Many artists willingly accept improvisation in the music-making process. They strive to create unique performances that shy away from homogeneity and offer their audience alternative interpretations of their work. That is, unless you’re Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. This international phenomenon has recently gained acclaim for being one of only five female artists to ever accrue 5 Billboard Hot 100 hits from a debut album. However, from someone who has already seen her in concert three times, I can assure you that she never changes a syllable during her live performances. To the untrained eye, it would seem as if she knowingly personifies the image of a vapid and cookie-cutter pop star that record labels churn out for a profit.
Lady Gaga – Just Dance (Official Music Video)
Although part of Germanotta’s success lies in the fact that she creates catchy, danceable, and radio-friendly pop music, she can hardly be classified as your average musician. For example, she writes all of her own songs, which unfortunately is becoming a dying practice in the pop genre. Furthermore, as she stated in an interview with Allmusic.com, she strives to combine a number of influences in her work, including glam rock stars such as David Bowie and Queen in addition to everything from “Def Leppard drums and handclaps to metal drums in urban tracks.” Regrettably, Lady Gaga’s music is often bashed for expressing her “desire” to pursue the sedentary and extravagant celebrity lifestyle that many music fans have become weary of. The people who make these claims often do so without the knowledge that Germanotta was set to attend Juilliard before she was accepted to New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts for her superior musical ability.
Lady Gaga may choose not to improvise much in her music; however, it is fair to say that she does so to a great extent with her choices in fashion. With every live performance and public appearance, she redefines her image by wearing options such as dresses made entirely of plastic bubbles and body suits constructed from Kermit the Frog dolls. This innovation in style paired with ornate and meticulously designed sets allow Germanotta to give her audiences a unique and continually changing spectacle that simply cannot be physically provided in a recording. For those who may never have an opportunity to see Lady Gaga live, she may continue to live on in their minds as a fleeting fad that will die out once the next batch of pop stars makes it big. Oh, how little do they know.