We can exclusively reveal that Lady Gaga will release the music video for I'll Never Love Again on Apple Music tomorrow at 9 AM PDT. It will most likely be available on Gaga's Youtube channel shortly after.
Here's the worldwide timing for the music video release date & time.
Make sure to follow me and LadyGagaNow on twitter for more exclusive news.
Gaga's 7th Grammy Award may be on the way! The Recording Academy began their voting today and it's been revealed that Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from the A Star Is Born soundtrack has been submitted to four categories: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group and Best Song Written for Visual Media. The nominations are revealed on December 5th. If nominated, it will be Gaga's first time back in the Song and Record of the Year categories since 2009, first time in Best Song Written for Visual Media since Til It Happens To You's nomination in 2015 and the very first time for Pop Duo/Group.
However, the full A Star Is Born soundtrack and I'll Never Love Again will be submitted for the 2020 Grammy ceremony, and they'll be submitted alongside Shallow at the 2019 Oscar's this coming year!
Lady Gaga attended ELLE’s 25th annual Women in Hollywood event yesterday in Beverly Hills. She was one of many women honoured, along with fellow November Elle issue cover stars Shonda Rhimes, Sarah Paulson, Charlize Theron, Yara Shahidi, Angela Bassett, Keira Knightley, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, and Mia Farrow.
Gaga walked the carpet in a statement piece by Marc Jacobs accompanied with Giuseppe Zanotti heels. She ultimately decided to wear this over-sized men's suit to make a stand against what Hollywood expects women to appear as.
Mentioning in her speech below, she says:
"I tried on dress after dress today getting ready for this event, one tight corset after another, one heel after another, a diamond, a feather, thousands of beaded fabrics, and the most beautiful silks in the world. But to be honest, I felt sick to my stomach. And i asked myself, 'What does it mean to be a woman in Hollywood?' We are not just objects to entertain the world. We are not members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public. We, women in Hollywood, we are voices. We have deep thoughts and ideas and beliefs and values about the world and we have the power to speak and be heard and fight back when we are silenced."
Gaga made a long acceptance speech, opening up about mental health, her own sexual assault, and encouraged women to lift each other up using their voices. She also confirmed her engagement to Christian Carino following tons of speculation. Jennifer Lopez presented the award to Gaga.
After the dinner, Gaga and her fellow Women In Hollywood recipients made their way to the press carpet to take some photos with their new awards.
Great news! The soundtrack for the acclaimed 'A Star Is Born' movie by Bradley Cooper with Lady Gaga debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200 with 231,000 units in which 162,000 are pure sales!
It means that Lady Gaga now has FIVE #1 albums in this country with Born This Way, ARTPOP, Cheek To Cheek and Joanne!
She becomes the first female artist this decade to have FIVE consecutive #1 albums in the US!
Congratulations Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper!
Check out the official article about this week's Billboard 200 Top 10 here.
Great news! The soundtrack for the critically acclaimed movie 'A Star Is Born' by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga debuts at #1 on the Official UK Albums chart with 31,816 units.
It means that Lady Gaga now has FOUR #1 albums in the country with The Fame, Born This Way & ARTPOP!
Congratulations Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper!
I feel like I’m still a fetus,” says Lady Gaga, looking impeccably glamorous in a wide-belted black Alaïa dress, stabby heels, extravagant lashes, and dark brows, her platinum hair framing her face in soft waves. What she looks like (no doubt deliberately) is a midcentury Italian film star—Monica Vitti in some long-lost Antonioni picture, or a tiny, blond Sophia Loren. What she means is that she feels like she’s just getting started as an artist—that she’s only accomplished a fraction of what she still plans to do—but I have a hard time wrapping my head around this notion, considering the decade she’s just had.
Ten years ago, with the release of her first album, The Fame, Lady Gaga went from struggling burlesque performer and New York club kid to global pop phenomenon in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Since then, she’s put out five studio albums, one soundtrack album, and 18 singles; performed at the Super Bowl; and won six Grammys and a Golden Globe, among other things. She’s won fashion awards and collaborated with famous artists and sung duets with Tony Bennett. Two years ago, while filming a Netflix documentary about her life, Gaga: Five Foot Two, she landed the leading role in a major Hollywood movie. She would play the Janet Gaynor/Judy Garland/Barbra Streisand role in A Star Is Born, opposite Bradley Cooper. All of which is to say that if anyone inhabits a parallel universe where the bar for achievement is set so impossibly high that Lady Gaga ranks as artistically prenatal, it’s probably just Lady Gaga.
A few days after our meeting, A Star Is Born premieres at the Venice Film Festival. Lady Gaga is there in a Valentino gown adorned with billowy pink ostrich feathers. Halfway through the screening, a fluke lightning accident momentarily interrupts the film, which nonetheless goes on to get an eight-minute standing ovation and mostly rapturous reviews. In 2016, while accepting the Golden Globe award for her role in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Hotel, Lady Gaga said that she’d wanted to be an actress before she wanted to be a singer, but that music had worked out first. Now that acting has worked out as well, it’s unclear what more she could do. Mars colony, maybe. Flying cars. Universal health care.
