Hours after a sensational performance at Lady Gaga Live at the Doritos #BoldStage, Mother Monster sat down with Fuse News' very own John Norris for the 2014 SXSW keynote address. From what would make her quit the industry to being puked on during her set last night, the conversation proved to be both eye-opening and inspirational. Catch up on all the highlights below--with extended video clips following some of the written quotes. Then read John Norris's thoughts on the talk.
What inspired her SXSW 2014 performance:
We really wanted to do something that was in the spirit of what SXSW is and always has been about, which is creating a real connection between the fans, the artists and the musical experience. I actually spent the first four days I was here to see performances and get the atmosphere. I really built the set around the Austin. I really wanted to give as much as I could to the city.
The reactions to her choosing to be vomited on during "Swine":
It was just exciting to see people talking about performance art on the Internet. Debating whether it's art or not, it's really great. We really just did it because we believe in the performance, we believe in what it meant to the song. [Gaga collaborator/Self-described regurgitation painter] Mille Brown was in town, so we wanted to work together. I'm so deeply passionate about anyone who has an artistic spirit, anyone who has a talent no matter how crazy that idea is. Martin Luther King had a dream he could start a revolution without violence. Andy Warhol had a dream that a soup can could change the world...I'm not saying vomit is going to change the world. It's the idea, the moment. That's truly what we wanted to make and do. Us respecting each other as artists was enough to make it worth doing.
Her onstage comment "Now, because we were told we really have to, we're gonna play 'Applause'":
We were sorta joking. I did want to do "Applause." More so, it was the idea that I really wanted to make a show that was perfect for Austin. We thought it'd be a good idea to close with "Applause," but we really wanted to close with "Gypsy." So, I said it to make my team laugh.
On ARTPOP's commercial success competing with other pop stars:
We've sold over 2.5 million copies of ARTPOP around the world. I'm sorry I didn't sell a million records the first week [like Born This Way]. I've sold 27 million albums [overall]. I'm very proud of what we've done. We made a record. I'm held to such an insane standard, it's almost like everyone forgets where the music biz is now. You come see my live show and you're timewarped to the '70s, I don't know why. I don't know what I have to do with Katy Perry. My music is so completely different, I couldn't be more different. But I came through in pop music and I hope I changed something.
On her emotional attachment to part two of ARTPOP:
There's many volumes of work that have not been released to the public. Sometimes, it's just fun to have records that me and my friends can listen to. I have a whole second act of ARTPOP, I love that album so much. Making that record healed my soul every single night. It's like the most incredible thing when your friend can play a bassline that gets inside your spirit and heart like that. Like, 'I was feeling so sick, then you played that and now I feel so alive.' You and everyone in the room have an experience that encapsulated into an auditory moment you'll have forever. That's what the f-ck it's all about. [Wipes away tear] I don't know if you've ever felt so alone, but it's your creative spirit that keeps you going. You know that no matter who leaves you, you know that your real talent will never leave you. Love your passion, love it harder than anyone else.
How pushy industry folks could make her retire:
There's no formula behind what we've done. There's no process, I'm not from a factory. [The label and management] are essentially waiting for a crazy person to deliver something they've never heard. They're waiting for me to give them all the music, give them the message, give them the visuals—it can be very terrifying for people. They have a quota for the end of the year. I don't know what to tell you...you have to fight everybody off, and say, 'Listen, you have to chill out. It's just pop music.
I will stop, I will quit, I will retire from the commercial market if I have to do something other than be myself. Everything I've said to my fans will be a total lie. I'll be myself until I have to make money to sustain a luxurious lifestyle and then I'll change? I'll be myself until they f-cking close the coffin, so you can all be yourselves.
On the former pressures she used to feel from the industry:
I used to sit in the room where all types of people in the industry would say, 'Your show is too gay, it's never going to work.' Okay, but I grew up playing clubs, I have a lot of gay friends and a lot of gay fans. Do you just want me to use people? I won't do that. I'd rather have real fans. [Music business people] always trying to "widen your demographic." [They say,] "You already have them." I don't need "more." I have amazing fans, I don't need any more. If you want to come to the party, you can...I don't want to abandon myself to become, what? More famous?
Does she still strive to hit No. 1 on the charts?
Well, it's completely mental, right? You have this completely passionate relationship with music or whatever you're creating...I make music. The second I put it into the world, it gets eaten by the world and it starts getting put into a computer. It's terrifying. I think what we need to remember is, the way we talk about that process is what's important. Placing importance on the charts, you start trying to influence the artist to approach their work or their art towards being successful within that system. When you do that, you take the power out of the hands of the artists and you put it in the hands of the corporation. That means you—you have less of a chance of making it on your own. I don't want that to be dictating what we're listening to. I don't think any of us want that to be dictating what we're listening to. It's fun being on top and it's fun having everyone wish they were No. 1. Having people envy you, isn't fun at all. Having people be a part of you, be one with you, is the greatest feeling there is.