sounded more like Fiona Apple than Madonna -- but after working with Fusari for a few months, she started making dance music. Oh, and she changed her name. "It was a nickname that my friends gave me when I was living in New York," the singer explains. "They thought my performances were very theatrical, so they called me 'Gaga' after the Queen song, 'Radio Ga Ga.'"