Lady Gaga Says Being a Pop Star Requires Her to Be ‘Emotionally Thin’
Lady Gaga submitted to a friendly "interrogation" at the hands of AOL Music, which refused to lob softballs at her, asking the smart pop star some thought out questions that generated Gaga's artfully constructed answers. AOL asked Gaga what she's learned about herself through the rigorous promotional schedule for 'Born This Way,' which has taken her across the globe and back, often requiring her to almost be in two places at once. Gaga said that she has learned to be "emotionally thin," which is her way of saying "vulnerable."
She was also asked which of her songs is her favorite and her opinion on the state of pop music; but some of the most revelatory statements came from Gaga's assessment of her fame. It's clear that she doesn't need hard drugs; fame is her substance of choice.
"I learned that to be a great artist, you must be emotionally very thin," the Mother Monster said about the biggest lesson she's learned while promoting her album. She expanded on what it means to be emotionally thin: "Your tears and your anger and your happiness must be just under the surface of your first layer of skin." That's pretty much the text book definition of "vulnerable," but Gaga chose emotionally thin "because it's much more dramatic. Vulnerable to me implies only tears."
The downside of emotional thinness is a rather large one. "Well, in my mind, to be a great artist you must be private and public at all times," she noted. "And yet I'm part of an industry that challenges the pop female head-on, guns-a-blazing. I have to be emotionally thin but equally strong and impervious." Essentially, she is serving two masters, which means someone will always be unhappy or unsatisfied no matter how hard she works.
Gaga also talked about the late Amy Winehouse and an unplanned, unintended moment she shared with the late singer from a distance. "I remember a moment, fondly and sadly, from 2007. I was in a Duane Reade on the Lower East Side with my friend Lady Starlight, shopping for eyelash glue," Gaga explains. We can picture a pre-fame Gaga trolling the Duane Reade aisles in search of a tube of the sticky stuff. She's so vivid and detailed with her stories.
She continues, "Amy's first Rolling Stone cover had just come out, the one shot by Terry Richardson. We saw the Rolling Stone, and Starlight looked at me and said, 'If Amy can do it, I think you have a real shot.' Amy lived the blues, which is very different from me. There was genuine pain in her voice. She was so vulnerable and yet so strong. I really adore her music. She was the only contemporary artist I looked up to. The only one. At the time, she was the only artist who gave me any hope that I had a shot at being part of mainstream pop music."
That's a big accolade for Gaga to lay at Winehouse's doorstep, calling her the only contemporary artist she looked up to in that light.
Gaga views pop music as "ever changing, and I hope to death it never stops being so. Art is designed to be different from moment to moment, and songs should reflect that. They shouldn't all be the same. That's my ambition as an artist. I'm not particularly obsessed with how my career will be viewed when it's over. I'm much more obsessed with what I create along the way and how dedicated I am to each creation."
She also deemed 'Born This Way' as neo-cabaret, saying, "Led Zeppelin and the Beatles made dance music. When I wrote 'Born This Way' I told everybody I wanted to make a whole bunch of stars and bananas and fish and flags and all sorts of things that don't fit anywhere, and I wanted to make them fit. I fought to make them fit. The point is, how do we bridge these genres and annihilate the idea that one is more valuable than the other? I don't view 'You and I,' for instance, to be just a pop song or a rock song or an electronic song. Actually, I view it to be cabaret."
What makes it cabaret is "the theatrical, honky-tonk pop emotion to it. I imagine myself in a barn with a piano, being filthy."
Gaga: The most visual pop artist of our time.