I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way.
– Stefani Germanotta, Lady Gaga
Known for her other-worldly, origami-like costumes, Stefani Germanotta – a.k.a. Lady Gaga – is the hottest thing in glam rock not only for her music but her message of self-acceptance.
Smart, insightful and incredibly creative, Gaga is a gene splice of Michael Jackson and Madonna with her message-as-performance-art approach to her music.
“I get to live my dream,” she says in an HBO interview, “and… hopefully live it in a way that inspires other people to live their dream.”
To judge Gaga based on her music videos would be like assessing the Mona Lisa by looking at a four inch square. You miss ninety percent of who she is and what she stands for.
“I’m fighting for every kid that’s like me, that felt like I felt.”
And it’s that kind of sincerity that informs her work.
Watching her TV special, The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden, I was taken aback not only by the incredible physical demands of singing, dancing, and costume changes she must rigorously maintain throughout the two hour show, but charmed and interested in the segments where she tells her story to the audience in a personal and powerful way.
“You can be whoever you want to be… to fill that inner sense of faith.”
She radiates self-acceptance and humility. “Dear Lord,” she prays before going onstage, “remind me not to empower myself, but empower those around me because that is my gift…. please help me to be strong… give me courage.”
And yet, as all good rockers, Gaga can be a provocative contradiction. At the 2010 MTV Music Awards, she came bedecked in what she called her “meat dress” made, of course, from a dead animal. At the same time, she has enhanced her image as a philanthropist contributing concert revenue to benefit the 2010 Haiti earthquake and 2011 Japanese tsunami. Later this month, she’s scheduled to appear for the benefit of Japan’s Red Cross.
“I didn’t used to be brave,” she tells a Cleveland audience. “Tonight, I want you to forget all your insecurities. I want you to reject anyone who didn’t make you feel accepted.”
With over 3.5 million followers and tweets as diverse as her outfits, Gaga is currently the fifth most followed on Twitter, one behind Barack Obama. Her second album, Born This Way, released last month, topped the charts in all major music markets with the title single becoming the “fastest-selling single in iTunes history, selling one million copies in five days.”
With all the scandal-driven media these days, it sounds likeLady Gaga is on the right track in both music and message.