“The character of Ally is informed by my life experience. But I also wanted to make sure that she was not me. It was a cadence of both.”
Lady Gaga has a commanding presence. She sits like an Olympic gymnast nailing a landing. Chatting with her in the kitchen of her otherworldly, six-acre Mediterranean-style estate, which features an eight-horse stable, a dressage rink, a bowling alley, a saltwater pool, and a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, I have the feeling that I may have temporarily crossed over into this other, extra dimension. The woman comes across as a sweetheart, but the artist is a machine. In person, she’s warm but guarded, friendly but cautious, passionate but preternaturally poised. Her house is cozy and filled with people—assistants; her manager; her mom, Cynthia, visiting from New York. (“Don’t we look alike?” Lady Gaga asks after introducing me. They really do.) The house is more traditional than you’d expect, more befitting a Stefani Germanotta (her given name) made insanely good than the pop performance artist who once wore a dress made out of meat to the MTV Video Music Awards. I mean, the French provincial sofas are draped in quilts. The fireplace is flanked by a big TV and an old Italian movie poster of A Star Is Born starring Judy Garland, a gift from Gaga’s boyfriend, CAA agent Christian Carino. It’s all slightly disorienting. We could be in a Nancy Meyers movie. Or a Star Trek episode.
A decade into her career, Lady Gaga is being born again, as a movie star, and she truly is a revelation. This might just be the most remarkable thing about A Star Is Born—that, beyond the fact that she’s unrecognizable, she feels new. Among the most notable things about her character, Ally, is how stripped down she looks, how vulnerable. Gaga has shown glimpses of this before. We’ve seen it in her hilarious Saturday Night Live sketches, her album Joanne, and her documentary, in which she appears in sweatpants.
“The character of Ally is informed by my life experience,” Lady Gaga says. “But I also wanted to make sure that she was not me. It was a cadence of both.” Ally is talented but insecure. She writes but won’t perform her own songs. She’s been dissuaded from pursuing her dreams by an industry that doesn’t believe in her, that tells her she looks wrong for the part. She reluctantly allows Jackson Maine (played by Cooper) to draw her into his world, to involve her in his music, until she meets the manager who begins her transformation into a commercial pop star.
Metallic pleated dress, Givenchy, $9,490.Stainless steel watch, Tudor, $2,200 .Leather pumps, Manolo Blahnik, $695. Hair by Frederic Aspiras for Amika Haircare; makeup by Sarah Tanno for Marc Jacobs Beauty; manicure by Miho Okawara for Miho Nails; produced by Gabe Hill at GE Projects
For all Lady Gaga’s talents as a singer, songwriter, and actress, it’s her metatalent for fame—a condition she single-mindedly pursued, investigated, interrogated, and named an album, an EP, and a fragrance after—that catapulted her into global stardom. It’s on this theme, one on which the movie largely hinges, where Gaga and her fictional counterpart, Ally, diverge the most: Once Gaga made the decision to become a performer, she didn’t let anything stop her. Early in her career, she understood that Stefani Germanotta, the classically trained Catholic schoolgirl, was talented enough to be successful, but that only Lady Gaga could erupt on the global scene, fully formed.
Ally’s character, by contrast, is like a window into a Sliding Doors–like look at how things might have gone. “When I watched the film for the first time,” Gaga says, “I said, Oh my gosh, I thought she was really sad at the end of the movie, but I didn’t realize how sad she really was at the beginning. She’s really kind of a depressed girl. She works as a catering girl. She has her friend Ramon, who is very important to her. She takes care of her dad at home and takes care of all the drivers who come and have breakfast in the morning. But she’s truly given up on herself as a musician."
This latest version of A Star Is Born is the fourth iteration of the classic melodrama about the effects of fame and addiction on a relationship. Cooper’s Jackson Maine is an alcoholic rock superstar on the wane who falls in love with a singer-songwriter he happens to meet at a drag club, where he’s stopped for a drink after a concert because he can’t face going home.
“He said to me, ‘There can be a hundred people in the room, and 99 of them won't believe in you, but all you need is one.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper first met years ago on the set of Saturday Night Live, but it wasn’t until she performed at Sean Parker’s 2016 cancer benefit that they connected. Lady Gaga’s reps had alerted her that the actor would be in attendance, and that he planned to direct A Star Is Born and was looking to cast the female lead. Lady Gaga knew she wanted it. She sang “La Vie en Rose,” which ended up in the movie as the first song Jackson watches Ally perform—the song that makes him fall in love with her. “I was completely blown away,” Cooper says of that night. “I called her agent and said, ‘Can I meet with her?’ And then, the next day, she said yes, and I drove up to her house, and then that was it.” Gaga says the connection was instantaneous. “Before I knew it, I was making him pasta, feeding him, and we were talking and laughing. Then he wanted to hear us sing together, and asked if I would sing a song called ‘Midnight Special’ with him. I printed out the sheet music, and I brought it out to the piano, and I was so nervous. And so I’m sight-reading the music at the piano, and we start to sing, and I hear Bradley’s voice, and I just stopped playing, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, Bradley, you can sing.’ It’s incredible,” she says.
