When she exploded onto the music scene in 2008, it would have been all too easy to dismiss the eccentric Lady Gaga as a one-dimensional pop star, but she very quickly dispelled such a myth. As the first hit single became three and four and global success beckoned, the young star quickly captivated audiences around the world with her incredible voice, fashion sense and theatrical performances. This was no ordinary singer; here was a young woman who wanted to turn music on its head, give the industry and the world something to remember and, more importantly, someone who possessed longevity in an era where one-hit-wonders are more common than ever. ?In every music video and on every red carpet she sought to be a variation of herself; an artist fully expressing her creativity.
“Legacy and longevity is about having some sort of story and footprint to leave in the world when you die, chasing your talent until you’re dead. And that, as an artist, you love your art til you die” – Lady Gaga
Whether this meant wearing her infamous ‘meat dress’ or an intricate headpiece covering every facial feature, she quickly made the fashion world sit up and take notice. She’s a rule-breaker; each outfit is innovative, creative and can easily fit on the runways of today, thanks to her frequent collaborations with the top fashion houses in the world. From Armani, Versace, Brandon Maxwell, Alexander McQueen, Viktor and Rolf, and Marc Jacobs, there isn’t a designer who hasn’t wanted to dress this multi-award-winning superstar.
Her yearning to make her own mark in an industry that often conforms to what’s popular and on-trend has seen her fight for her creative freedom. She parted ways with her management and slowly disbanded her self-created Haus of Gaga to assume total creative control of her projects. After a number of pop albums, she grew tired of being a part of what she deemed a “money-making machine” and sought a new direction. Insiders insisted she had peaked too soon and after delays and confusing promotion of her 2014 album ArtPop, she recorded a jazz album with legend Tony Bennett and declared enough was enough of her current set-up. The release of her most recent album, a paired-back Joanne is testament to this – even if she has reverted to a more disco-sounding creative direction for her newest single, Stupid Love.
A photo posted by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) on
She told a group of Yale University students that she was unhappy and began asking herself why. So deep was her unhappiness that she almost gave up the musical career that she strived for years to get. “The focus was always on how I looked, what I wore,” she said. “I feel sad when I’m overworked, and that I had just become a money-making machine, and that my passion and my creativity had taken a back seat. That makes me unhappy; it feels shallow. I have a lot more to offer than my image.” And so she has. Gaga writes, produces and sings her own songs and sets up charities to help unite young people around the world. She is also a Golden Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated actress and has used her public persona to connect with fans, and even recounted her harrowing experience of sexual assault.
And she is just 34 years old. In honour of her birthday, today, March 28th, from the stark and carnivorous to a red dress fit for a queen, we toast the creativity, sense of style, and confidence that defines the many looks of Lady Gaga.