Lady Gaga 'Born This Way' Cover Story
Gaga winning a Grammy, Feb. 13, 2011.
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.
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.
Do you care how many copies of this album sell, or sell in the first week?
It's not about the numbers. But I won't say that I'm not honored to be No. 1 on Billboard. Because it is a tremendous honor. And to be the 1,000th No. 1 on Billboard... I would be silly not to say this is the greatest honor of my career... To have sold so many singles so quickly and to be a message--not a song about a nightclub, not a song about sex--a message about love and positivity?
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.
How did you decide what producers to work with for "Born This Way"? Do you ever consider working with, or does Interscope ever suggest you work with a mainstream hitmaker?
Interscope--I say this with love--they don't have anything to do with my creative process.
So how do you decide who to work with?
I wanted to work with RedOne again because we have this incredible magic together. We did a song called "Judas," a song called "Hair"...
What is that magic that he brings?
He has no ego.
"No ego." How does that translate in the studio? Being open to ideas?
It translates as musical hippies... [The producers I work with] are unbelievably talented, open-minded and in touch with the underground dance community as well as orchestral movie soundtrack music as well as rock music, metal music.
I think in the music industry, something has happened where the producers have begun to think or believe--or the industry has begun to think or believe--that the producer makes the hits. This is the most dangerous thing that has happened to this business. Because it takes the credibility away from the singer and from the artist. It's unfair to the artist. What I've experienced working with these producers... We work as a unit.. If I want to lay down a synth line, they're like, "Let's do it." If I change that beat... It's a process.. We sit around on laptops, we'll work on our different computers, different programs, and then we pass everything around on USB sticks and then we convert it to the proper file format to put it into one computer. And actually, Fernando Garibay was the musical director of the whole album. That's the key to the success of the music industry--allowing the artist to creatively run the ship.
There are certain artists who aren't able to run the ship.
Or maybe they are, but producers are getting in their way. I'll probably get in trouble for saying that, but I don't care, because I'm looking out for the future of this industry. And I believe so much that this industry is being revitalized every day in more and more areas... we can sell millions and millions of records in the first week, like we used to.
But we have to remember that music began with the artist... I cannot thank Troy Carter and Vincent enough for how they have supported me over the years. They believe in me so much. I will never leave Troy. I will never leave Vincent. Until my artistic death, I will be loyal to them because they are the truth of this industry.
Can you explain their respective roles?
Troy is my manager, and Vincent is my A&R, but with the new structure, the 360 deals with the music business, Vincent is essentially my partner. We work on everything together. They let the Haus of Gaga creatively run
everything that I do and everything that we do. Troy is tremendously talented. Vincent is tremendously talented. They've never tried to re-create me, because it can't be done.