Once she was cast, Cooper and screenwriters Eric Roth and Will Fetters worked on the script while Gaga worked on the soundtrack. “I wrote it for her, to play it. I asked her so many questions, and wanted to mine so much of the things that she told me. That completely formed the creation of Ally,” Cooper says. “We really were very vulnerable [together]. I had a lot of belief in her magic. It’s one thing to have a sense of it, and then watch it, before your eyes, every day, shooting.”
In order to portray an unknown singer, Gaga drew from her insecurity as an actress. “I will never forget the first scene we did together in this Mexican restaurant. Bradley got some tacos and brought them to the table. Then he said something to me, but it wasn’t what was in the script, and I didn’t know what to do, so I just said my line. Then he said something else, and I didn’t know what to do because I thought I was just supposed to be saying what was on the page. So I just said another line—the next line. Seeing that I wasn’t going off-script, he said, ‘Are you okay?,’ and I just started to cry.” Through this, she learned to focus more on the story than the lines. So when it came to the concert scenes, where their experience was reversed, she tried the same technique. “When we sang ‘Shallow’ together at the concert, after he runs over and starts to pull me on the stage, I didn’t think, ‘I haven’t made it yet as a singer.’ All I had to do was go, ‘I haven’t made it yet as an actress.’ ”
Heather Perry: The thing that I was most impressed with was that she’s a very strong businesswoman. In anything she does, you’re like, She’s such a boss.
When Gaga was 14, she was shopping at a boutique on the West Side—singing, as one does—and a sales guy approached her and offered to give her the phone number of his uncle, a vocal coach. Don Lawrence, whom she calls the aortic valve to her career, made time in his schedule to work with her. “Later, I remember we were talking one day—we used to talk a little bit during our lessons, because we liked each other so much—and I said, ‘I just don’t know how I’m gonna make it,’ ” she says. “I was taking meetings with entertainment attorneys and knocking on people’s doors, trying to get them to listen to demos that I made on a four-track Tascam cassette player, and he said to me, ‘There can be a hundred people in the room, and 99 of them won’t believe in you, but all you need is one.’ ”
After high school, Gaga enrolled in Collaborative Arts Project 21 through NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts but dropped out after a year—“when I decided to really say, ‘Sorry, Mom and Dad,’ and be a starving artist on the Lower East Side,” she says. She worked three jobs, including one as a go-go dancer. She used to call clubs and pretend to be her own manager. She would haul her piano from gig to gig. Once, while performing at a jazz bar where a crowd of frat boys wouldn’t be quiet, she stripped down to her underwear to get their attention. The moment was a turning point—it made her understand something about commanding attention. “I already knew that she was this authentic, open, raw, real artist who could sing and write songs and be this quadruple threat,” says Heather Parry, who produced the Netflix documentary and executive-produced the film. “But the thing that I was most impressed with was that she’s a very strong businesswoman. In anything she does, you’re like, She’s such a boss.”
A Star Is Born, of course, is an evergreen, regenerative parable on the price of fame—which may be a bit of a chestnut, but it works. The best stories about the human experience are the ones in which ordinary people are made to withstand extraordinary forces—alcoholism, physical and emotional trauma, global stardom, the merciless machinery of capitalism. Lady Gaga is an artist. She feels things profoundly. She’s grappled with the inherited trauma of the death of her father’s sister at 19; with the emotional trauma of having been bullied in school and later sexually assaulted; with the physical trauma of a hip injury and surgery that left her with chronic generalized pain. But pain is the ballast against which sublimity takes shape.
I can’t make music or act without using and accessing the pain that I have in my heart. I mean, what better place to put it?
In one of the most moving scenes of her documentary, Gaga is getting ready to perform at the Super Bowl, but she’s feeling melancholic. “I’m so excited to do it,” she says, “but I can’t help but realize that when I sold 10 million records, I lost Matt [Williams, her ex-boyfriend and ex-stylist]. I sold 30 million and lost Luc [Carl, her ex-boyfriend]. I did a movie and lose Taylor [Kinney, her ex-fiancé]. It’s like a turnover,” she says. “This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this.”
At the start of A Star Is Born, it’s a scene about Jackson, not Ally, that gets at the heart of the experience. “For me, in music and in acting, I’m always pulling from my past experiences, family dynamics, relationships, pain, happiness, joy, the roller coaster ride of my life—how that has kind of created this beautiful disco ball that’s somehow refracted and fractured,” she says. “The opening moment, where you see him pop some pills, down some booze, hop onstage, and just electrify the audience until the last bass note hits, and the limousine door shuts as the cameras are flashing, and it goes to total silence—this is how I feel as a performer. That’s what it feels like when you go onstage, and there are 20,000 people screaming, and you’re singing, and dancing, and performing, and then the show is over, and there is no sound. It’s emotional.”
