Born this Way: The Era That Changed The World
It is the 10th anniversary of Lady Gaga’s iconic album, Born This Way. To celebrate such an amazing milestone, we have created a timeline of the entire Born This Way era. From revealing the title in 2010, to the return of Gagavision, to the edgy music videos, we have compiled this fanmade itinerary for everyone to enjoy and to take a trip down memory lane. We even have testimonies of major events from fans who were there firsthand.
In 2010, Gaga gave several interviews discussing her new work, stating that she was working tirelessly during the “Monster Ball Tour.” She first alluded to “Born This Way” in the SHOWStudio interview conducted by Alexander Fury.
Fans, friends, and collaborators could ask Gaga questions; Jonas Akerlund, the director of the Paparazzi and Telephone music videos, asked what she would call the movie of her life. Gaga answered, “Born This Way.”
But it was precisely in July of that same year, for Rolling Stone magazine, that Gaga really gave a certainty about her upcoming work. “I think I’m just gonna get the album title tattooed on me and put out the photo. I’ve been working on it for months now, and I feel very strongly that it’s finished right now. It came so quickly. Some artists take years; I don’t. I write music every day. I really want to play you something. Just turn the tape off for one second.
That chorus came to me, like, I swear, I didn’t even write it. I think God dropped it in my lap. And I swear to you that I’m in a place now writing music where there’s this urgency to protect and take care of my fans.”
Lady Gaga shocked the world by announcing the title of her album spur of the moment in an acceptance speech at the September 12th, 2010 VMAs. Dressed in meat with Cher holding her meat purse, here is a memory of the night by @ladygagarazzi.
"The 2010 VMAs was an iconic night for Gaga. I remember sitting on my bed--something I still do for the VMAs—and I remember watching the red carpet pre-show and seeing Gaga in the beautiful Alexander McQueen dress. That dress was possibly one of my favorite looks to this day. It was amazing seeing her supporting the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and her headpiece was iconic. I recall watching the show and seeing her win three awards. The one thing that sticks out most in my mind, the thing that made my mouth drop was when Gaga walked up to the stage in the meat dress and asked Cher to hold her meat purse. I remember thinking, “is that real meat? It can’t be, there’s no way!!” Not only did she shock me with the meat dress, but she shocked me by announcing the title of her next album, “It’s called Born This Way.” I knew the second she announced the title and sang a snippet of it that it would be a hit. My opinion on the meat dress is that it will forever go down in history as one of the most iconic things Gaga has ever done."
Months after Gaga revealed the title of Born This Way at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, promotion for the album began immediately at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. On Christmas of 2010, she tweeted about a special announcement. On January 1st, she posted on her Twitter account the first promotional photo of the era with the iconic “Born This Way” denim jacket. She also revealed the single and album release dates.
Merry Christmas little monsters! I love you with all my heart. My gift to you is a BORN THIS WAY announcement Midnight on NEW YEARS EVE. -MM— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) December 25, 2010
http://twitpic.com/3lvuh8 - THE SONG 2 13 11 THE RECORD 5 23 11— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 1, 2011
Two and a half weeks later, on January 19th, Gaga was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. Gaga talked about her life, the paparazzi, fame, and her iconic VMA performance.
Towards the end of the month, on January 27th, Gaga revealed the lyrics of her upcoming single, “Born This Way”, in a twit longer, which was a platform used to exceed the original 140 characters. This led to the first official phase of the era.
Phase 1: Born This Way
On February 9th, Gaga tweeted the Born This Way single cover artwork, showcasing her new persona - the alien. This look depicts Gaga in black and white with the previous prosthetics. The pointed bone prosthetics on her face and shoulders would become a recurring theme during this era.
Two days later, on February 11th, Born This Way was released as a single at 6 AM EST on radio stations worldwide. Little Monsters worldwide stayed up online in anticipation of the premiere. The song immediately reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was the 1000th song to achieve this in history. The song would eventually become the most downloaded song in iTunes history as of one year later, in January 2012.
Two days later, on February 13th, Lady Gaga was carried on the GRAMMYs red carpet in an egg-like vessel. She “hatched” onstage to perform Born This Way for the first time ever.
Here is a first-person perspective of the amazing event, narrated by @hiimer0s:
"This was my first Grammys. I remember I called my cousin to a sleepover, who is also a little monster, to celebrate the first performance of the Born this Way era. We spent all day on Twitter following all possible information about the performance.
