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Lady Gaga on Breaking Rules and Using Power For Good

Lady Gaga

What people in business can learn from Lady Gaga's bold approach to life and art.

— By Ross Dias

Lady Gaga

What people in business can learn from Lady Gaga's bold approach to life and art.

— By Ross Dias

When Lady Gaga walks into a room, there’s no better way to describe the feeling other than pure magic.

It’s a sweltering afternoon in Las Vegas, and a group of us are gathered in an air-conditioned hotel ballroom less than a mile from the epicenter of the American musician’s residency on the Vegas strip on behalf of Swiss watchmaker, Tudor.

Gaga’s team has devised two contrasting shows that will co-exist for her time in the city — one, a pop extravaganza with her greatest hits, and the other, a pared down affair called “Jazz and Piano.” Earlier that week, we witnessed her enter a room air-borne, rocking out on an electric guitar as she descended to the Enigma stage. The next night, for the theatrical jazz performance, she wore a high-slit sequin dress with an ornate sea urchin-shaped headpiece. 

Today, she’s dressed in an all-black tuxedo suit, patent leather heels and button-down with sparing accessories save for a Tudor Clair de Rose watch with steel bracelet on her left wrist her favourite from the Swiss watchmaker. Her voice is hoarse (a consequence of two successive days of stage performance) but her speech is animated, using her hands to exaggerate her statements. 

The superstar is wrapping up a blockbuster year that began with the debut of her first starring role in A Star is Born last August at the Venice Film Festival. Most recently, she captivated all audiences at the annual MET gala with a red carpet performance replete with pink umbrella-holding dancers, multiple hidden dresses, and handbag shaped like an early ‘90s cell phone. 

With every step in her career, she has left cynics and admirers alike asking, “What will she do next?” Only one thing is certain; when Gaga enters a room, expect the unexpected. 

Here, Lady Gaga speaks on reinvention, leaving a legacy, breaking rules and using power for good.

Dare To Be Better

“Why can’t you just relax?” Gaga asked of herself recently. While busy racking up an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and two Grammys for her performance in A Star is Born, her mind was already deep into her next project: the final stages of planning her epic, dichotomous Las Vegas residency at the Park Theatre. “The truth is that the reward is in the creative process for me,” she says. “I would prefer to be remembered as brave and unafraid to speak my mind. I don’t think that God gave me this voice to be famous, I think he gave me artistry and my voice and music as a vehicle to change the world, and that’s what I really want to do.”

Respect Your Past While You Build The Future

Gaga has been in the business of doing what she does best for over a decade. From her early synth-pop work to a jazz record with Tony Bennett to soul-belting ballads, anyone would be hard pressed to narrow down her sound — and the same goes for her chameleonic fashion palate. “I reinvent myself because I like to. It’s interesting to me. It challenges me,” Gaga says. “I’ve become the artist I always wanted to become, and that is an artist that loves to create and loves the process, and that’s also something that Tudor loves. They love being innovative and different. And I love, also, the nostalgia of the way that they present themselves, that even though they’re being innovative, they’re never not also honoring their heritage as a brand, which is something that’s very true to me. For example, we do Enigma, which is new, but then I sing jazz, which is inherent to me, since I sang it since I was 13.”

Use Your Success To Lend A Helping Hand

“When you get to the top, what you really should be thinking about is, why am I here? What am I doing here? And, can I be daring enough to look at what I’ve done already, and now, let’s take this to the next level and let’s change some people’s lives.” With unrelenting activism for the LGBTQ+ community and the Born This Way Foundation, Gaga walks the charitable walk. When I see artists with big voices flaunting what they have, I think it is a very terrible message. Young people need to be inspired to be brave, to have a purpose in the world that goes far beyond their beauty that goes far beyond being loved for having lots of followers.”

Go Against The Grain

While never forced or confusing, Gaga has glided through pendulum swings in her musical career with relative ease. “I want to be someone that’s breaking rules for good reasons. So maybe that’s part of being daring, is breaking some rules, but breaking rules for the right reasons. And I always want to have idols, because I think, if you don’t have them, you start to idolize yourself, and where are you going to go from there, you know? You always need someone to look up to.”

Nurture Young Talent

With success and stature, comes access. Truthfully, Gaga could wear the work of any designer in the world, each hoping to be blessed by her approval which in turn could catapult an avalanche of sales. With the latest Haute Couture from the Parisian runway only a phone call away, the songstress prefers the work of the less established. “I’ll see a garment and say, who made this, and someone will say, it’s a young designer, and I’m like give it to me, I want to wear it because I really want to support those young, up-and-coming artists.” 

A few years ago when Brandon Maxwell, her then-personal stylist asked her if he should go into designing, Gaga wholeheartedly supported his decision. This year, Maxwell won a CFDA award for women’s wear and also designed Gaga’s show-stopping MET gala outfit. “For me, it’s about friendship.  It’s not about, you know, what’s the hot new thing,” she says. “I like to take my friends with me. You know, even here in Vegas, I’ve got Brian Newman, my buddy for over a decade, playing with me.”