“Success tests relationships,” she continues. “It tests families. It tests your dynamic with your friends. There is a price to stardom.” But, she adds, “I can’t make music or act without using and accessing the pain that I have in my heart. I mean, what better place to put it? Otherwise, it’s of no good use.
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of ELLE.
Lady Gaga joined the director general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday, penning an emotional essay for The Guardian. They wrote about the lack of reliable mental health support services around the globe & the need to eliminate the stigma around treatable conditions.
It starts with a jarring but unfortunately true fact stating that "By the time you finish reading this, at least 6 people will have killed themselves around the world."
Read an excerpt below.
"The time has come for us all, collectively, to tackle the causes and symptoms of mental illness, and provide care for those who suffer from it. You don’t have to be an international artist or the head of the World Heath Organization (WHO) to make an impact.
We can all help to build communities that understand, respect and prioritize mental wellness. We can all learn how to offer support to loved ones going through a difficult time. And we can all be a part of a new movement – including people who have faced mental illness themselves – to call on governments and industry to put mental health at the top of their agendas.
In Zimbabwe, grandmothers are leading the way by offering evidence-based counseling sessions on benches, which is helping break down stigma. In the United Kingdom and Australia, peer-to-peer education programs encourage young people to support one another. And mobile technology is providing exciting new platforms for delivering services and opening up healthy dialogue.
Since 2013, the WHO has been working with countries to implement a global action plan on mental health. Earlier this year the WHO published the Global Mental Health Atlas, which provides information from 177 countries on progress towards achieving the plan’s targets. The key takeaway is that although there has been some progress, we need significant investments to expand services."
You can read the full length essay here.
Lady Gaga appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote her new movie A Star is Born. Gaga sat down with Stephen to discuss the film soundtrack, Bradley's Cooper support and her thoughts on the debate Dr. Ford - Kavanaugh.
You can also find some candids of Lady Gaga's arrival at the studios on our gallery.
This article contains A Star is Born spoilers
LADY GAGA WANTS TO WEAR EVERY COSTUME, LIVE OUT EVERY TYPE OF KNOWN STARDOM. ‘‘A STAR IS BORN’’ IS JUST HER LATEST REINVENTION.
OCT. 2, 2018
Lady Gaga did not so much arrive at the Venice Film Festival this August as she floated into it, a platinum Aphrodite borne on the waves, black stilettos skimming the sea foam. Which is to say, she took a water taxi.
An image of her zooming across the canal — perched precariously on the side of the lacquered motorboat in a little black dress, her legs elegantly entwined, her hair shaped into three victory rolls like a crown of croissants, holding a single red rose in one hand and blowing kisses with the other — immediately became a meme. Of course she couldn’t just walk up to the premiere of “A Star Is Born,” the first feature film in which she has a leading role, playing the titular supernova. Walking is for rubes. Sailing, on the other hand, is timeless. It is an activity for sirens, of both the mythological and screen persuasions. It is also joyfully, unapologetically hammy: high camp on the high seas, a playful pastiche of all the celebrity cruisers who came before. In mere hours, several internet sleuths began to post pictures of Gaga on the boat along with photos of classic Hollywood stars, including Marilyn Monroe in a one-piece black bathing suit. The next day, Gaga and Bradley Cooper, her director and co-star, arrived hand in hand to a screening; she was wearing a swingy white dress, the kind made for walking over subway grates. The wink was complete.
We could have seen this coming. Lady Gaga is our pop laureate of the grand entrance, our patron saint of operatic ingress. She has never, in a decade of global fame, been content to simply appear in a room; she has to plummet into it, shimmying down a cable like a diamond-encrusted spider. Or she hobbles in, a fembot on fake crutches, a high-fashion Tiny Tim. Before performing at the 2011 Grammys, she claimed to have slept in an oversize translucent egg for 72 hours, so that when she finally emerged, she could feel that she had experienced total “creative, embryonic incubation.” For the first decade of her career, she was often at least seminude when descending every staircase. In her younger, more tenderized years, she trotted into the MTV Video Music Awards in a now-infamous gown and snow boots made of raw beef, not just a sight gag but a full-on olfactory happening, abattoir fabulous. Gaga once described herself as “a show with no intermission,” but it might be more accurate to view her career as a glorious series of overtures; her curtain is always rising. This is why her water ride in Venice elicited such collective delight in the form of vigorous retweeting. She may now be a serious actress, but she hasn’t lost her sense of play.
When I met Lady Gaga on a hazy afternoon a few days after her Venice tour, at her house so high up in the Hollywood Hills that I broke through the fog line before I reached it, she was still in full Marilyn mode. Her duckling-blond hair was molded into a halo around her face. Her lips were matte red, slightly overdrawn, an enthusiastic valentine. She was wearing the same towering patent-leather stilettos from the boat and a brown tiger-print wiggle dress, a midcentury silhouette favored by celluloid bombshells that vacuum-seals the calves into place. Her earrings, obsidian chandelier dangles heavy as hood ornaments, cast prismatic shadows on her clavicle and seemed to threaten the general integrity of her otherwise regal posture.
