10 years ago: Before they were famous

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Clock twisting back infinitely

They’re stars now, but what were some of the best known artists of today doing before they made it big? I chose five newer artists and bands and found out what they were doing ten years ago.

Lady Gaga

Then known by her birth name of Stefani Germanotta, in 2001 the young Lady Gaga was a sophomore in high school. She attended New York City’s private Convent of the Sacred Heart school, which also counts Nicky and Paris Hilton, several Kennedys, and a Vanderbilt as alumni. According to her website, Gaga was performing on the club circuit during this time, especially at the prestigious nightclub The Bitter End.

Taylor Swift

At age 11, Taylor Swift was making her first steps toward stardom. The Wyomissing, PA, native had recently developed an interest in music, encouraged by a grandmother with an opera singing past, and a theater troop manager who suggested that she follow the path. One important milestone came when she sang the national anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers game in 2001. Shortly thereafter, Swift was writing her own songs and practicing her guitar-playing skills.

Bruno Mars

He’s now selling out venues with Janelle Monae, but 10 years ago Bruno Mars wasn’t himself. He was Michael Jackson. That’s because Mars was impersonating Jackson for a local impersonation revue. Long an entertainer, Mars also portrayed a very young Elvis Presley in his childhood for a gig called “Little Elvis.”

Arcade Fire

Long before they started winning big at the Grammys, Arcade Fire founders Win Butler and Josh Deu performed in Boston as an earlier, lesser known, incarnation of the band. Butler and Deu moved to Montreal in 2001 and assembled the band’s first real lineup, including Régine Chassagne, who is now Butler’s wife. The group began performing at local festivals, in lofts, and in art galleries around the city, and quickly gained a fanbase.

Jason Aldean

He’s a star now, but things were not always so rosy for Jason Aldean. In 2001 his career in music was at a standstill. He had been previously dropped from two recording contracts, and though he was doing all he could to get in front of label executives, his attempts were leading nowhere. It would be another two years before, at a showcase where the scouts didn’t even bother to show up, manager Lawrence Mathis offered to help Aldean out. Weeks later he signed with Broken Bow Records.