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A love letter to Gaga

Art by Jessica Calaguas

“I’m obsessively opposed to the typical,” proudly sings Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, and what better quote is there to sum up the impeccable style, voice, and talent of Lady Gaga?

Photo by Jeff Kravitz for Live Nation via Getty Images

Born on March 26, 1986, in New York City, Lady Gaga has become one of–if not the–most influential pop artists of our time. Gaga attended an all-girls school in her childhood and was already performing in clubs as a teenager. She attended NYU for two years then dropped out at the age of 19 “to manage her own career” (Michael Levy, Britannica). Gaga spent a period of her life writing songs for other famous artists, her natural talent eventually getting her signed by singer Akon and Interscope Records. Her debut album, The Fame, came out in 2008. The album was a wild hit, and got Gaga on the track to becoming celebrated worldwide. "Just be who you are and then that’s your artistry,” says Gaga in one of her very first interviews, after being asked about her shift from the underground scene to the life she gained after the release of The Fame in one of her earliest interviews–only after, of course, mentioning her brush with arrest in Chicago “for wearing short shorts.”

The Fame international cover

As her fame progressed, she released several albums that propelled her forward in her musical career, including The Fame Monster, Born This Way, ARTPOP, Cheek to Cheek (with Tony Bennet), and Joanne. Although a personal fan of ARTPOP and Joanne, I’ve found that her talent is palpable in every single album she has released. Her most recent albums are Chromatica, Love for Sale (Deluxe) (another featuring Tony Bennett) and Dawn of Chromatica, with her most recent release being the music she wrote for Top Gun: Maverick.

The 2016 album Joanne, released after a three-year hiatus for Gaga, is especially of the heart because as she mentioned in an interview, it is named after her aunt, Joanne, on her father’s side, who died at the young age of nineteen. Gaga, named after Joanne, reveals in the interview “I always felt very connected to her my whole life; I really wasn’t sure why.”

Photo from People Magazine

This level of emotional connection to her art is one of the many things that makes her stand out. From everything we know about her, she’s one of those celebrities you just know would be nice to you and treat you like a real person. “If I feel like everyone’s telling me I need to do pop music all the time,” she explains, “and keep up with what they think is a ‘Lady Gaga brand’–I want to run entirely in the other direction screaming.”

Furthermore, as if her practically inhuman musical skills weren’t enough, she appeared in the American Horror Story season Hotel, starred alongside Bradley Cooper in the 2018 remake of A Star is Born, and just recently depicted the downfall of the Gucci family alongside Adam Driver and Jared Leto in House of Gucci (and, though we know very little of the production, is set to play a large role in a mysterious upcoming Joker movie). Keep in mind, these are only to name a few of her acting achievements.

Photo by Collier Schorr and Jason Rider

Unlike many celebrities, trying at another career just because of their big name, Gaga has the skill set and range that has rightfully earned her this reputation.

Not only is she a crazy talented singer and actress, she is a wildly successful philanthropist. Her achievements in this field of work are just as admirable in their largeness as in their goodness–Lady Gaga founded a vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics brand, Haus Labs, in September of 2019. What’s more, every purchase to this Haus of Gaga collective benefits the Born This Way Foundation, founded by Gaga and her mother.

“When we first started [the Born This Way] foundation,” says Gaga, “we decided our mission was to build a kinder and braver world.” The three goals of the foundation are to: “make kindness cool,…validate the emotions of young people around the world,...and to eliminate the stigma around mental health,” says Maya Enista Smith, executive director of the program.

Courtesy of the Born This Way Foundation

All in all, suffice to say Lady Gaga is a marvelously talented, determined, and kind human being. To be frank, she’s the only celebrity I have not found anything wrong with–she isn’t self-centered, she doesn’t assimilate to what is socially acceptable as “mainstream,” and donates to charities not just for publicity. Her dedication to her music and to The Born This Way Foundation are so representative of her caring person. Not just a pop singer, not just an actress, and not just an entrepreneur, she is Lady Gaga.

Photo for Live Nation via Getty Images

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