There’s an artist that lives in all of us. It’s manifested as a creative expression that is unique to how we see the world, and how we show and tell others about what we see. Some sing about it or write about it or dance about it or create it in less traditional ways… this creative juice, it’s in every one of us, and it whispers to be given permission to be heard, seen and experienced. For some it’s reflected through photography, others cooking, arranging flowers, pottery-making, writing, singing, coloring, gardening. Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.” Yes, art has a deep purpose: to free our imagination and liberate our soul.
If there is one outstanding quality about our featured artist, Lady Gaga, it’s her total commitment to her craft. She unabashedly lives out loud, exemplifying the brilliance and force of her talent. Last month, Lady Gaga headlined the Super Bowl LI halftime show. She started her powerhouse performance on the roof of NRG Stadium in Houston, singing parts of God Bless America and This Land is Your Land, and reciting an excerpt of the Pledge of Allegiance before diving through the air, suspended by wires, to the stage. “The purest and most wonderful experience that you can have with music or art” she says, “is that you don´t think about it before you listen to it or look at it. You just breathe and you feel.”
She often gives empowering speeches to her fans during shows about the importance of selfconfidence and being whoever you want to be. “People assume that when I´m off stage,” she says, “I transform back into someone else. But I truly believe in the glamorous lifestyle that I present to the outside world. I love glamor. A glamorous life is quite different to a life of luxury. I don´t need luxury. For years I was practically broke but I was still vain and glamorous. Some artists are working to buy the mansion or whatever the element of fame must bear, but I spend all my money on my show.”
Her intention to catapult her audience into a transformative and enlightened experience is clear to most who have seen Lady Gaga on stage. During many of her performances, Lady Gaga collapses on the stage and claims that she’s like Tinkerbell: the audience must applaud to make her live. I would postulate that this empowerment process is Lady Gaga’s way of engaging her audience and fans to collaborate in her creation, and to awaken our own sleeping selves.
Lady Gaga may be forever changing her costumes and look, but to this 30-year-old, who celebrates her birthday on the same day as my Mom, March 28th, some things are permanent, especially her tattoos. When asked about her inner arm tat, the singer says, “That one commemorates my favorite writer, Rainer Maria Rilke, a poet and romantic philosopher.” The inspiring Rilke quote that Lady Gaga has on her left arm speaks of coming to a crossroads in life, where you must choose between two things that you love. It doesn’t mean that you will stop breathing if you don’t do what you dream of doing, but a little part of yourself does get packed up and forgotten. For Lady Gaga however, a more literal meaning to the quote in this arm tattoo speaks to her desire to write, perform and inspire.
The Rilke poem translated says, “In the deepest hour of the night, Confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write.
And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?”
And now ask yourself, must I too draw freely upon my imagination to make art, and wash the dust of daily life off my soul? Only you, the one reading this article, can answer that question. And thank you for allowing me the latitude to ask you to ponder this: What must you do, for you?
Lady Gaga is lauded as an American songwriter, singer, actress, philanthropist, dancer and fashion designer. She was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in 1986 in Manhattan, and was able to sing and play the piano from a young age. From age 11, she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart, where she was bullied for her eccentric habits. By the age of 14, Gaga was performing at open mike nights in clubs and bars. At 17, she gained early admission to New York University´s Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to sharpening her songwriting skills, she composed essays and analytical papers on art, religion, social issues and politics. At the age of 19 Gaga dropped out of NYU, moved out of her parent´s house, got her own place, and survived on her own.
She made music and worked her way from the bottom up. “I didn´t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody,” she reflects. “If I have any advice to anybody, it´s to just do it yourself, and don´t waste time trying to get a favor. There´s a sort of stigma around doing good deeds that´s maybe not so cool. I´m doing everything that I can, working with experts, really studying the statistics to figure out a way we can make it cool or normal to be kind and loving. I’ve learned too that some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams.” What do you follow?
A few final words of inspiration from Gaga: “Acceptance, tolerance, bravery, compassion. These are the things my mom taught me! My mother and I have initiated a passion project, the Born This Way Foundation. Together we hope to establish a standard of Bravery and Kindness, as well as a community worldwide that protects and nurtures others in the face of bullying and abandonment. Don´t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can´t be exactly who you are.”
Make March Matter, and know that we here at the Happy Herald herald you too!