Having seen “A Star Is Born” the day before, in which Gaga gives a notably stripped down, unbleached performance, I was slightly jarred as I watched her shuffle through her house (which also happened to have been the house of the avant-garde rocker Frank Zappa before she bought it from his family trust in 2016) in a full face and spike heels. In the film, her character, Ally, starts off makeup-free, a frustrated waitress with mud-puddle hair (Gaga’s natural hue) who long ago abandoned her songwriting dreams and has settled for crooning live covers one night a week at a drag bar, the only woman on the bill. One night, Bradley Cooper, as the shambling, alcoholic rock star Jackson Maine, stumbles into the bar looking for a nightcap and instead discovers a muse — he is bewitched by her performance of “La Vie en Rose” in an Edith Piaf costume complete with thin eyebrows fashioned from electrical tape.
Later that night, Jackson asks Ally why she doesn’t pursue a music career. She tells him that she tried, she really did. She just couldn’t find any industry types who could get past her face. They loved the way she sounded, hated the way she looked. Hearing this, Jackson reaches out with a single finger and traces the contours of her nose. While this is on its own an erotic gesture, it is Ally’s reaction that makes the scene: She just breathes as he gently outlines the organ she feels worst about. It’s an arresting moment, in which she seems both receptive and completely assured.
Now, as we toured her house, Gaga was as opaque as Ally is transparent. She spoke carefully, in a breathy tone, as if she were in an active séance with an old movie star whose press agent advised her to remain enigmatic and demure. She showed me a bizarre bathroom, where she had found a bed over the shower; she gestured delicately at her backyard, announcing: “Some beautiful lemon trees. It’s a nice place to come and just create.” When we got into the studio, she tiptoed through the cavernous live room, pointing out a grand piano in a voice so quiet I could barely hear her. We made our way to a small alcove with whitewashed walls and 20-foot ceilings, which looked like the storage room of an art museum — an echo chamber, she explained. I asked about the acoustics, in part because it seemed the polite thing to do, but in part because I was trying to open any conversational tap I could find. Whether she was feeling legitimately shy or was simply method-acting as a restrained ingénue, she had yet to speak at full volume.
Suddenly, she broke into song. A cappella, unprompted, voce forte, her arms flung out to full wingspan, her head tossed back to bare her throat. She was singing the chorus of “Shallow,” the song she co-wrote for “A Star Is Born” that has become the de facto theme song for the movie. It is sung at the cathartic apex of the trailer (which has been viewed almost 10 million times on YouTube) — the moment when Ally reluctantly steps onto an arena stage for the first time to sing with Jackson. Gaga plays this moment with incredible restraint; it’s hard to imagine her not wanting to storm a stage, but she really sells it. Ally has been down for so long that she hesitates, not fully believing that this is her shot. But then something shifts. She straightens her shoulders, struts out to the microphone and sends her voice soaring over the crowd.
In the echo chamber, the words of the song ricocheted, shaking the room: “I’m off the deep end! Watch as I dive in! I’ll never meet the ground!” When Gaga sings, her whole body vibrates. She clenches her fists, squeezes her eyes shut.
After she finished belting, Gaga looked beatific, almost giddy, having answered my banal question with undeniable certainty. The acoustics in here, we agreed, were very good.
She may now be a serious actress, but she hasn’t lost her sense of play.
The title of “A Star Is Born” is misleading and always has been. It implies spontaneous generation, Athena popping fully formed out of Zeus’ forehead. In reality, it is a story about hard work, about the grueling machinations behind celebrity. In each version of the film, fame can destroy (by enabling addiction or worsening self-destructive behaviors), but it can also be a sacred rite; it anoints the truly worthy with laurels and fragrant oils, no matter how aquiline her nose. The narrative takes a nobody and brings her together with a fading legend. He falls in love with her and her artistic potential, and thrusts her straight into the crucible of mass popularity. It is a love story as unshakably perennial as “Romeo and Juliet,” except slightly less crushing, because only the man is doomed and the leading lady gets to walk away from her tragedy triumphant, her suffering noble, her name in neon lights.
“A Star Is Born” has never really been a film about an unknown actress shooting across the screen like a rare comet. Instead, from the very beginning, it has always been a film about an already superfamous woman shooting a movie. That’s the real reason the franchise works: It comes with a built-in insurance policy. In 1937, when Janet Gaynor stepped into the role of the farm girl Esther Blodgett in the first version (which was itself a remix of a 1932 drama called “What Price Hollywood?”), she was making a comeback, but she had been a box-office titan of the silent era, the first woman to ever win an Academy Award for acting. Judy Garland, who tackled Esther in 1954 (a studio executive quickly changes her name to Vicki Lester in the film), was a household name at 17, no longer a vaudevillian striver but a minted studio girl, kept on a steady infusion of amphetamines and barbiturates and praise. In 1976, Barbra Streisand, whose character’s name was Esther Hoffman (we have to believe she goes from mieskeit to swan), was already an Oscar winner for playing Fanny Brice, and fresh off another nomination, for “The Way We Were.” These actresses were all at least a decade into their careers, and they used the material less as a coming-out party and more as a victory lap. Of course the Esthers would succeed; their real-life counterparts had already pushed through every obstacle.
