We look at Lady Gaga’s new documentary on Netflix, providing an intricate insight into her life behind the limelight.
Lady Gaga returns to the limelight and becomes once again the target of ‘’paparazzi’’. In 2016 she released her latest album and on the 22nd of September 2017, she shared a documentary based on her life. She is all dressed up in a pink suit, a matching cowboy hat and she is ready to show the world the Real Gaga. Netflix, collaborated with Gaga to make this original documentary named ‘’GAGA:FIVE FOOT TWO’’, directed by Chris Moukarbel. With this documentary, the audience has the opportunity to take a glimpse of life in stardom through its ups and downs. It’s not all about the fame, the glory, the money… The media can be very judgemental and offensive through criticisms and the record business has great expectations which increases pressure. Living in the public eye, can also affect your mental, physical and emotional health in so many ways. This documentary though, is mainly focused on the importance of family in Gaga’s life through very personal moments. Having people that you love by your side, can be a major support to help you overcome those fears and difficulties. They are the first ones to believe in you and hold your hand on your way to success.
Being in the business for almost ten years now, has been a life changing experience for her. She is an artist in the industry that has done it all and she still keeps going. In the documentary, we can see that aside her own tours, she also collaborated with other artists to make music, she took part in American Horror Story series and she also did some special performances such as singing at Tony Bennet’s birthday celebration and of course the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Since the beginning of her career, she had to work with all those powerful men in the business that expected her to be a sex object on stage. Gaga said that she could be sexy as long as she could put her own spin in her performance, just like in the VMA’s in 2009, when she sang Paparazzi and ended her show by bleeding to death. Putting an additional feature of her own in a performance, made her feel as if she was the one in control. From her very first performances, we remember Gaga being introduced by the media as this eccentric persona, wearing the most bizarre costumes in each of her appearances. The reason behind this eccentricity was simply because of her secret insecurities. She couldn’t feel comfortable singing as herself so she believed that if she was masked as something different, more ‘’extreme’’, she could only then show what she is really worth. Being eccentric gave her power, she thought that she could be easily heard and make a statement in the industry. But she learned a lot by all those experiences in the world of music and completely altered her style as an artist. She can now sing comfortably with her ‘’hair back’’ and feel good about herself, knowing that she deserves everything she has achieved and her quality as a musician. When it comes to song writing, she always has to confront personal challenges. In an interview with Beats1 radio hosted by Zane Lowe, she was asked about how she began to write songs. She said ‘’I had to go into the deepest pain in my life. I had to go into the part of myself that you don’t want to face’’. To me, that’s what makes a true artist. Be original, be able to explore all parts of yourself both bright and dark and use creativity as a tool to express these thoughts into an art form. She also confessed that her success in the music industry, as one of the biggest names of pop music, has caused several of her relationships to fail. Most recently, she broke her engagement with Taylor Kinney, a break up that caused her emotional pain but she had to fight it as she had a new record coming out at the time. When she is at the peak of her career, she would always lose her love partner. She is still trying to understand why this opposition is repeating itself and why can’t she simply have both at the same time.
Gaga has said multiple times that, family is the most important thing in someone’s life. The album of Joanne includes a controversy of sounds combining both pain with joy. This has been a remarkable transformation through Gaga’s previous albums as this one has a voice of its own. An album inspired by relationships, certain events within society but most specifically the tragedy that has traumatised her family for years. The album was named after her aunt Joanne, who died at the age of 19 from lupus disease. Gaga never had the opportunity to meet Joanne but she has so much love for her. Her father, named her Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta to commemorate his sister’s name after she passed away. Through her aunt’s painful story, she found a new purpose, a new motivation to start writing music again. She felt that it was her duty to honour Joanne and that’s when she came up with the name of the album and became inspired to write new songs. There is a scene in the documentary, where Gaga visits her grandmother with her father. She wanted to have her grandmother listen to the song she wrote about Joanne. It was such an emotional moment as we saw the two of them, grandmother and granddaughter hugging by the end of the song with tears in their eyes. The album of Joanne debuted at No1 on the Billboard 200 album charts to become the 4th highest debuting collection of 2016 and has sold thousands of copies throughout the world.
Being Lady Gaga had some serious effects on her mental and physical health. She had to fight with anxiety, paranoia, fear as well as alcohol and drug addiction. Battling with body chronic pain also known as fibromyalgia, has been one of the biggest struggles she had to deal with the last 5 years. Fibromyalgia is mainly muscle pain, tenderness and deep tissues. In the documentary, she mentions that when she gets depressed, it can cause spasms to her entire body. This sensitization for pain processing in the brain may be dormant or unnoticed. It can be caused due to genetic components or even psychological trauma. Gaga has been a victim of sexual abuse when she was 19 and had severe emotional trauma while growing up. As a result, this may have caused an impact on the development of brain mechanisms that protect against chronic pain development. Unfortunately, this condition has affected her abilities as a performer. There are some scenes in the documentary, where she is on the set to record the ‘’Perfect Illusion’’ video-clip or when she was rehearsing for the Super Bowl Halftime Show and we can see that she found it extremely hard to perform continuously and had to do several breaks due to muscle spasms. At the moment, she has been under the care of specialists and doctors to look after her health. She has been doing some therapeutic sessions and taking special medication to improve her condition. Gaga is currently unable to perform and so she had to postpone her European Joanne Tour for the time being until she fully recovers.
Gaga is a woman of power, a source of inspiration, a creative mind. Living in fame, having the media criticising you, being able to handle the pressure of the music industry, as well as trying to maintain your health, are some of the main difficulties that musicians struggle with. Lade Gaga is a musicians that has managed to lock out these destructions, still be authentic to create and do what she is passionate about. ‘’I just want to make music and make people happy’’ she said. Her music has inspired millions of fans around the world. She has encouraged people to discover their true identities, empowered them to come out in society and be proud about who they really are. Gaga is undoubtedly the type of artist that has become successful despite all the suffering she has been through. This could only remind us that it’s never too late for anyone, no matter the struggles of life, you can always succeed as long as you are a true fighter for what you believe in. All we can do now, is pray for her health so that she hopefully returns stronger to spread happiness to millions of little monsters throughout the world. She may not be flawless but we know she has a diamond heart.