In the landscape that is pop culture, Lady Gaga so far defies categorization. "Shy" is one label she certainly would not wear.
The 23-year-old performer of danceable synth-pop rocked the cover of Rolling Stone in a dress made of bubbles recently and also told Britain's Daily Star newspaper that she would be interested in hooking up with all three Jonas Brothers. "The journalist asked me what I thought of the Jonas Brothers, and I told her," she says.
Lately, Lady Gaga is getting as much attention for her candor as for her music and cutting-edge costumes. As for her propensity for discussing sex — and her flexible sexuality — she says: "I don't think being gay or being bisexual or being sexually free is anything that should be hidden. Everybody has a right to their secrecy, of course, but I don't feel particularly shy about it. It is who I am.
"I sing very openly about it in my music, so I suppose I could say that I choose not to hide it in interviews because I don't care to hide it and, two, because it is very obvious in my music that I like women."
Lady Gaga's 2008 debut album, "The Fame," has gone platinum — and remains No. 8 on The Billboard 200 chart — and her first single, Just Dance, became just the fifth song to sell 4 million downloads. (Singles "Poker Face" and "LoveGame" are Nos. 5 and 6 on Billboard's Hot 100.)
A former New York University art student who lists influences such as Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Prince and Madonna in her album credits, Gaga (her name comes from the Queen song Radio Ga Ga) began writing songs for acts such as the Pussycat Dolls. She originally was signed by Def Jam; R&B artist Akon and Interscope's Jimmy Iovine, who signed her after she was dropped, released The Fame.
Her unique '80s-esque dance music has been embraced by the gay and hip-hop community alike. "Those are two very different communities, but something they both share is love of celebration," she says. "My relationship with the gay community is long-standing and loyal, and I love them very much. I consider my music to be very gay, and I love that it is gay."
As for her hip-hop acceptance, Kanye West is planning a fall tour in which Lady Gaga will co-headline and perform with him. "It is very exciting," she says. "He is extremely talented, and I think it truly shows his relevance as a pioneer that he has taken such a new artist under his wing to share the stage."
Currently in Tokyo performing and doing interviews — she spoke by phone early Thursday morning — Gaga also is working on a rerelease of The Fame as well as new material.
Though it may be early in her career for comparisons, many have likened her to Madonna.
"I'm very flattered. She has always been completely unique and original," Gaga says. "That is something I aspire for. I hope to have a very similar conversation with you maybe 30 years from now when we are talking about another album of mine."