Lady Gaga then and now
Splash News Online, Michael Loccisano/Getty
12/17/2009 at 01:40 PM EST
There was a time when Lady Gaga
dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl and it wasn't for shock value. Before she made it big as a Grammy-nominated pop singer and fashion icon, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was a piano-playing student at Convent of the Sacred Heart school in New York City.
She was already writing songs as a teen-ager in 2000, then studied music at New York University before leaving early to perform professionally. – Mike Fleeman Watch the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT,live on CBS – and catch up on all the news and style from the show on PEOPLE.com!