Click the image above to view Lady GaGa covering the Billboard mag. and come back again to read the interview
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.
Gaga seemed in good spirits as we chatted, speaking in impassioned tones about her vision for the upcoming album, and just about anything else we asked. She even spoke for the first time about her new retail relationship with Target.
Very few artists decide to build an entire aesthetic and musical campaign around the notion of evolution, and fewer have the courage and conviction to live with their vision offstage–to, in fact, make everywhere they go a stage to share that vision. Dennis DeYoung didn't walk the streets of 1983 as Mister Roboto, you know. But: That was then, and this is now.
-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.
Harkening back to the early '90s, when Madonna, En Vogue, Whitney Houston and TLC were making very empowering music for women and the gay community and all kind of disenfranchised communities, the lyrics and the melodies were very poignant and very gospel and very spiritual and I said, "That's the kind of record I need to make." That's the record that's going to shake up the industry. It's not about the track. It's not about the production. It's about the song [written by Stefani Germanotta and Jeppe Laursen; produced by Lady Gaga, Jeppe Laursen, Fernando Garibay and Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair]. Anyone could sing "Born This Way." It could've been anyone.
-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. It's not like "The Fame" and "The Fame Monster" address those communities–not directly. This is my chance to create something that is not only supportive of my political and social beliefs–not just for the gay community, but for everyone… 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.