Interview: Lady GaGa
Fri, 30 Jan 2009 10:24:49
"Where are we right now?" Lady GaGa asks her tour manager. After finding out the answer, she giggles, "We're in Nottingham. I'm in a different city every hour, but at this moment, it's Nottingham."
It's understandable that she doesn't know where she is, the past year has been a whirlwind for the Grammy nominated songstress. Her explosive hit single, "Just Dance," garnered her a Grammy nomination for "Best Dance Recording," and her debut album, The Fame, has slowly begun to solidify her status as a new pop princess. However, it's all because she knows and respects the hook above all. Every song on The Fame is beyond catchy and could easily ignite any dance floor across the world, but GaGa's got an even larger plan in mind. She doesn't want to just be a part of pop culture, she wants to explore it inside and out. GaGa discusses making feel-good music, critiquing art, writing for Britney Spears and much more in this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com for our Grammy mini-site. It doesn't matter where she is, she's got a good grip on the game…
What is it about "Just Dance" that has resonated so much with everyone?
I think that everyone is looking for a song that really speaks to the joy in our souls and in our hearts and having a good time. It's just one of those records. It feels really good, and when you listen to it, it makes you feel good inside. It's as simple as that. I don't think it's rocket science when it comes to the heart. I think it's a heart theme song.
Is following your heart your whole catalyst for making music?
I definitely follow my heart, but I would say the catalyst for making music and all art is to make something that's beautiful. I've always believed that art is beauty, and beauty is art. I wanted to make a beautiful record. I think "Just Dance" is.
Your whole album follows that vibe. It also came out at the right time because the world needs more fun music.
I think the world definitely needs more fun music. The album's a reflection of what I want to hear and what I think the world needs to hear. I think that really great artists have intuition about what's next in pop culture. It's sort of like we're taking constant pH and litmus tests to test the world and see what's going to hit next.
Can artists shed light on what the future's going to be?
I think so. I hope to be a great contribution to pop culture. I think this album is a really beautiful album. It has a beautiful soul. It's fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously. They're great records. I don't think a killer chorus ever hurt the world. From a songwriting perspective, I definitely care about lyrics and melodies that resonate with people's souls and in their brains. I want to make something that will truly mobilize the international heart, so I appreciate that because I really think about.
Are fashion and music more intertwined than ever?
Absolutely, I think that fashion and music go hand-in-hand, and they always should. It's the artist's job to create imagery that matches the music—something powerful that will really grab the audience and create a memorable impression. I think they're very intertwined, and I'm part of that too.
You've created a larger-than-life persona, which isn't as prevalent anymore in music.
We do put on a show... it's interesting that you use the word "persona." I think that's the first word people think of when they're trying to figure out how to describe what it is that I do because we're not used to artists that live and breathe their work, but this is truly who I am. GaGa is not a character. There's the fashion, the music, the films and the videos. Everything that you see is an extension of me. It's not a character that I play on television.
“I don't think a killer chorus ever hurt the world.”
Do you feel like you're embracing your real self through the music?
Yeah, I think that I really discovered who I am over the years. I realized the girl that I was so desperately trying to hide away from everyone, the girl that was always made fun of, she's actually everyone's favorite. So now she just lives, breathes, works, makes music and prospers throughout the planet.
Who has been your favorite collaboration so far?
I really loved writing "Quicksand" for Britney Spears.
Do you write a lot, in general?
I used to write a lot of essays and analytical art papers. I was really into writing pieces about art, religion and social order. I'd look at pop art and politics and write essays. I don't do that anymore, but I still think in that way. I applied that same kind of reckoning to the album. The album doesn't say one thing or another about fame. It explores the different, shocking orifices of fame.
What artists do you love?
Andy Warhol, Damian Hearst, Jackson Pollock and Helmut Newton. Warhol gutted pop culture like a fish. It's not my intention to make fun of pop culture; it's my intention to review it.