you really don’t need to be a celebrity or have
money or have the paparazzi following you
around to be famous. Me and my friends just
simply declared fame on our own, and we
made art and we said, “This is the future,” and
we dressed in a way that says, “This is fashion.”
It was our confidence and our conviction and
our abilities—and our vanity—to be the litmus test of pop culture, and having that be in
every fiber of our being. You can talk about it
all day, but it’s not true unless you do it.
born thıs way By Gary Graff IT’S GUTSY TO CALL your first album The Fame before you’re, well, famous. But Lady Gaga knew what she was talking about. Since her debut in 2008, the multimedia pop auteur (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in Yonkers, New York) has sold more than 15 million copies of her two albums and 51 million singles worldwide, topping the charts with hits such as “Just Dance,” “Poker Face” and “Born This Way.” The last is the title track of her new album and the fastest-selling single in i Tunes history, moving a million cop- ies in just five days. Five Grammys are among the 104 awards she’s won around the globe. Her Monster Ball Tour was one of the most successful of 2010 and is on target to gross nearly $200 million worldwide. She took Kermit the Frog as her date to the MTV Video Music Awards. Elton John likes her so much e made her godmother to his son. Gaga, 25, is perhaps the most provocative pop star since Madonna, and with the same sensation-causing knack for outrageous fash- ions (for the record, that raw meat jacket she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards was not made from Kirkland Signature™ beef), envelope-pushing performances and the occasional juicy media quote. But as she sings on the song “Born This Way,” it’s what she feels she was meant to do. The Costco Connection caught up with Lady Gaga for a face-to-face interview. Costco Connection: What’s your definition of fame? Lady Gaga: What I’ve learned is that CC: Did you grow up in an artsy household? LG: Yes. My mother was in theater when she was young, and my father did some music in high school. They just were very sup- portive of anything creative I wanted to do, whether it was playing piano or being in plays or taking method acting, which I did when I was 11. They liked that I was a motivated young person. CC: You went to parochial schools. Is your art a rebellion against that? LG: No, it was actually helpful. I got a tre- mendous education, and they taught us to be independent as women. I had a really won- derful childhood. I had a rough couple of years at certain points, but why would I focus on those years?Musician Lady Gaga
Musician Lady Gaga is anything but black and white Road record She was
get, is the theatrical nature of the work and the
fact that, truthfully, my music doesn’t exist
without the performance-art element.
CC: What makes pop music the best
vehicle for you?
LG: Because it was the most provocative
thing that I could do in the underground
scene. Where I come from it was really
unheard of to be at a party and someone says,
“What kind of music do you make?” and you
say, “Pop music.” You might as well have “I’m
not cool” stamped on your forehead. So there’s
nothing more provocative than taking a genre
of music that everybody who’s cool hates—
and then making it cool.
CC: You’ve done a lot of outrageous
things, especially onstage. Are you ever
apprehensive that those will repel rather
than attract an audience?
LG: I think that’s always what drew people
to me. I think what made it difficult for people
to get, and still makes it difficult for people to
CC: You started off writing songs for Britney Spears, Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls, New Kids on the Block. Were there ever moments of despair about getting your own career going? LG: Of course there were. But a record deal doesn’t make you an artist; you make yourself an artist. If you only believe that you’re an art- ist when you have a big [financial] advance in your pocket and a single coming out, I would say that’s quite soulless. You have to have a sense of your own greatness and your own ability from a very deep place inside you. I am the one with the litmus test in my hands of what people need to hear next.
CC: So now that there is success, and
fame, what kind of pressure do you feel as
you take your next steps?
LG: I’m very hard on myself—very hard.
The pressure is more personal than anything,
and I know when I’ve done a great job and I
know when I haven’t. But [Born This Way] is
my best work, and it was a true labor of love
and blood, sweat and tears. C
American music journalist Gary Graff
writes for publications such as Billboard
and The New York Times.
LADY GAGA’S Monster Ball Tour kept her on
the road nearly constantly. But she says this
is what inspired her while writing and
recording her new release, Born This Way.
“I’ve been making an album on the
road,” Lady Gaga explains. “I just received
so much love and inspiration from the fans
every night, and I had a bus with me that we
put all of our vintage equipment on and we
just soared down the highway and made
records all night long. And in the morning
we’d listen back and it would either be really
great or we’d go back and change it again.
“So the fans and the show were what
An exclusive version of Born This
Way, with three additional tracks,
five remixes and two bonus digital
download remixes, is available at
all Costco locations.
propelled me into Born This Way.
“I wanted to write hit songs that I knew
my fans would all love and want to dance to
at nightclubs and on the radio and party
with their friends,” she continues. “But ... I
also wanted to sort of refute the idea of
being a trend and start to procure my legacy
as a musician.”—GG