The 33-year-old singer strips down for PAPER magazine's "Transformation" issue, posing nude for one of two covers in promotion of her sixth studio album, Chromatica. "I consent to being nude with everyone in this room," Gaga says, while slipping off her robe before the photo shoot begins. "I believe we're making art, this isn't pornography."
Inside the magazine, Mother Monster opens up about what it was like dancing through chronic pain in order to write and record songs for the all-new album, which drops April 10. Gaga, who suffers from fibromyalgia, tells the outlet that while recording Chromatica, she often "couldn't get off the couch" because her pain was so extreme. She credits producer BloodPop for consistently empowering her to push forward and create.
"He'd be like, 'Come on, let's go. We're going to make music.' And I'd be maybe crying or venting about something that was happening in my life over some pain or depression I was feeling," she recalls. "I'd start out the day so down and I'd end up dancing, looking in the mirror, practicing my moves, singing along. Every day was an enlightening experience, but it had to happen every day."
Gaga says that when it comes to fibromyalgia, "some people believe in it, some people don't."
"Essentially it's neuropathic pain: My brain gets stressed, my body hurts," she explains. "[I'm] angry at my body, angry at my condition, angry that when I'm stressed my body hurts. You have to 'radically accept' that you're not going to feel well every day, maybe a little bit."
"Some days are way worse, some days aren't. But you know what I can do? I can go, 'Well, my hands work; my arms work; my legs work, even though they are sore; my back works; my brain works; my heart works; I'm taking breaths, my lungs work,'" she continues. "You can just be grateful for what you can do."
Gaga adds that Chromatica is a reflection of this radical acceptance. "It's a smack across the face throughout the album," she teases. "We don't stop being that happy. You will hear the pain in my voice and in some of the lyrics, but it always celebrates."
"I will do whatever it takes to make the world dance and smile. I want to put out a record that forces people to rejoice even in their saddest moments. And by the way, I'm not standing over here with a flag going, 'I'm all healed, everything's perfect.' It's not; it's a fight all the time," she shares. "I still work on myself constantly. I have bad days, I have good days. Yeah, I live in Chromatica, it took a minute to get here, but that doesn't mean I don't remember what happened. So if you're in pain and listening to this music, just know that I know what it's like to be in pain. And I know what it's like to also not let it ruin your life."