After Mother Monster was vomited on at Stubbs BBQ last night – for the show guys, it was all part of the show – she came to the SXSW keynote address wearing a full body tarp and dreadlocks that gave her a distinct Twins from The Matrix vibe.
The address wasn’t actually speech, but a Q&A session hosted by John Norris, the former MTV VJ who is now a producer for Fuse. Norris couldn’t help himself and dove right in with a barf joke: “You could’ve used that outfit last night, huh?” Thank you for saying what we were all thinking. (Although, I have to question his John Galliano armband. Pourquoi?) Lady Gaga seemed subdued, which is probably because she was feeling a little wrung out from all the mechanical bull/pig riding that she did last night. That really takes it out of you.
There were two overarching ideas that she kept circling back to in her answers and they might not be what you expected: 1) The music industry machine is ruining lives, but corporate sponsorships are, surprisingly, not. 2) Twitter is ruining lives. (This from a woman with 41 million followers.) The first point was a reaction to the flack that she’s gotten for showing up to SXSW–once upon a time, a festival for unknown artists–and playing under the massive corporate logo of Doritos, which underwrote her performance. The second point, well, let’s just say Gaga is competing with Anne Hathaway for the most cyber-haters.
So here are seven things we learned from Gaga’s keynote address:
1. Corporate sponsorships are good for artists “Watching the fans have an experience with me and then having Doritos support that to its core, not telling me how to do the show or putting chains around my neck. They said, ‘We just want to support you and support your foundation.’ And they came up with “Bold Bravery.” The most important thing that we remember is that all these things people are saying are just for clicks to their website. They want to be the first person to say the thing that everybody reads. Without sponsorships, without all these people supporting us, we won’t have any more festivals because record labels don’t have any f–king money.”
2. Want to be a star? Try fewer selfies, more suffering Record executives “bring me kids and they’re like, ‘I’m working with this producer and that producer’ and they’re name dropping Lil’ Jon. Go to a city and sit in an apartment by yourself and stop taking selfies because that’s not going to make you a star…[Future music stars are] the person who can feel the pain of this business, who can suffer for music because they have to, because they can’t do anything else.”
3. She has a new catchphrase: “swine your nose up,” which means blow off your haters. Used in a sentence: “Swine your nose up at anyone who is like ugh, Lady Gaga; ugh Doritos; ugh, Jay Z. Why shouldn’t people in Austin get the chance to see Jay Z up close and personal?”
4. There is a “whole second act” to ARTPOP (and other unreleased material) that she and her friends listen to and enjoy but she doesn’t care what anybody else thinks about them, so she’s keeping them to herself. For now.
5. Pop music is not brain surgery. “Nobody put me in a machine and popped me out Gaga. This is truly who I am. You need to tell everyone to chill out. It’s just pop music, not brain surgery. If I can’t be myself, then everything I said to my fans up to this point has been a total lie. I’ll be myself until they f–king close the coffin, so you can be yourselves.”
6. When you go to a Gaga concert, you are in time warp. “I’m held to such an insane standard, which is a compliment, I guess. When it comes to me, everybody forgets where the music business is now. It’s like you come to see me live and you’re time warped to the 70’s or something.”
7. Austin is her kind of town “It’s a great vibe here. I had the best time this week, so much love and respect between everyone. I didn’t see anyone fighting or acting hateful or negative. I saw true, genuine music lovers. The most beautiful thing I saw was the new artists reacting to their new fans…The vibe reminded me a lot of bars I used to play at with Lady Starlight and Semi Precious Weapons and they’re here with me this week. I think anytime you put music-lovers in a room with beer and a s—-y sound system we’re happy.”