Over the past five or so years, Lady Gaga has done everything she can to solidify herself as a pop icon and diva; wearing dresses made out of cold-cuts, and enormous statement pieces that get everyone tweeting up a storm. 28-year-old Stefani Germanotta has done this to ensure that her place in showbiz is a permanent and not a fleeting one. She has done anything and everything she can to not be invisible. Perhaps she has done this so as to be able to sing musical theatre and jazz full-time and still be relevant. She has done what she had to do to survive in this shark-infested industry and now she can finally be herself and make the sort of music she wants to.
Regardless of her intentions, it’s depressing that the world is still shocked when she opens her mouth and talent pours out. It’s as if we live in a world where talent isn’t a pre-requisite for fame. Oh wait…
It seems as though ‘Lady Germonatta’ is seeking validation for herself, as herself, the real musical theatre loving self that she is. From the ‘Lady is a Tramp’ duet with Tony Bennett – which went viral – to the subsequent tour, album, and recent special live performances and appearances, it seems as though musical theatre and jazz are what she most wants to do. It is, after all, where she began, as she first studied Theatre at NY’s Tisch before dropping out and beginning to construct her would-be theatrical persona.
Germonatta’s look of genuine surprise yesterday, when the audience went wild after her Sound of Music tribute, weighs towards this theory. She cried into the arms of Julie Andrews with truth and vulnerability. I’m sure she knew the attention her gloves, and not her talent, had already scored her during the night. She chose to wear another statement piece, so the attention was precisely what she was looking for. But I think her repertoire speaks of a deep-rooted desire to be validated honestly. Can we blame her? She knows what it’s like to be dropped from a label, to be brushed aside, and she doesn’t want it happening again. She constructed Gaga as a platform of permanence in the industry and its spotlight.
Stefani Germanotta a smart cookie. She knows that talent isn’t as important as influence these days, and that a strong social media following, viral activities, and likability are more of a selling point. However, Gaga has played her turn and won the game. She now has the option to put Gaga to rest and start making the sort of music she wants to. Now that she can start being herself again, will she continue to? What’s next, a country album? Will she ever use her real name or will it forever be a gag(a)?
I don’t know why this affected me so much, but perhaps it’s because I know what it’s like to look like a rocker but sing like a Disney princess. I feel for Gaga and I have empathy for what it seems she’s trying to do. At the end of the day, we all just want to be accepted and validated for who we truly are.
Words by Anna Chaplin
Anna Chaplin is a performing arts and vocalist coach, musician, retired showgirl and ex-New Yorker, and you can catch her tweeting over at @anna_k_chap
Feature image via YouTube