We learned Gaga would go live two days after the release of her lead single, and the whole world couldn't be more entertained and attentive to her. Everyone was waiting for her appearance on the red carpet, after all, what could she do to overcome the controversial Meat Dress?
When Gaga arrived on the Red Carpet, being carried by her alien-soldiers as if she were a queen, it was shocking and mind-blowing. Above all this triumphal entrance, she was in a kind of alien egg, which she calls a vessel. I remember that I was not able to assimilate very well what was happening, because of the euphoria, but I was waiting for her to descend from that vessel and nothing happened, she disappeared .... no interview, nothing! It just disappeared.
A few hours later, Gaga appears, in the most iconic way possible, literally being born on the stage of the biggest musical award on the planet, singing her anthem of acceptance, in a performance completely unexpected for her: a simple performance.
Only Lady Gaga and her dancers, on stage, dressed in latex, with a pink ponytail and a totally breathtaking choreography were on stage. It was magical and beautiful at the same time, the vocals, the structure and the simplicity. It’s was no surprise that it was considered the best performance of the night, along with three Grammy Awards from her album “The Fame Monster”. The night was hers and it was the beginning of an unforgettable era."
The next night, on February 14th, Gaga tweeted her joy about the Grammys and the fact Born This Way was number one on the charts. She stated she would appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in New York. She once again wore a black outfit with the face prosthetics. She entered the stage carrying the three Grammy awards she won the previous night, and spoke about the experience.
On February 17th, Lady Gaga appeared on Good Morning America to discuss her partnership with MAC Cosmetics and the Viva Glam Campaign to raise funds for AIDs research. She wore a latex outfit and hat, and completed the look with platforms. She joked her outfit was a “giant condom.” These latex outfits would become a recurring theme during the era.
Continuing the rounds in New York, Gaga had two nights of The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden starting on February 21st. She booked a deal with HBO to film the two shows and turn them into a tv concert special that would be released on May 7th. She added Born This Way to the setlist as the encore. The credits of the film included an acapella version of the song where Gaga performed it backstage with her background singers.
Lady Gaga then appeared on the Gayle King Show on February 24th to discuss the upcoming album. Gaga revealed that she would be releasing two Born This Way music videos; one on February 28th comprised of the main version of the song, and a second" stripped down version of the song" where proceeds for this version would go towards charity; however, this video is unfortunately in unreleased archives.
Days later, officially on February 28th, Gaga released her iconic video for Born This Way that depicted clones, aliens, and super choreography. Codi Adkins recalled that moment vividly:
"2011 was a very liberating year to be a little monster. From the message, to all the iconic fashion looks, to the visuals/sound, it was a magical time in history, G.O.A.T.
One of my favorite memories was the Born This Way music video which was released on Feb 28, 2011. That date holds a special place in my heart because my best friend Yoliani and I drove up to Chicago to celebrate my birthday and attend the Monster Ball.
We began our day by watching the music video on her laptop in our hotel room. Eager and excited, we pressed play and it begins with a unicorn inside a pink triangle. A pink triangle has been a symbol for various LGBTQ identities, initially intended as a badge of shame, but later reclaimed as a positive symbol of self-identity. The pink triangle began as one of the Nazi concentration camp badges to identify gay men.
Gaga starts by telling the story of the creation of a new race within the race of humanity that "bears no prejudice, no judgment, but boundless freedom.” Her display in space on an extraterrestrial throne was already leaving me gagged. She then explains the birth of evil and questions “How can I protect something so perfect, without evil?” The visuals of good vs evil were beautifully done.
Now the music video begins with Gaga and her dancers. The choreography was so fluid, eccentric, and voluptuous. You couldn’t help but dance while watching. I absolutely love Gaga in the makeup prosthetics too, she’s always pushing boundaries of her interpretation of beauty, it has no boundaries! In the second chorus we see ZombieBoy who we will always hold close to our hearts, RIP, Gaga in similar makeup to Zombie Boy dancing next to him, it inspired a numerous amount of creativity within the monster community. I remember seeing so many little monsters post their own looks shortly after the video release.
As the videos conclude, she tributes Michael Jackson and shares she was teased by kids that called her rabbit teeth. The costumes were styled and designed by Formichetti who I love! I have always wanted to model for him ever since the Mugler Fashion Show featuring snippets of Scheiße and Government Hooker.
