Lessons Learned from Gaga

June13

Lady Gaga. Just that name evokes strong reactions of joy and admiration or equal amounts of eye-rolling disgust. You’ll get more than the first as a response from me concerning this powerful young woman.

I don’t always agree with her choices, but bring me somebody that you agree with 100% of the time and I would be suspicious. The meat dress? Loved the motivation behind it, but hated the execution. However, as a writer and a creative I am beyond inspired by the woman who calls herself Gaga.

She’s a one-stop shop, a “real deal.” Writer, dancer, choreographer, musician, image builder, business woman; Lady Gaga is a force and a movement.

Gaga was a mentor on American Idol. I missed the show, but since I subscribe to her Facebook posts, I get to see the posted videos of what she’s done. This video is the highlights from her mentoring the singers. It was interesting to watch how they reacted to her suggestions. The singers who listened to her took away some things they needed and a better understanding of performance. After all, it’s more than just singing, the same as writing is more than putting those words on the paper. She said to one contestant that he needed to move and set himself free because “It puts the song in your body.” I liked that image and will think about ways that I can put my writing in my own body, own it, perform it.

I felt that one of the contestants was disrespectful to Lady Gaga. He treated her as if she were the devil as he asked his god for forgiveness. While entitled to his opinion, I thought him to be rude. But I also thought for someone who wants to make a living in the performing arts, he was a hypocrite. He was not being asked to enjoy her music, but to learn from someone who is currently redefining what it is to be a pop-star. Short-sighted on his part. There are lessons here in how to behave at a writing critique and what you should be looking to take away from a crit session.

Broadway-esque performances, full force is her style. The attention to detail alarming. To say this woman is an over-achiever would be an understatement. She says that she is hard on herself. I believe that. Every interview I’ve seen with her is a struggle against herself. She works to project the character of the current project she is promoting while throwing all of the credit to her fans. Gaga deflects compliments and is constantly making fun of herself. There is no taking herself seriously in the Haus of Gaga, the serious stuff is saved for making her art. Here she is on Germany’s Top Model. Gaga, and her dancers bring down the house, as always. Then she sits down for an interview, out of breath from giving everything to her performance.

She always talks about being weird, not fitting in. She survived the torment as a child because of her inner strength, but also because her family was supportive. I suspect that many of the kids who commit suicide don’t feel accepted at home either and if you can’t be accepted at home, that leaves precious few places to go. She calls her fans monsters and she is the mother of them all, Mother Monster-put your paws up. Brilliant. She’s building a “home” for lost souls to gather and support each other.

Those of us who write for kids understand this feeling of not fitting in. What’s interesting is that not fitting in can bring people together. Gaga knows this. Her lyrics have become an anthem for GLBQT people, and rightfully so, but she includes everyone in her words. Born This Way is one of the best anti-bullying campaigns I’ve seen. Lady Gaga said on her facebook page as she posted this next video, “You’re never on the edge alone. We stand together.”

Watch one of Lady Gaga’s performances-the more elements, the better the show. That applies whether she’s got a stage full of musicians, dancers, banks of lights, props, and pools of various liquids or it’s just her and her piano out there. As you saw in that last video, she can bring the house down all by herself too. In this day of digital, she puts all of herself into her performance and does it live.

From an article in the Costco Connection, written by Gary Graff. Gaga said that her and her friends declared their own fame. They had the confidence to pull it off. I’ve often heard about “faking it until you make it” and that’s what they did. Gaga said, “You can talk about it all day, but it’s not true unless you do it.”

I’ve seen her perform and break out of character for split seconds. In those seconds I get a glimpse of the 24 year old Stefani as she spontaneously smiles a dazzling smile because she truly loves what she does. Those kinds of smiles make me smile and feel good about the world.

The inspiration! I’m inspired, I feel like Lady Gaga is my mentor too.

*Study your craft.
*Take your art into your body, own it, celebrate it, become it.
*Don’t listen to nasty critics.
*Listen to your inner self and be true to your art.
*Have confidence, fake it ’til you make it.
*Surround yourself with supportive, creative people. You cannot create in a vacuum.
*Dress the part.
*Become the characters.
*Pay attention to every last detail…and throw a few more in as long as they’re relative.
*Don’t take yourself too serious.
*Take your art very serious.
*Indulge your artistic self.
*Own your truth.
*Love the art you make.


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