Lady Gaga Says She Was 'Depressed' Daily Before Making 'Chromatica'
By Paige Gawley
Lady Gaga's road to Chromatica wasn't an easy one. Following the May release of her sixth studio album, the 34-year-old singer covers Billboard's latest issue and gets candid about how she pushed past darkness to make something special.
"I used to wake up every day and remember I was Lady Gaga -- and then I would get depressed," she reveals about life after the completion of her Joanne World Tour in 2018. "I was peeling all the layers of the onion in therapy, so as you dig deeper, you get closer to the core, and the core of the onion stinks."
"My existence in and of itself was a threat to me," she adds. "I thought about really dark s**t every single day."
Eventually, with the help of producers and others close to her, Gaga came around thanks to the work itself. "I’m a savage when I want to write a pop song," she explains.
As she continued working on tracks that would later become Chromatica, Gaga says she got reacquainted with herself and her talent. "I would cry and go, 'There it is -- hi! How’s it going? Why do you got to hide?'" she says.
Those songs led to "freedom" for Gaga, something she says happens "when I can go to the darkest part of my heart, visit things that are hard and then leave them behind. Give them to the world, and spin all the pain into a puddle of gold."
Though Gaga found herself once more through her music, she still isn't sure how others view her, a fact she's learned to accept.
"I have no idea what people think or don’t think. I really don’t have an actual perfect grasp on how I’m viewed," she says. "If you’re an artist and there is something you got to give, and you don’t even know why, but you were born that way, focus on that. Because that thing can’t be wrong."
Chromatica, like many other planned projects in 2020, was pushed back from its scheduled release date due to the coronavirus, but Gaga was more concerned with other things than her latest album.
"When I see people struggling like they are right now, my brain goes, 'Put on your superhero suit. Let’s go,'" she says. "... When you’re born in this country, we all drink the poison that is white supremacy. I am in the process of learning and unlearning things I’ve been taught my whole life. Social justice is not just a literacy, it’s a lifestyle."
"What do I think about [posting] a black square? I think everybody has a different feeling about a black square. Do I think there’s such a thing as performative activism? Yes," she continues. "Do I think there’s been true activism that’s been very important and needed? Yes. Do I believe Black lives matter? Yes. Do I believe this is going to get louder? Yes. Do I believe it should? Yes."
She hopes to bring her views on social justice to her upcoming Monster Ball Tour, whenever it actually happens.
"To say that I would do it to make my show relevant? Absolutely not," she says of adding messaging to her tour. "I would do it to make my show right. I would do it to make my show good."
"... I’m going to learn so much from now until the day somebody tells me you can effectively social distance at a stadium. When that day comes, I’m going to build a show that’s tailor-made with kindness," Gaga adds. "I’ve been through enough to tell you that even though we can’t go onstage now, I know we will. It’s painful, and it’s hard and scary, but I promise we won’t be six feet apart forever."
Above all, Gaga is grateful to have a platform that allows her to use her voice and to support issues that she believes in. "What a privilege! To be an artist for the world in 2020," she says. "What a year for a heart that bleeds."