September 15, 2016


Who Is 'Joanne' and What's Her Connection to Lady Gaga's Career?

Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

People learning that Lady Gaga decided to name her upcoming fourth full-length album Joanne may be scratching their heads a little. But for those who have been following her career since the start, "Joanne" has been a guiding influence for the pop star since the beginning.

First thing to note: Joanne is the name of Gaga's late aunt. Joanne Stefani Germanotta was was born on March 12, 1955 and died of Lupus on December 18, 1974 at the young age of 19. Just under 12 years later, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta—a.k.a. the Lady Gaga we all know and love—was born. 

While Gaga never knew her aunt, Gaga has spoken multiple times about how she felt a connection with her, described as an artist as well. That influence has popped up multiple times in Gaga's art, career and life.

The first major reveal of Gaga's connection to Joanne came in the liner credits of the superstar's debut album, The Fame. She ended her "Thank You" section with what she called "A poem for Joanne." Read it below:

For all the words you could not say
I promise they’ll be mine,

The one you meant to marry J
I promise I will find

And when your brother calls for me
I promise I will come,

Cause when I feel that I may break
You heart, it makes mine strong"

–Stefani Joanne Germanotta

The Fame's liner notes also included a poem written by Gaga's late aunt titled For a Moment that was never previously published. Read it below:

Yesterday, I took a walk in the rain
The cool refreshing droplets splashed on my cheeks.
I walked, And walked, And walked,
Not knowing where I was going.
The trees swayed as a chilly spring
Gently caressed their branches.
A cute white rabbit scampered
Across a wide open field.
He stopped in front of me in a
Patch of emerald.
He had a quizzical look on his furry little face.
He wiggled his ears,
Crinkled his nose,
And scratched his whiskers like
An old man.
I started to laugh.
He ran off into the distance
Looking like a pearl in a patch of seaweed.
The cool refreshing droplets splashed
On my cheeks.
I walked,
And walked, And walked,
Not knowing where I was going.
I saw a family of ducks on a lake,
I stopped to look,
Mama Duck first,
And all the little ducklings gliding
Behind her in a single file.
They were dancing to the music
of the rain tapping on water.
And then I was my reflection on
the mirror-like surface of the lake
And for a moment…
I was the only living creature around.
The cool refreshing droplets splashed
On my cheeks. I turned,
And walked, And walked,
Knowing where I was going.
–Joanne Stefani Germanotta


Joanne has continued to be a present force in Gaga's life, career and family life. The star has a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke tattooed on her inner arm (see above) and inside the quote includes Joanne's date of death. Meanwhile, in 2012 Gaga's father, Joe Germanotta, opened his Italian restaurant Joanne Trattoria in New York. 

Meanwhile, it's been long rumored that Gaga wrote a song specifically dedicated to Joanne for her Tony Bennett jazz album Cheek to Cheek. The song was not included on the album, and there is speculation the untitled track could end up on the actual Joanne album.

Keep your Gaga fix going with this flashback interview from The Fame Monster era: