BORN THIS WAY

Lady Gaga on be­ing the reign­ing queen of pop

India Today - - WOMEN - By KRIPA KR­ISH­NAN

“No ques­tions about boyfriends or Madonna, no po­lit­i­cal ques­tions please and…” the whis­pered brief is not the best of omens. But en­ter the dimly lit room and Gaga sets down her dainty teacup, with a sur­pris­ingly perky “How are you?” The New York bred pop cza­rina made a Delhi pit stop for a per­for­mance at the mother of all shindigs, the af­ter-party of the first In­dian Grand Prix and the Cap­i­tal’s party reg­u­lars, Bol­ly­wood wives plus blonde tourists in glit­tery saris, all thronged the ho­tel’s cor­ri­dors for a glimpse of the mother mon­ster.

Her plung­ing black kaf­tan shows off a thin frame and sets of the plat­inum blonde hair with eye­brows and eye­lashes dyed to match. She does not look much like the “In­dian hip­pie” she claimed to be dur­ing the packed press con­fer­ence which saw her hair coifed in the colours of the In­dian national flag.“in­dia has given me such amaz­ing mem­o­ries. So much love and jew­ellery, I should add, to take back,” the 25-yearold fondly points to the blingy ring on her hand. Yes the “pop cul­ture phe­nom­ena” is noth­ing if not a spec­tac­u­lar spec­ta­cle.

Ever since she first ap­peared on the scene three years ago, Gaga has been out and about wear­ing a horde of green Muppets, some strate­gi­cally placed bub­bles, a dress made en­tirely out of meat and who can for­get the fa­cial horns which she said were nat­u­ral? Throw in a male al­ter ego called Joe Calderone and it is one schiz­o­phrenic mix. So will the real Lady Gaga ever stand up? “But it’s all me. I am still the same girl I was be­fore all this hap­pened. I have not changed as a per­son. But yes as a mu­si­cian and a per­former I evolve and be­come a new en­tity ev­ery day,” she says. Be­ing for­ever in char­ac­ter is a craft she honed dur­ing years spent per­form­ing in the bars of down­town New York, home to per­haps the world’s largest gath­er­ing of wannabe ac­tors and am­a­teur rock­stars.

Be­fore the pas­sion took over, Gaga was Ste­fani Joanne An­gelina Ger­man­otta, a Catholic school girl from a well es­tab­lished Ital­ian Amer­i­can fam­ily of the Big Ap­ple. Then at 20 she dropped out of the pres­ti­gious Tisch School of Art to start on her road to Ga­gadom. “I still pinch my­self when some­times I sit down and think about it,” says Gaga, who if you be­lieve Forbes mag­a­zine, is the most in­flu­en­tial­celebrity on planet earth. “When I started out I was so naïve, and so delu­sional. And then I went through so much. And ac­tu­ally the video of my next sin­gle Marry The Night is a flash- back of those years. Be­cause I want my fans ev­ery­where, In­dia, Ja­pan, Ger­many to

see what I went through.” She got her big break af­ter three years of stu­dio rounds and bur­lesque jobs with the block­buster al­bum Fame, which re­leased in late 2008. She was 23 then and within weeks, at least a dozen peo­ple came up claim­ing credit for dis­cov­er­ing her or threat­en­ing to sue her for copy­ing their style. The copycat ac­cu­sa­tions con­tinue to fly. The big­gest one hap­pened when she re­leased her much awaited come­back sin­gle Born This

Way which was ripped by crit­ics for sound­ing too much like Ex­press

Your­self, an 80’ s hit of that other Ital­ian Amer­i­can icon, Queen of Pop, Madonna. De­spite the un­ex­pected back­lash, it went onto num­ber one spot on the charts and stayed there for six weeks. The song is part of her out­spo­ken cru­sade for the cause of the LGBT com­mu­nity around the world, an affin­ity which has gained her a faith­ful fol­low­ing as well as plenty of de­trac­tors. “I write ev­ery sin­gle word in each of my songs, I com­pose them and the im­agery that you see in my videos is all me. I be­lieve in equal­ity in every­thing, for ev­ery­body, I con­sider it a hu­man right. And that is what be­ing an artiste means to me, to be able to talk about things that mat­ter to me. Be­cause I do not cre­ate mu­sic for money or fame.”

She is in her el­e­ment here speak­ing about her fans or lit­tle mon­sters as she calls them. She chose that side years ago. Yes all stars ded­i­cate tro­phies to those who buy their records but they are not one of them. De­spite the crazy cou­ture and the ever chang­ing hair, Gaga is.“you would have no­ticed that when I first broke into the scene, my mu­sic was not what it is to­day. It was just dance mu­sic. I was a new name and my fans did not know who I was as a per­son, what were my be­liefs. But once they trusted me I opened up. I have worked my en­tire life to get to this place where I can speak freely to them. I do not pre­tend to be per­fect be­cause I am not. I fight my fears not just for my­self but for all my ba­bies,” says Gaga. Later she tweets a pic­ture to her 15 mil­lion fol­low­ers. It is a smil­ing, barefaced, tou­sle haired Gaga in bed and within an hour some 2,000 com­ments about the beau­ti­ful “mother” are up on the so­cial net­work­ing web­site.

But the word just does not fit and she ex­plains its con­text, “It’s won­der­ful isn’t it? When I came out with the

Bad Ro­mance video, we had this dance rou­tine in there where I did this claw thing with my hand. And dur­ing con­certs I saw that all the fans were do­ing it and to me they looked like lit­tle mon­sters with their hands up like that. And then my ba­bies started to call me Mother Mon­ster. And I love that be­cause one of my big­gest in­spi­ra­tions is Yoko Ono and John Len­non used to call her mother. It’s ma­ter­nal and re­flects fem­i­nine spir­i­tu­al­ity and power. It’s me.”

COR­BIS

CHANDRADEEP Ku­mar/www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

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