This is why the lead role is so alluring to divas who want to explore the boundaries of their fame and what they had to endure to lasso it. These actresses, in drag as younger versions of themselves, get to wrestle with their flaws and air out their darkest fears. But we don’t fear for them, not really, because we know how the story turns out. Garland, who always felt so intimidated by the leggy army of MGM blondes that she spent her life making self-deprecating jokes, fashioned herself into the world’s most beloved brunette. Streisand, whose line “Hello, gorgeous” was soaking in wry irony, turned a prominent bridge into a locus of desire.
Gaga’s innate New York City toughness brings a different flavor to the role than her predecessors. Where Janet Gaynor plays the starlet as pure and cornfed, Garland plays her as a plucky troubadour in pert ribbon bow ties and Streisand plays her as a wisecracking prima donna in colorful ponchos (hey, it was the ’70s), Gaga’s Ally is more world-weary and knowing. She is the kind of woman who gets into fistfights, who alternately sasses and fusses over her father (Andrew Dice Clay), a chauffeur who once had showbiz aspirations himself but never had a lucky break. When Cooper offered Gaga the role, he told her that “this is what it would be like if you were 31 and had never made it,” and she readily embodies the ferocious hunger of the would-be famous. She’s no innocent when she walks onstage to sing. She knows exactly what to do, and exactly what this will mean for her career. She’s ready to go.
Ally’s journey is not about a singer developing her talent — that’s already there. It is about finding her way toward an aesthetic once she has the world’s attention. She dyes her hair Tang orange, begins working with a choreographer and sings springy pop songs about butts, all of which she does without wavering, even when Jackson drunkenly criticizes her for being inauthentic. Some viewers may read a rock-versus-pop hierarchy into Ally’s transformations — that she is more “real” when she is harmonizing with Jackson’s twangy melodies or sitting at her piano — but Gaga’s onscreen mastery over both genres is a pre-emptive rebuttal to what is essentially a gendered bias. What “A Star Is Born” makes clear about Lady Gaga is that she possesses the dexterity to make whatever kind of music she likes.
Cooper told me that he cast Gaga after seeing her perform “La Vie en Rose” at a cancer benefit. The very next day, he drove to her Malibu home to test their chemistry. They bonded right away about their families (both East Coast, both Italian) and ate spaghetti on her porch. “She was completely illuminated by the sun,” he said. “So charismatic. I thought inside my head, Oh, gosh. If she is like this on film, if that’s the worst case scenario that she’s this present on film, the movie will work.”
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Lady Gaga, the international superstar, was born. Past a certain level of fame, the origin stories of pop artists begin to tilt into the mythological. “I have a nerve inside of me to do this,” Gaga said, sitting on a swivel chair in her basement studio, when I asked what drives her. She kept her legs crossed at the ankles and her spine rod-straight, with her shell-pink nails gingerly intertwined in her lap, as if she were practicing to meet Queen Elizabeth (side note: When Gaga did meet the queen, after performing in the Royal Variety Show in 2009, she curtsied while wearing a floor-length, puff-sleeved dress made entirely of slick red latex). “And I have no idea where it comes from, except that it might come from God. No one knows.”
What she does know is that at some point, she felt free: to drop her birth name (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), to turn herself into an event, to keep shedding old skins.
Lady Gaga’s early career was a study in this invitational freedom: Look how free I am, look how free you could be. This is what she was selling, at 21, with her platinum oversize hairbows and gigantic sunglasses and skyscraper shoulder pads. This is the realization that led her, after growing up on the Upper West Side, attending a private Catholic girls’ school and studying piano minuets, to move downtown in 2004, first to study theater arts at N.Y.U. (she dropped out during sophomore year) and then to sing in grungy bars on the Lower East Side while she sent her demos to record labels. She read Andy Warhol’s books and realized that what most people want, when they dream of fame, is not necessarily wealth or power but limitlessness: the ability to change. So many artists start out gritty and homegrown but calcify into hardened personae over time; when Lady Gaga adopted her new name (sometime around 2006, most likely from a Queen song), she decided to flip the formula. What if she began with the character, and the character was the physical embodiment of flux? What if she never wore the same outfit twice, or gave an interview out of costume, or claimed to be a paragon of creative authenticity?
Gaga’s debut album, “The Fame” (quickly reissued with extra songs as “The Fame Monster”), came out in August 2008, a season of optimism and political overhaul, when young people were ready to accept jangly pop hooks from a chimerical sprite who told them they could continually redefine themselves. Her first recordings may not have been too deep — “Poker Face,” still her second-biggest single to date, after “Just Dance,” is an ode to mirrored surfaces, to remaining willfully inscrutable — but they were catchy (she changed the way an entire generation hears the phrase “ooh la la”), and their agile lightness was intentional. Much of her early music was thumping and linear: big synths, big hooks, the beats clinking together like a wristful of silver bangles. The music was a tool for propagating her radiant image, which was continually surprising to behold.
