I am simply in love with Lady Gaga. I find her to be one of the most intriguing Pop Stars ever. The following blog is reprinted from PluggedIn.com.http://www.pluggedin.com/upfront/2009/learningfromladygaga.aspx
It was written by Adam R. Holtz and published December 3, 2009. It is the best article I have seen on Gaga, enjoy.
Learning From Lady Gaga
Sometimes it can be hard to separate pretenders from contenders. Who will be a flash in the pan? Who will have real staying power?
Who could have known, for instance, that Madonna’s outrageous, panty-revealing publicity stunt at MTV’s first Video Music Awards show in 1984 was actually a coronation of sorts that would inaugurate her nearly 25-year (and counting) pop music reign?
Something similar may be afoot with a 23-year-old performer from New York named Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Never heard of her? That’s because she goes by a significantly catchier stage name: Lady Gaga.
The Lady, whose moniker is a nod to the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga" as well as the flamboyant excess of that band’s deceased frontman, Freddie Mercury, entered the cultural zeitgeist in August 2008 with her debut album The Fame. Its first two singles ("Just Dance" and "Poker Face") hit No. 1, followed by three more Top 5 tracks. Four million albums and 20 million digital downloads later, those songs have helped propel this siren to the very fame she sings about. And this week her follow-up eight-song EP, The Fame Monster, debuted at No. 4.
But the Gaga phenomenon is bigger than even those numbers indicate. From the outset she’s sought to cultivate an image and a mystique that extend far beyond her music.
If you happened to tune in to this year’s Video Music Awards, you saw Lady Gaga simulate her own death with a faux stabbing and lots of stage blood as she performed her hit "Paparazzi." And as for the spectacle she made of herself at the American Music Awards, it’s hard to say what was more arresting, her skintight, flesh-colored leotard, her smashing of a glass cage to get to her piano … or her setting said piano on fire.
Those kinds of moments combined with a stream of jaw-dropping outfits (who else would wear a lion-like mane of white tinsel or a dress made of lots of Kermit the Frog puppets) have made fans go … gaga. They’ve also made Lady Gaga the most Googled image of 2009.
Stefani Germanotta has clearly graduated with honors from the Madonna school of famous-osity: raw sexuality melded with equal parts spectacle, controversy, unpredictability and a big dose of equally raw talent.
Remember My Name?
Two things quickly become apparent when one listens to Lady Gaga for more than five minutes or reads more than one or two interviews with her. One, she’s obsessed with fame. Two, she’s utterly willing to use her sexuality to achieve it.
Let’s begin with the former and rewind the Blu-ray on the Lady’s life story a bit:
A child prodigy who was playing piano by ear at age 4, Stefani Germanotta planned to go to Julliard to polish her skills. After a stint at a private Roman Catholic school (more on that in a minute), she instead ended up attending New York University’s über-prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
"I studied classical music and I grew up hanging out in jazz clubs, and being in jazz bands and choirs and rock ’n’ roll and stuff," she told iprong.com. In the years that followed, she honed a dancey, electro-pop sound that borrows liberally from the likes of David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and, of course, Madonna. "I was always doing something artistic," she says.
But being "artistic" for Lady Gaga is about far more than just penning hit songs. It’s about embracing and living a life of fame that, to hear her describe it, almost sounds like a parody—except she’s deadly serious about making her vision of success a reality.
"I believe in living a glamorous life and I believe in a glamorous lifestyle," she said in an extensive interview with Out magazine. "What that means is not money or fame or prestige. It’s a sense of vanity and glamour and subculture that is rooted in a sense of self. I am completely 100,000% devoted to a life of glamour." Out writers Joshua David Stein and Noah Michelson noted that Lady Gaga wants to "be life-changing, historical and memorable."
"Those are the three things that are important to me," she says.
She sums up her life philosophy in five words: "My performance is my life." She told Out, "There’s an art to fame. Even in the most humiliating and defaming moment of your life, you’re still ready for the camera."
In short, "You’ve got to create some kind of stir," she says. "You’ve got to say something that’s got to upset some people, and that’s the risk-taking that makes music so fun."
Putting Feet to Fancies
Lady Gaga has already put feet—along with the rest of her body—to those salacious sentiments. Whether it’s lyrics that glorify casual sex ("Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick," she sings on her hit "LoveGame," I wanna take a ride on your disco stick") or racy outfits that leave little to the imagination, Lady Gaga constantly leverages her sexuality.
"I write about what I know: sex, pornography, art, fame obsession, drugs and alcohol," she told Elle. "I mean, why would anyone care to listen to me if I wasn’t an expert in what I write about?"
Some songs ("LoveGame" among them) reflect her interest in men. Others ("Poker Face") indicate that she sometimes prefers the sexual company of women—a predilection she’s hardly tried to keep under wraps. "I don’t think being gay or being bisexual or being sexually free is anything that should be hidden," Gaga told USA Today. "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 my interviews because I don’t care to hide it and, two, because it is very obvious in my music that I like women."
Actually, Lady Gaga identifies the gay community as the core of her fan base. "The turning point for me was the gay community," she told MTV. "I’ve got so many gay fans and they’re so loyal to me and they really lifted me up. They’ll always stand by me and I’ll always stand by them."
And when it came to going on tour with Kanye West, a hip-hop artist with a history of directing critical comments toward homosexuals, Gaga minced no words: "I’m gay. My music is gay. My show is gay. And I love that it’s gay. And I love my gay fans and they’re all going to be coming to our show. And it’s going to remain gay. I very much want to inject gay culture into the mainstream. It’s not an underground tool for me. It’s my whole life."
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Lady?
Are you ready to dismiss Lady Gaga as just another self-absorbed, out-of-control hedonist headed for hero status in the subterranean world of sex-pop? Before you do, I think there’s one more layer that needs to be peeled back—perhaps an unexpected one. Underneath the makeup and the wigs and the fishnets and the stage blood is a woman who yearns for acceptance. And someone who, apparently, didn’t find anything like that in her experience with Christianity.
"I’ve always been Gaga," she said in an interview with Rolling Stone. "It’s just that all the years of schooling and being in a Catholic environment and living in a place where we were kind of told what was the right way to be, I suppressed all those eccentricities about myself so I could fit in. Once I was free, I was able to be myself. I pulled [Gaga] out of me, and I found that all of the things about myself that I so desperately tried to suppress for so many years were the very things that all my art and music friends thought were so lovely about me, so I embraced them."
That sense of embracing what others may have considered freakish or eccentric now radically compels Gaga as she creates her music. "The whole point of what I do—the Monster Ball [her current tour], the music, the performance aspect of it—I want to create a space for my fans where they can feel free and they can celebrate," she told MTV. "I didn’t fit in in high school, and I felt like a freak. So I like to create this atmosphere for my fans where they feel like they have a freak in me to hang out with and they don’t feel alone."
So, surprising or not, once you get past Lady Gaga’s outlandish costumes and outlandish tales of debauchery, you can see an exceptionally talented young musician expressing a longing for freedom and acceptance.
Those very human longings hardly let her off the hook for her no-boundaries, anything-goes approach to sexuality, of course. "My fans … come to my shows to be freed," she told MTV. But what she labels "freedom" isn’t. Fans who take Gaga’s glamorous-but-shallow lifestyle to heart will almost certainly end up worse for the wear as emotional and relational carnage come calling.
Which makes me wonder if somewhere deep down Stefani Germanotta knows that her tenacious pursuit of fame ultimately cannot give her what she longs for most. "Nobody gives a s‑‑‑ what is really going on," she says. "Everyone wants me to tell them a story. Art is a lie, and every day I kill to make it true."