After watching the video and feeling incredibly stimulated by the whole experience, it was time for us to get ready for the Monster Ball! Replaying Born This Way over and over again while we were getting ready, I shaved FAME and LOVE on my scalp inspired by the Love Game video. I just got a Hebrew Born This Way tattoo a few days before the show that I wanted to show it off through my fishnet shirt that I wore with a fake leather jacket and fake leather studded gloves.
The Monster Ball, described as the first-ever 'pop electro opera' was a religious experience and you left feeling more brave and inspired. I was lucky enough to see the Monster Ball 1.0 and the Monster Ball 2.0.
Yoliani and I waited outside the venue after the show to see if Gaga would stop and talk to us, she did! At 2am she stopped her SUV and rolled down the window, I was able to give her a hug and she kissed my cheek. I showed her my Born This Way tattoo and told her how her message saved my life. I’ll never forget her facial expression of love and compassion. She then signed our albums with our names. As our conversation was getting close to the end, I gave her my one hitter and told her it was called a monster. She said I’ll smoke out of it tonight with a smile on her face and drove away with her paws up out the window.
I'll forever hold close to my monster heart. I am alive today because of her and I hope to inspire and heal people as she has to me. Thank you LadyGagaNowNet for allowing me to share my memory from such a self empowering year/era."
On March 2nd, Gaga attended the Mugler Fashion Show and teased remixes of various songs from the album including Born This Way, Scheisse, and Government Hooker.
The first promotional pictures of the era, shoot by Mariano Vivanco, arrived on May 17th via Billboard.
Gaga kept very busy during March 2011 with the Monster Ball Tour. Promotion for the album took a step back as she continued touring the country. However, one big event that happened was on March 22nd, with her Google interview, Google Goes Gaga.
It was an exclusive interview held at the Google offices in San Francisco. She was interviewed by Google moderator, Marissa Mayer, and answered questions sent in through fans around the world. The questions ranged from Gaga's childhood, uprising, current stature, fashion, information revolving around Born This Way, and more.
Three days later, on March 25th, Lady Gaga was not only photographed for the V Magazine cover, but she also released a country version of Born This Way.
While not the stripped down video mentioned on the Gayle King Show, Gaga still kept her promise of donating a portion of the proceeds to GLSEN. This version was also released as a gift to fans for being the first person on Twitter to reach 9 million followers.
On March 28th, Gaga not only turned a new chapter in her life by turning 25 years old, but she also started phase two of the era.
Phase 2: Judas
The beginning of April 2011 started with the return of Gagavision. On April 5th, She announced Judas as the next single. She said the release date would be April 19th; however, it ended up being released four days earlier. She also teased Heavy Metal Lover instrumentals.
Throughout the next few weeks, she would continue to finish the US leg of The Monster Ball Tour, as well as release more Gagavisions. April 12th saw the release of the 42nd episode where she teased Bloody Mary. She also explained the artwork for Judas and spoke about the special edition of the album. April 20th had another Gagavision. This episode had snippets of Marry the Night instrumentals. Anthony, @antpats2, remembers the episodes vividly:
"The ‘Born This Way’ era was incredibly memorable to me and will always have a special place in my heart, and I will be forever grateful to have lived through it as a Gaga stan. Through all the amazing things that happened in that time, there was one thing in particular that made it incredibly special; ‘Gagavision’ episodes.
Lady Gaga revived the short series for 4 new episodes in April 2011 to document her intense schedule in the lead up to ‘Born This Way’, the album. Initially created to document her rise to fame during her debut era, “Gagavision” episodes gave an exciting and insightful look into Lady Gaga & the Haus Of Gaga’s busy day-to-day life as they were in the midst of one of the biggest global album campaigns ever.
Each 4 of the new episodes premiered on her official YouTube channel. Gaga used these mini episodes, all filmed and edited by herself and the Haus, to tease her new music. Each episode began with a teaser of the “Heavy Metal Lover” instrumental, although we did not know it at the time, and a snippet of various other tracks from ‘Born This Way’. Instrumentals of fan favorites “Electric Chapel”, “Bloody Mary” and “Marry The Night” were also teased at the beginning of the latter 3 episodes.
