We’re talking Lady Gaga on this fine Flashback Friday.
Unless you were living under a rock, Lady Gaga was everywhere this week, and the contributing team here at BreatheHeavy detailed our favorite moments of her.
When I think of Lady Gaga, I think of the first time I saw her in 2008. She had just released her debut single “Just Dance” and was promoting it at various places, including hit tv show So You Think You Can Dance. After I saw this performance, I became instantly obsessed with her! Her vocals were so good, she brought such a unique taste to her performance, and she looked incredible (not to mention she looked like a mega star!). Like, seriously, who else was wearing leotards and brought such artistic visuals to their performances at that time like Gaga did?! I’m grateful to have been able to see the rise of Lady Gaga from 2008 to now, and I hope she serves some good bops like “Just Dance” again since she’s been in the studio with RedOne.
Lady Gaga made her mark at the 2009 MTV Video Music Video when she killed herself in a bloody fantastic performance that is quintessential Lady freakin’ Gaga. To symbolize her rise from singer/songwriter Stefani Germanotta to worldwide pop titan, Mother Monster churned out an orchestra-heavy rendition of her hit “Paparazzi” that included a mid-performance piano break, props and a set that was literally to die for. The number offered an eerie sense of uncertainty until exactly one minute before the singer finished the song. 60 seconds before it all wrapped up Lady Gaga started to bleed from her chest, scream bloody murder and was lifted into the air with one creepy AF dead-stare look on her face. It was unforgettable.
My love for Lady Gaga grew very quickly after hearing “Just Dance” for the first time, and it was incredible to watch a new artist turn the pop industry upside down and become the most exciting musician in the world within a year of their debut’s release. Her star only got bigger when she released “The Fame Monster” and she was basically untouchable by the time “Telephone” was a single. She transformed a club song into a true pop culture event thanks to her elaborate storytelling in the incredible Jonas Åkerlund-directed visual. The 9-minute video – her longest at the time – picked up where “Paparazzi” left off, and was a brilliantly camp affair with endless quotes, lots of choreography, excess product placement, over-the-top (read: typically Gaga) fashions and Quentin Tarantino’s Pussy Wagon. I mean, sometimes I forget Beyoncé was even there. “Telephone” was nominated for Video Of The Year at the 2010 VMAs but lost to “Bad Romance” – bittersweet, huh? C’mon Gaga, we’re waiting for Part 3…
Lady Gaga is definitely best known for her over-the-top, theatrical and, usually, controversial performances. While I love those performances, I have always preferred when it’s just her, a piano and her incredible voice. When she first came onto the scene, I initially assumed that she was just another pop star, who was more about image than actual talent. It was upon seeing her more raw performances, like this one of “Speechless” off of 2009’s The Fame Monster, that I realized just how talented she really is. It was so refreshing to hear a pop star with such a strong, unique voice. As Gaga has shown us time and time again since then, in her collaborations with Tony Bennett, her mind-blowing Sound of Music tribute at the Oscars and countless other stripped-down moments, she really is so much more than just shock value and crazy outfits.
I followed Lady Gaga since her “Just Dance” days when every day signaled a step closer to controlling the pop music market, all the while dressed in remarkable costumes and, well… meat. But it wasn’t until she began promoting her jazz album “Cheek To Cheek” with Tony Bennett did I fall in love with her artistry. She personally spoke to me for half-an-hour because she felt compelled to relay the message to BreatheHeavy readers: jazz is the original pop music. Since then, I’ve watched her become more comfortable in her skin while expressing how genuinely happy she is. Her career is at an all-time high thanks to her honest and brilliant work on American Horror Story: Hotel, plans to release a fifth studio album and possibly a second jazz record alongside Bennett. We spoke together about her cover of “Lush Life,” and it’s remained in my brain since. She said: “I have not shied away from being honest about struggling with needing to drink or taking drugs since I was a young 19-year-old girl. I have found my sobriety through my relationship with Tony Bennett, because he helped me to heal through singing these songs. I could probably get through ‘Lush Life’ when we were singing it, but he just told me to breathe and allow the story to come through in the music. That way, you can no longer beat yourself up about your weaknesses. Your weaknesses become your triumphs.”