Lady Gaga revealed the title and cover of her new album Joanne during a Beats 1 Radio interview Thursday (Sep. 15). With the announcement of the album title comes questions of who Joanne is and how she is significant to Gaga.
While Joanne is one of Gaga’s middle names (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) it is also the name of her late aunt and one of her biggest influences.
Although Gaga was born almost 12 years after Joanne’s death, her influence has been a running theme in Gaga’s career. She has made many references to her late aunt from including one of Joanne’s unpublished poems in her first album, a tattoo and having involvement in the restaurant that her parents own.
Joanne Stefani Germanotta was born on March 12, 1955, and died from lupus December 18, 1974. Gaga has stated that her aunt was a poet and a painter. Since she never had the chance of being published while she was alive, Gaga included one of her aunt's poems entitled “For a Moment” in the booklet of her 2008 debut, The Fame.
"Yesterday, I took a walk in the rain/ The cool refreshing droplets splashed on my cheeks./ I walked, And walked, And walked,/ Not knowing where I was going./ The trees swayed as a chilly spring/ Gently caressed their branches./ A cute white rabbit scampered/ Across a wide open field./ He stopped in front of me in a/ Patch of emerald./ He had a quizzical look on his furry little face./ He wiggled his ears,/ Crinkled his nose,/ And scratched his whiskers like/ An old man./ I started to laugh./ He ran off into the distance/ Looking like a pearl in a patch of seaweed./ The cool refreshing droplets splashed/ On my cheeks./ I walked,/ And walked, And walked,/ Not knowing where I was going./ I saw a family of ducks on a lake,/ I stopped to look,/ Mama Duck first,/ And all the little ducklings gliding/ Behind her in a single file./ They were dancing to the music/ of the rain tapping on water./ And then I was my reflection on/ the mirror-like surface of the lake/ And for a moment.../ I was the only living creature around./ The cool refreshing droplets splashed/ On my cheeks. I turned,/ And walked, And walked,/ Knowing where I was going."
In the thank you section of the same album, Gaga wrote "A poem for Joanne."
"For all the words you could not say/ I promise they’ll be mine,/ The one you meant to marry J/ I promise I will find/ And when your brother calls for me/ I promise I will come,/ Cause when I feel that I may break/ You heart, it makes mine strong"
Gaga cites her aunt for helping her kick a dangerous drug addiction toward the beginning of her career. In a 2011 interview said that she felt that she had to "finish (Joanne’s) business" in being an artist. Gaga dedicated her Fame Ball Tour to her. Her creative team, Haus of Gaga, also nicknamed the tour Joanne in homage to her.
The pop star also has the date of Joanne's passing tattooed on her left bicep in between lines of a verse from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. One of the most recent dedications to her aunt was when Gaga's parents Joe and Cynthia Germanotta also opened an Italian restaurant called Joanne's Trattoria in February 2012.
With the release of Joanne in the horizon one can only expect more references to her aunt. "I never met her, but she’s been one of the most important figures in my life," said Gaga in 2011.
Joanne is set to be released on Oct. 21.