She insists the performance is the reality.
When Gaga first emerged onto the pop scene, she was a phenomenon — a kooky amalgam of New York club-kid toughness, art-school experimentation, record-label grooming, classical vocal training and bona fide radio hits. She clearly took her cues from previous incarnations of major pop stardom (David Bowie’s amphibious glam, Madonna’s blond ambition, Michael Jackson’s dual love of sparkles and precision), but she was even more focused than her predecessors on the live event, on the coup de théâtre. She started pushing boundaries and stopped wearing pants; she became a walking billboard for avant-garde fashion (Alexander McQueen’s ankle-bending hoof heels, a jacket covered in felt Kermit the Frogs, several gowns made of human hair, that meat dress), a fact that served to make every other artist at the time who wasn’t rolling around onstage in a pool of fake blood seem, frankly, dull.
Gaga’s initial obsession with masquerade predicted the double lives we all live now, our simultaneous existences as living, breathing people and disembodied avatars. But instead of seeing those identities as segmented — the real person, the facade — she put forth the concept that it’s possible, and ultimately adaptive, in a fractured world to try to free yourself from old boundaries. You can be an insider and an outsider at the same time, a human and an alien. All that is solid melts into Gaga. If this seems paradoxical, it is; but the paradox is where Gaga shines. Postmodern double truths are her milieu.
She started calling herself a monster, not just to embrace a kind of outré bizarreness that had mainly been the province of male pop icons like Bowie or Prince, but also because she was monstrous, a pop creation that devoured the zeitgeist and then gleefully regurgitated it. She mock-hanged herself with a noose onstage, she dreamed up a hat filled with live cockroaches, she sucked on a rosary in the “Alejandro” video, she hired a “vomit artist” to spew lime-green milk on her outfit at South by Southwest, she delivered an awards-show speech as her male alter-ego, Jo Calderone. Her whole project was a Technicolor dream ballet, a gauzy hallucination. And it sold records (over 27 million, worldwide) and won awards (six Grammys).
“I do keep transforming into a new shell of me,” she told me. “So sure, there is an acting component to what I do, or a showbiz component to what I do. But the word ‘acting,’ it’s hard for me to talk about in that way, because ‘acting’ to me almost implies faking it.” She insisted to me that all her iterations form an unbroken line, that the performance is the reality.
Gaga has, over the last decade, arguably moved the entire pop apparatus toward forceful weirdness. Her influence is everywhere — she opened the doors for more female hitmakers to be cheekily bizarre (Miley Cyrus grinding on a wrecking ball, Katy Perry with her sniper-rifle bra filled with whipped cream, Sia living under her wig, even St. Vincent’s indie Fritz Lang affect) — but as a result, Gaga’s early maximalism began to feel less vital to the cultural conversation. In 2011, Adele’s “21” cemented a new austerity in pop; all she had to do to sell 11 million records was stand in one place and sing plaintively about heartbreak.
So Gaga swerved again, and again, and again. She made a jazz record with Tony Bennett. She made a crunchier, heavy-metallish album called “Artpop” that mostly failed to connect with the public, at least on the large Gagagian scale she was used to (it sold fewer than a million copies). When she turned 30, she released a more minimalist fifth record called “Joanne,” after an aunt who died young of complications from lupus. She promoted the album in ripped T-shirts and a plain, pink felt hat. She toured dive bars before the arenas. She also released the Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” a vérité glimpse into her daily life as she prepped for the 2017 Super Bowl, produced and promoted “Joanne” and spoke openly about the debilitating pain caused by her fibromyalgia (something she had been dealing with privately for years). The documentary presents Gaga with a striking lack of vanity. She appears on camera with dirty hair and a bare face. This is Gaga the Vulnerable, Gaga the Sensitive Soul.
That film ends with her performance at the Super Bowl, where she sang all the karaoke staples of her back catalog — “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” even “Just Dance” — with gusto in a sequined bodysuit, thrusting through the jangly disco beats of “Born This Way” in high-heel boots, surrounded by an army of dancers in iridescent capes. It was a blistering set, a Greatest Hits Cardio Workout and a truly impressive display of her cultural dominance. But it also felt elegiac, as if it belonged to a different era, when Gaga was giving stump speeches about overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the song became an anthem of the fight for gay marriage on a national scale. In recent years, queer culture has become more anti-institutional, less about normalizing and more about resisting norms. In a way, Gaga’s galactic fame, which once gave her such a huge platform as an advocate for equality, became a liability when the conversation became more intimate and nuanced. Pop is not entirely post-spectacle (Beyoncé’s recent Coachella performance was a multiact extravaganza), but it is evolving into a less bombastic space. It is getting more raw, smaller. And Gaga is doing the same.
She has not given up on the power of an audacious live show (this winter, she will put on a pyrotechnic Las Vegas residency called “Enigma”), but in making “A Star Is Born,” she is entering into a softer conversation with the public — about talent, about ambition, about her own trajectory. Ally is the most human of all of Gaga’s creations, and offering her to us — her fear, her loyalty, her shattered heart after tragedy — is a different kind of gamble than stepping out in front of millions dressed like a holographic Muppet. She is, in essence, making exploratory autofiction on a grand scale, even as she is playing yet another character.
