In recent times, the queen of pop – sorry about that, Madonna – has been in danger of losing her throne. Failed projects, impossible looks and drug issues as if presaged the end of the Gaga phenomenon. Loved and hated in equal measure, the New Yorker eventually rose from the ashes and turned her moderation and talent into weapons to shut some people’s mouths.
A story that begins today
The year has only just started and she is triumphing no end. She did at the Golden Globes, accepting her first trophy as an actress; at the Oscars, making history with her performance; at the Super Bowl, in Stars and Stripes fashion; and at the Grammys, with her controversial tribute to David Bowie. Considering all this, together with her catwalk experience in collaboration with Marc Jacobs and the imminent launch of her new record, the new presage is that Lady Gaga is back! Was she ever gone, though?! At any rate, her new princess look is hardly recognizable on the red carpet… Only the visible tattoos betray that she is still a wild animal at heart…
Meet Brandon Maxwell
A jazz record with Tony Bennett (Cheek to Cheek, 2014), her new facet as an actress (American Horror Story, 2015), and the arrival of a new stylist and designer in her life, Brandon Maxwell: all seemed to draw the end of an era. Dressed with a ‘common’ Azzedine Alaïa – only the red gloves added that Gaga touch – she arrived at the Oscars 2015 to pay tribute to The Sound of Music: quite the statement of intention, confirmed by a Tom Ford at the British Fashion Awards, and street attire signed by Ferragamo or Balenciaga.
“Whoever wants to engage people’s interest must provoke them”, Salvador Dalí said. And provoke them she did, even featuring a moustache like the Catalan genius. But that was just one of her multiple extravaganzas. Nothing compares with the Yeti, Christmas tree, or Statue of Liberty dresses she used to delight us with. Or the performances inspired by paintings or photographs of the Spanish artist. With her own creative team – Haus of Gaga – much like Andy Warhol’s The Factory, and a great interest in art, she has given aesthetics a role as important as music. Muse to a number of designers and a loyal presence on catwalks front rows, her relationship with this industry is idyllic.
Damn it 2013!
And we get to her annus horribilis. A hip injury in February 2013 put a stop to her Born This Way tour. The ensuing surgery imposed a several-month career break. Meanwhile, a certain Justin Bieber showed up on the scene, and Gaga’s descent to second on twitter’s ranking was inevitable. What else could happen? An album fl op? It did: it was called Artpop. And to finish the year off, the singer confessed having been addicted to marihuana.
Throughout the many highs and lows, something remained stable: the love of her fans. They even got a name for themselves: the Little Monsters. And as she admitted on some occasion, her spiritual guru Deepak Chopra (her own great source of inspiration) always reminded Gaga of her duty towards her followers. For Gaga, her fans are her most precious treasure. It was them who put her up on Twitter’s Olympus for two years (2010-2012). She then created their own social network. She defines herself as their mother, Mother Monster. Several of the more than 18 tattoos decorating her body prove it so.
At a critical point in her career (2010), this is how she appeared at the MTV Awards: escorted by four members of the military. It was impossible to go unnoticed. Not that she wanted to. “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones”, the singer explained. Amen. Gaga makes use of her media stardom to defend several causes dear to her, such as youth protection on very sensitive matters like bullying. To this end, she created the Born To Be Foundation in 2012.
The Fame Monster
Remember the first time you saw Lady Gaga? She probably wore a ponytail wig when she launched in January 2009 her first record, The Fame: a rather fitting title for someone obsessed with fame from a very young age. Two of her more iconic tunes, Just Dance and Poker Face, launched her to stardom at once. And that’s how a world tour started out, one which would quickly come to face the dark side. Months later she would attest to it, in the EP The Fame monster. Eight songs about eight fears she had confronted, including death and sex.
The original Stefani Germanotta
At the height of her career, Lady Gaga turned 30 in March. In the last eight years, she has accumulated excesses, successes, and criticism. She’s been judged many times and accused of merely being a character underneath the props and makeup layers. That’s why this journey could only end up in one way: contemplating the dream of an 18 year old university student by the name of Stefani Germanotta, trying to conquer the world of music with her piano strokes by playing at New York bars. Already then she would not go unnoticed: protagonist of a Facebook group called “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous”. The rest is history: not only did she become famous, despite the infinite envy of some; her future is shinier than ever.