So far, two things this summer are very clear: It's not a good time to be a politician immersed in a sex scandal and Lady Gaga's second album, Born This Way, is a runaway smash (it sold over 1.1 million copies its first week in the U.S. alone!). And just as I was one of the first to interview the pop superstar, 25, before her debut album, The Fame, dropped nearly three years ago, I was now lucky enough to exclusively speak to her again as she braced herself for another round of world domination. Here's the unedited version of my chat with Gaga that appeared in the last issue of Us.
Us: I obviously want to get all into the album, but I have to start with your recent appearance on Saturday Night Live because everyone is blown away with how hilarious you were.
LG: Well, it was a nice surprise all the support I got for the skits and for being on the show. I was really super honored that Justin [Timberlake] and Andy [Samberg] wanted to be a part of so many of the skits, especially Liquorville and the Three Way. Cause those are super iconic for both of them as actors… I swear I wet myself I needed a diaper on set I was laughing so hard...it is nice to be able to show my fans the other artistic outlets that I am in love with and what else I can do and I went to theatre school for so long so it is a tremendous part of who I am and I can't wait to hostSNLone day!
Us: Was it in your mind that you wouldn't be able to top The Fame and The Fame Monster with your new album?
LG: Of course, that's always in my mind and I'm always trying to push forward musically and artistically. But more importantly, I want to not rest on the laurels of what I already created. I wanted it to be super pop, I wanted it to have huge choruses, I wanted it to be fun and everything that my fans love about the music I've created already but I wanted it to be a big giant step forward for my song writing, for my compositional arrangements, lyrically, and I think I did a great job.
Us: I wanted to ask you about particularly the religious themes. What made you decide to sort of tap into so much of that this time and where did that come from?
LG: I am Italian and I grew up Catholic, so I grew up with a lot of religious imagery and I became obsessed, you know, during the Monster Ball with this idea of a quote on quote electric chapel which I think is going to carry into the next seas of the new tour.
Us: Did you feel that it was hard live up your image?
LG: I would say this album is just as over-accessorized as I am. You know there is something really epic and opus like about the record and its meant to be this huge celebration of a sort of grandeur in terms of you know self love and self worship. This record as a stand alone, I wanted when you listened to it to not only be transported to reality but also to know that I've licked and touched and kissed and made love to every single note and melody and lyric on that album.
Us: Did you know you were going to be this big, the biggest pop star in the world?
LG: You know what, I had already thought I had made it. I always did. I know that sounds so crazy but when I was singing in bars in New York, all the pictures that you see in the Us Weekly special issue that you created, you know, I am sure you can see all the joy and the bliss on my face and that was because I was just happy making music and happy that people were coming to see me live.
Us: Back to the album, you have a lot of songs about being an outcast. I mean "Born This Way," "Bad Kids" you know are you picking yourself apart in "Bad Kids" or are you just kind of describing all of the outcasts?
LG: It's myself but also so many people, so many little monsters share their stories with me backstage on the road when I did meet and greets, you know, and sign autographs after the show. So I wanted to tribute them in that song.
Us: You also incorporate "You and I" which we are all so excited about. It is different than the live version. Now obviously that is one of your more personal songs and it is so vivid. Do you still get emotional because it was about such a sort of important relationship and a time in that relationship?
LG: Of course I get emotional. Every time I sing it. And I am like that with all my songs There is not one song on any of my records that wasn't written by me, and I think when you write your own music you find ways to reinvent them emotionally through yourself and performance so that they are different every night and that song you know, sometimes it's about the guys and sometimes its about the fans, you and I.
Us: There’s also expressing yourself in fashion. Do YOU ever feel your look is too much?
LG: No. I think it's I'm just feeling so brave and secure and confident lately I really had to become the message of the album in order to put this record out and no. Lately I have been feeling very good. I've been feeling like I know exactly what I want to do, exactly what I want to say, exactly what I want to perform. So no, I know what I am doing and feeling.
Us:I know you recently said in London that you broke up with Luc Carl, your on-off boyfriend, again. Are you interested in dating again at all? Do you even have time for it?
LG: Well I would just say that I don’t like to talk about my love life so I sometimes skirt the questions and maybe not so honestly sometimes. And that’s all I will say.
Us: What's next? Can you give us a little bit of insight on how the next tour is going to be?
LG: The next tour, I am already planning it, and it is going to be absolutely incredible and I am so excited. I was so afraid that I would never be able to top the Monster Ball but the ideas are just pouring into my brain and vomiting out my mouth.
Us: Then obviously another thing like I said you met so many amazing people. Is there anyone still you have yet to meet that you would like to meet?
LG: You know what, all of the relationships I have built in the industry have mostly been with people that have been around for a long time and those are the real relationships. Other than that I am really not too obsessed with Hollywood and I find there to be a lot of artifice and I like to have real relationships and meet real people and I am just grateful for who I have met already.