“Stop Taking Selfies” And Other Important Lessons From Lady Gaga’s Keynote At SxSW
She has a whole second Artpop album waiting in the wings!
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Stefani Germanotta — seller of 27 million records and 130 million singles; winner of five Grammys — just gave the Keynote Address at the music portion of the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.
Dressed like a bad guy from The Matrix: Reloaded, wrapped in a clear painter’s tarp with a head of messy white dreadlocks, she told us there’s an Artpop Vol. 2 ready to go. “I have a whole second act of ARTPOP,” she said. “There are many volumes of work over a long period of time that’ve just not been released to the public.” Why hasn’t she released them? “Because sometimes it’s just fun to have records that me and my friends listen to.”
But that’s not the only thing we learned for the 60-minute interview. Watch the whole thing below.
Don’t Take Selfies. Don’t Compare Her To Katy Perry.
The repeated theme was that creativity and art — not numbers, sales or ‘being beautiful’ — should be the focus for the music industry. Sayeth Gaga: “What are we as an industry if we’re not telling our artists to be creative. What’s happening? Why is it a prison, and why are we allowing it to be a prison?”
Same with comparing artists, Mother Monster reckoned. “I don’t know what the fuck I have to do with Katy Perry. My music is so completely different, and I couldn’t be more different.”
Corporate Sponsorship Is Okay
So, where does the music industry now find the money to create art? Gaga’s SXSW showcase the night prior to her address — an extravaganza at Stubb’s that included vomit (thanks to vomit painter Millie Brown), bucking pigs, BBQ sauce, and Gaga being basted on a spit — was sponsored by Doritos. Filthy, delicious, cheesy Doritos.
Gaga had no hassles with Frito-Lay wanting to help out with her show. Her response to people criticising her choice to partner with corporations and brands like Doritos was typically blunt: “Whoever is writing or saying that doesn’t know fuck about the state of the music industry.”
Her point was that if an artist engages with those corporate relationships in a creative spirit and to build a real relationship with fans, she believes a partnership can be a genuine artistic outlet.
Don’t Have Regrets
In answering a fan question, Gaga asserted that if she could go back in time, she still wouldn’t change a thing about her rise to stardom. Not even ‘Judas’. Or that Muppet dress.
Don’t Sell Out, Sell In
Gaga argued that the music industry needed to buy into talent and tunes, not fame. “Be careful what type of business you’re selling,” she argued, “because if you’re selling anything other than talent and good songs, you’re in the wrong business.”
She was actually brought to tears when talking about the power of song: “It’s your creative spirit… that thing that’s rebellious, that keeps you going.”
She’d Rather Quit Than Compromise
Her main thrust? It’s a refusal to compromise that makes art rewarding.
She backed that sentiment to the point where she announced, “I will stop, I will quit, I will retire from the commercial market if I have to do anything other than be myself. Because if I can’t be myself in this moment, then everything I’ve said to my fans since the beginning would be a total lie. No, I’ll be myself until they close the fucking coffin, so you can all be yourselves.”
Aww. Thanks Gags!
Jaymz is a New York-based writer originally from Melbourne, and the former Editor of triple j magazine.