Lady Gaga wasn\'t quite born when the Grammy Awards began on Sunday, Feb. 13--she was still in her egg while she "walked" the red carpet. Later that evening, Gaga was birthed, or perhaps more accurately, rebirthed as, well, Lady Gaga.
She emerged from a now-larger egg onstage, and you could see this wasn\'t the same Gaga. In case you didn\'t catch the subtle (not a word often used to describe any part of Gaga onstage) touches: Her hair was off-pink with amniotic remnants. Her bones had structurally changed. Her shoulders now had positively Vulcan protrusions.
"My bones have changed in my face and shoulders," she says. "I am now able to reveal to the universe that when I was wearing jackets that looked like I was wearing shoulder pads, it was really just my bones underneath."
If you\'re looking for a self-conscious wink in any of this, you\'ll probably be waiting for at least a few more Gaga life spans. There\'s no line between Stefani Germanotta, Gaga\'s birth name, and Lady Gaga. There\'s no onstage and offstage. There\'s only Gaga.
Congratulations. "Born This Way" is the 1,000th No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
I can\'t believe it. I\'m humbled, honored and overwhelmed at the reception to "Born This Way." This has been so life-changing for me. Between Billboard and the international No. 1s, and the radio numbers... I couldn\'t be more blessed to have the fans I have. I knew when I wrote the song it was special, but I also knew that perhaps my fans or my label were hoping for me to deliver "Bad Romance the Third" or "Poker Face the Third." I wanted to do exactly the opposite.
That\'s not to say that on the album there\'s not an incredible amount of breadth and eccentricity. It\'s quite eclectic. It ranges from "Born This Way" being very light to the rest of the album becoming quite darker. I in jest say that "Born This Way" is the marijuana to the heroins of the album, the ultimate intense intoxication of the record. It\'s an analogy.
No need to start more rumors, right?
No, please. I don\'t like rumors, especially not drug rumors. But the song, it\'s very literal and.. I said, "I want to write my freedom record. I want to write my this-is-who-the-fuck-I-am anthem," but I don\'t want it to be hidden in poetic wizardry and metaphors. I want it to be an attack, an assault on the issue because I think, especially in today\'s music, everything gets kind of washy sometimes and the message gets hidden in the lyrical play.
I think this is the first No. 1 song that uses the word "transgendered." This is the first No. 1 song--and we\'re doing more research on this--out of these 1,000 that far and away is the most pro-LGBT kind of track. That\'s pretty remarkable. A bit of a landmark.
I wanted to put my money exactly where my mouth is. The Little Monsters all over the world as well as the gay community have been tremendously supportive over the years and I have in turn been supportive. Let\'s call a spade a spade. This is also my chance to artistically say, "I\'m not being safe with this record." I\'m not trying to gain new fans. I love the fans I already have, and this is for them.
If "The Fame" was about the draw of fame, success and money and "The Fame Monster" was an answer to what the fame can bring you--which wasn\'t terribly good news--what is "Born This Way"? You said it gets a little bit dark--do you write all of the songs or co-write them?
I write all the lyrics and the melodies to my songs, and I co-produce every single track on the album.
You create a vision and you deliver. Artists who write their own albums, each one becomes a bit of a chapter.
This album exists in two different hemispheres working together at the same time. On one end, the album is this world and each song represents these subworlds within the album but thematically range from identity to choice, life choice, to understanding who you are, but ultimately on the other side of the hemisphere, the nexus of "Born This Way" and the soul of the record reside in this idea that you were not necessarily born in one moment. You have your entire life to birth yourself into becoming the ultimate potential vision that you see for you. Who you are when you come out of your mother\'s womb is not necessarily who you will become. "Born This Way" says your birth is not finite, your birth is infinite.
Birth is a process of living.
It\'s a process of living and it\'s also not ultimately a goal. It\'s something ever-changing. Something you can ignite at any moment. My bones have changed in my face and in my shoulders because I am now able to reveal to the universe that when I was wearing shoulder pads or when I was wearing jackets that looked like I was wearing shoulder pads, it was really just my bones underneath. My fashion is part of who I am, and though I was not born with these clothes on, I was born this way.
