The Rolling Stone Blog

Lady Gaga Discusses Her Struggles and Connection to Fans in Rolling Stone Cover Story

The Rolling Stone Blog

The new issue of Rolling Stone, on stands and in the digital archive on May 27th, includes an in-depth cover story of Lady Gaga by writer Brian Hiatt, who was given intimate, fly-on-the wall access to the pop superstar as she played the final dates of her Monster Ball Tour and put the finishing touches on her new album Born This Way. "When I am not onstage I feel dead," she says. "Whether that is healthy or not to you, or healthy or not to anyone, or a doctor, is really of no concern to me. I don't feel alive unless I'm performing, and that's just the way I was born."

In the story, Gaga reveals that she's recently derived a lot of inspiration from an unlikely source: Rocky IV. "My favorite part is when Apollo's ex-trainer says to Rocky, 'He is not a machine. He's a man. Cut him, and once he feels his own blood, he will fear you.' I know it sounds crazy, but I was thinking about the machine of the music industry. I started to think about how I have to make the music industry bleed to remind it that it's human, it's not a machine."

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Other highlights:

  • When Gaga first blew up in early 2009, people had a hard time accepting her outrageous wardrobe and public persona. "Being myself in public was very difficult," she says. "I was being poked and probed and people would actually touch me and touch my clothes and be like, 'What the f**k is that,' just so awful. It was like I was being bullied by music lovers, because they couldn't possibly believe that I was genuine."
  • Gaga was also teased mercilessly in high school. "Being teased for being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying," she says. "'Your laugh is funny, you're weird, why do you always sing, why are you so into theater, why do you do your make-up like that?' . . . I used to be called a slut, be called this, be called that, I didn't even want to go to school sometimes."
  • While offstage, she's taken to wearing lots of clothing given to her by fans. "We have this umbilical cord that I don't want to cut, ever," she says. "I don't feel that they suck me dry. It would be so mean, wouldn't it, to say, 'For the next month, I'm going to cut myself off from my fans so I can be a person.' What does that mean? They are part of my person, they are so much of my person. They're at least 50 percent, if not more."
  • She is annoyed at the suggestion by some critics that her main goal is to attract attention. "I have attention," she says, and begins addressing her critics directly. "Is it that you believe that I am attention-seeking or shock for shock's sake, or is it just that it's been a long time since someone has embraced the art form the way that I have? Perhaps it's been a couple of decades since there's been an artist that's been as vocal about culture, religion, human rights, politics. I'm so passionate about what I do, every bass line, every EQ. Why is it that you don't want more from the artist, why is it that you expect so little, so when I give and give, you assume it's narcissistic?"

Check out our full Lady Gaga coverage:

Photograph by Ryan McGinley for RollingStone.com
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