Lady Gaga bought Frank Zappa’s eccentric woodland estate not as a place to live while in Los Angeles — she already has a Mediterranean-style villa on an isolated, craggy cliffside in Malibu for that — but as a work retreat, the new nerve center of her countless creative pursuits. She wants to paint here, write music here (she told me that currently she is feverishly writing songs on a white piano upstairs; literally on the surface of the piano, with a black Sharpie) and plan her Vegas spectacular from here with her production team, like a war council plotting some dazzling siege. In her recording studio, after her “Shallows” serenade, Gaga played me five tracks from the coming film soundtrack. As the music blasted, she began to loosen up — this was her turf, her major contribution to the film. She lip-synced to her own songs from her swivel chair, looking straight into my eyes and drawing me insistently into her joy.
The studio is her sanctuary, and one of the main reasons she felt she had to have the property. She is also working to preserve as many of the home’s oddities as possible: the vintage submarine doors with thick portholes, a giant dragon mural, the library floor painted to look like a lily pond. She told me she loves the house’s “intricate chaos.”
Gaga is an auction shopper — she likes to acquire iconic objects, created by iconic personalities — and as I toured Zappa’s house it occurred to me that we were standing in a giant collector’s item of sorts, an 8,000-square-foot twig in the magpie’s nest of pop cultural artifacts that she has been building for a decade. In 2012, she purchased 55 items from Michael Jackson’s private archive, including his leather “Bad” jacket and a crystal glove. That same year, she bought an eggshell silk Alexander McQueen gown from the collection of the British fashion maven Daphne Guinness. In 2016, for her Dive Bar Tour in support of “Joanne,” Gaga rolled up to a show in Elvis’s pink 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood (she was just borrowing it).
Perhaps this collector’s impulse is what she absorbed from her early study of Warhol. Gaga is an artist of accrual, of remixing and reimagination, of pulling her heroes into her gravitational orbit. She once told an interviewer that her “whole career is a tribute to David Bowie,” but her career is really a tribute to all the different ways a person can be monstrously famous: She wants to wear every costume, live out every type of stardom to its maximalist extreme.
If she was going to be a movie star, she couldn’t just step into a role, or a film, that no one had ever heard of — she wanted to waltz into a lineage. When she was younger, she told me, she used to watch “The Wizard of Oz,” over and over, convinced that Judy Garland was the greatest entertainer alive. “Judy, I just think she’s tremendous,” she told me. “There’s a vulnerability behind her eyes, the way she speaks, she has big features. I just always wanted to be like her. It’s as simple as that.” And now she is standing on the very same stage.
Earlier in the afternoon, she showed me a room that was empty save for a gigantic photograph of her own face, at least 15 feet across, in a gilded frame. “It was a gift from Bradley,” she said. “It’s the last frame of the movie. Do you know the scene?”
I did know it. It is the moment when Ally is standing on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium — where Garland shot her final scene — in an ice blue evening gown, singing a homage to her late husband. She starts out timid and drained of expression, explaining to the audience that she is going to sing the last song that Jackson wrote for her, and that maybe with their support, she can get through it. But as the ballad goes on, her voice swells and becomes an avalanche. It’s a bravura performance in extreme close-up, a sort of symphonic summoning of every woman who has played the part. Gaga channels both the way Garland sang (wounded, tonally bright, barely holding it together) and the way Streisand did (forceful, sweeping, with a diffident jutting of the jaw). But Gaga adds something of her own: a sensual, earthy confidence, like gasoline in her veins.
When she finishes, a single elephant tear rolls down her face. Magically, the moment somehow avoids bathos — the tear feels truly earned. After watching her perform this scene, I felt elated by what Gaga managed to do, not just for her character but for herself. You desperately want to know what her future holds after the curtain falls.
I asked Gaga later what we can expect from her next phase. Of course, there’s Vegas and a new record on the way, and she’s reading piles of scripts. But she really didn’t want to discuss any of that. Instead, she just smiled enigmatically. “Oh,” she sighed. “I’m just shape-shifting again.”
This article originally appeared here.
Lady Gaga joined her fellow co-star Bradley Cooper on The Graham Norton Show. The magic duo sat next to Oscar winning Ryan Gosling and Doctor-Who Jodie Whittaker to answered funny questions, play strange instruments and talk about their upcoming movie A Star is Born. You can watch the full episode below.
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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's single Shallow from the A Star Is Born soundtrack is officially out now!
The track premiered today as Zane Lowe's 'World Record' on Beats 1 radio.
The music video for the track also dropped today. Watch it below!
The full soundtrack and film will be released next Friday.
Buy "Shallow" on iTunes here.
Stream "Shallow" on Spotify/Apple Music here
Lady Gaga finally returned to Ellen after five years since her last appearance. She discussed about her upcoming movie with Bradley Cooper 'A Star is Born' and played some funny games. You can watch the episode below.
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