Is that what the Grammy performance was about?
The Grammy performance was about many things but ultimately the song "Born This Way" . . . is visually and thematically and lyrically about birthing a new race, birthing a race within the race of already existing cultures of humanity--that bears no prejudice and no judgment. The whole performance was a Gregorian Alvin Ailey, had Martha Graham energy to it, and that was a statement in itself.
As a performer, does it help you to get into costume?
Well, it\'s part of who I am. My creativity is in my blood and in my bones as I said, and it takes time to become myself every morning.
Do you feel pressure about that? Like, you can\'t just be Stefani Germanotta any more? You have to be, any time you\'re out anywhere, Lady Gaga?
I don\'t agree with that statement.
Because you are Lady Gaga.
Gaga is Stefani Germanotta. I don\'t create any separation between my birth name and my subsequent birth name--Lady Gaga. That\'s the point of what I\'m trying to say. Gaga is not manufactured . . . it is not artificial. I wish I could give that gift to everyone on the planet--the ability for you to create an idea and perceive of something, whether it be a name or a vision for yourself, and just choose to become it. The world, and I base this on the music industry, is obsessed with artists and glamour and creativity and fashion. And artistry has become something that people believe is artificial. For myself, it is my reality. I exist at all times halfwaybetween reality and fantasy. That\'s the way I was born.
I just meant, on a very human level, we all have days where what we\'d like to do is throw on a pair of sweats, go to the deli and get a cup of coffee.
I do things like that, although it may not be in sweat pants. When I do those things, my fans or Little Monsters, they don\'t see that as any different. It\'s all one whole. People try to view artists in these relative compartmentalizations of their life, like, "Oh, this is her at the grocery store, this is her onstage, this is her on the red carpet," and I guess what I was trying to say on the red carpet is that I\'m always onstage.
The idea for the egg on the red carpet--where did that come from?
I was in Amsterdam on my tour bus. I was thinking about birth--about embryos. Even my hair color was a washed-out rose color . . . It was meant to be a hair expression, an afterbirth.
About the new album, what can you tell me?
The breadth of the album is enormous. My fans are going to enjoy the journey. One of my favorite songs on the album is the last song. It was originally going to be the first single. It\'s called "Marry the Night." It
was produced by myself and Fernando Garibay. When Fernando and I did it, it was actually after I had written \'Born This Way,\' but hadn\'t yet produced it. It was like this sonic light bulb went off and we were like, "That\'s the sound! That\'s the future." The lyrics are "I\'m gonna marry the night, I won\'t give up on my life. I\'m a warrior queen... I\'m gonna make love to the stars... I\'m a soldier to my own emptiness. I\'m a winner." The record is just this massive, gas-station, disco record, music--that every single one of these songs could have been a hit record.
The hubbub about Madonna--do you have a point of view on that?
Everyone knows how much I love and adore Madonna. What a huge fan I am. I don\'t think there is a female on the planet that is not inspired by Madonna... on so many levels. I was honored to hear from her--I\'ve met her in the past and worked with her and... she was so supportive and loving and... I think what people are hearing, to be precise, is the spirit of the early \'90s. It\'s not just Madonna, it\'s Whitney Houston, it\'s En Vogue, it\'s TLC. It was a \'90s-dance-early-gospel-fusion-with-pop-music, and that\'s precisely what I intended for it to sound like.
The video for "Born This Way," it\'s coming shortly.
Yes. I saw the edit of it today and it\'s amazing. I did it with Nick Knight, co-directed it with him and Laurieann Gibson and the Haus--so it\'s really a Haus of Gaga directorial debut with Nick Knight. It . . . looks completely different than everything I\'ve ever done.
Can you give a teaser, a sense of what fans can expect?
Um, it is the birth of the new race. Really deep stuff.