Lady Gaga opened up about her album ‘Joanne’ and her dive bar tour and debuting her new songs. She also reflects upon her return to pop music for the first time since 2013’s ARTPOP album.
Yes, Lady Gaga is back on the scene full force as a pop music icon with a new album, a new tour, Bud Light + Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour. And, yes, the biggest gig on the planet, next year’s Super Bowl. After her foray into jazz with her collaborative album ‘Cheek to Cheek’ with legendary singer Tony Bennett she’s back with the kind of dance-pop music that launched her fame back in 2009 producing some of her biggest hits to date including poker Face, Let’s Dance and Bad Romance among others.
Looking back, there is a forward trajectory. From the perceived failure of an album to a return to her earlier passion for jazz music, with the aforementioned collaboration with Tony Bennett, to her turn on the big screen, with the song she co-wrote, ‘Til It Happens to You, for the documentary on campus rape, ‘The Hunting Ground,’ nabbing an Oscar nomination.
Her new album is ‘Joanne’ which also happens to be her real middle name — Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — which she shares with her late aunt. Lady Gaga was born 12 years after her aunt’s 1974 death at age 19 from lupus. Lady Gaga spoke of her aunt In an interview, she opened up about the significance of the name to her, saying, “What I know of Joanne is what she left behind, which was a lot of loss and a lot of tragedy in my family.”
She was alluding to the circumstances of her aunt’s death which she first spoke of publicly in a speech at the Producers Guild Awards. She said that her late aunt’s sexually assault during her college years left so traumatized that it contributed to her untimely death from lupus.
Lady Gaga went on to say that when she herself reached the age of 19, “That’s when I really decided I was going to hit the ground hard — hit the [New York] dive bar scene and the club scene hard with my music and playing out as a songwriter.”
Elaborating, she added, “It was really Joanne, and that story of our family, and the toughness that made us who we are, that gave me the strength to go, ‘You know, I’m going to live the rest of my life in a way that she couldn’t.’”
There’s plenty of the “comeback” pressure with this new album. While critics panned ARTPOP in 2013– mercilessly in some cases, dubbing it ARTFLOP, it did go on to sell more than two million copies. As far as flops go, many an artist would be happy with such. But it’s more than sales figures after all, perceptions become reality in the glib ethos of pop culture.
She said that for the new album collaborating with the likes of Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, Beck, Father John Misty, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age as well as Mark Ronson, BloodPop, and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala was “just a brilliant experience.” She went on to say, “We wanted to make something that sounds brand-new, and we wanted to make something that’s also pop, but we wanted it also to be authentic and change things up a bit. We love making music, and we’re trying to change the landscape of how music is now.”
Although the new tour will literally will take her to dive bars and other such small venues — she noted that there will be ““more costumes and lights and big shows” later on. She explained the significance of the dive bar tour and said, ““But to begin all of this, we’re going to wind back the clock — to the day I decided when I was 19 that I was going to go live the rest of the life that Joanne didn’t get to live.”
It will be a departure from what we’ve come to expect over the years — she did build a reputation, after all, with many over-the-top excesses — and, in acknowledging this, Lady Gaga said, “You know, I do have to take responsibility that there’s an element of absurdity to a lot of what I’ve done in the past…The meat [dress] thing, and confusing people, that has been part of my thing.”
Continuing, she said, “And I wouldn’t even say necessarily that now that’s entirely different. I think that people seeing me take everything off, it’s making them ask questions as well — but what I’m hoping for is for people to stop asking so many questions about ‘why?’ and just listen to the music.”
You can see Lady Gaga’s full interview here as she opens up about the ‘Joanne’ album, the Dive Bar tour and much more.