In the lead up to the album release, we always had something exciting to look forward to, and thankfully we were given behind the scenes glimpses into all of them. From new singles, to TV performances, to finishing the Monster Ball tour, to TV interviews, studio time as Gaga finished the album, press events and all inbetween, Gaga’s schedule was always intense and thrilling for us fans to experience. Having insight, from her perspective, in all these special moments in the “Gagavision” episodes was so special and truly is a huge part of what made that era so memorable. I hope that that Lady Gaga and the Haus know we are so grateful to them for being able to put these episodes together for us, as they were undoubtedly running daily on little to no sleep to keep up with their schedule as they worked to put together one of the most memorable album campaigns the world will have ever seen."
On April 23rd, Lady Gaga would get a huge honor of being photographed for the summer issue of the Rolling Stone magazine.
Three days later, on April 26th, she would receive another honor - the hit show Glee doing a Born This Way themed episode. She then made her way to California where she released Gagavision 44 with the Electric Chapel instrumentals.
On April 28th and 29th, Lady Gaga was in Los Angeles for appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She performed Judas on Ellen’s show.
And she was invited on Oprah’s show as a guest for one of the very last episodes ever of the talk show. She performed an acoustic introduction of Born This Way that led to the very first television performance of You and I. These performances aired May 5th, coincidentally the same day as the release of the Judas music video.
@cantreadmyjudas recalls the moment the music video dropped:
"In 2011, I was just coming into my teenage years when Lady Gaga began to release an album, Born This Way, that later went onto to be the defining album of my teenhood along with many others as I’m sure it will for generations to come. From announcing the title at the VMA’s to prematurely ending the Born This Way Ball, the era had something for everyone that they would remember for the rest of their lives. For me, it was her interview on Carson Daly while promoting her new single Judas that Lady Gaga said the phrase I’ve played in my head over and over again: “They can’t scare me if I scare them first.” Being an outcasted kid in school hearing the conviction in Gaga’s voice deliver this sort of mantra really made me feel empowered. Then describing the song by saying: “'Judas' is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal and things that haunt you in your life and how I believe that it's the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you.” solidified the idea in my head this was going to be one of my favorite things she's ever made. And she did not disappoint. The moment I heard the first Bad Romance inspired “oh oh oh” I was hooked. The song itself has this insane production that can instantly put you in a better mood and just makes it impossible not to want to get up and dance to it and the metaphors scattered beautifully throughout the lyrics are somewhat of a religious hymn themselves. But above all else, the visual she delivered for this holy song was straight from the heavens. The biblical story Gaga told with the Judas video starring as Mary Magdalene is to this day in my opinion her best music video. The breathtaking imagery of Gaga paying homage to Boticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ painting, the lipstick gun bathtub scene when she hesitates to kill Judas, and being stoned to death at the end are just a few examples of how incredible this video was and continues to be. I’ll never forget being able to experience the Born This Way era as a whole and the complete rollout of Judas, it was truly a once in a lifetime privilege living through the history of the era as it unfolded. Being an entire decade letter, its impact hasn’t wavered on me at all and still feels as exciting as release day.
Here’s to Born This Way, Gaga and Judas for an amazing 10 years of life changing music of self anthems for years to come.
Love, Celeste @CantReadMyJudas❤️"
Phase 3: The Edge of Glory
While the Judas music video and the Oprah performances aired on May 5th, The Edge of Glory was released as a promo single on radio stations. May proved to be a very busy month for Gaga; she continued her many appearances in multiple counties over the course of just a few weeks, as well as released many other projects. She started off with an interview by E! News’ Giuliana Rancic on May 2nd.
She then had multiple radio interviews and appearances in Mexico, such as at The Press Room on May 6th.
She finished off the very last show of The Monster Ball Tour in Foro Sol, and while she was performing there, the HBO special she filmed in New York months prior aired that very night on May 7th. She was also filmed as a mentor on American Idol, which aired the next night on May 8th.
On May 9th, she kept busy by recording her interview of On the Record with Fuse, which would air May 17th.
She later performed at The Robin Hood Gala, an event supporting innovative poverty-fighting organizations in NYC. She performed 8 songs, 4 of which were off the upcoming album: You and I, Americano, Judas, and Born This Way. This was the first live performance of Americano.
The next few days, she traveled to the UK to be interviewed by designer Jean Paul Gaultier, called Gaga by Gaultier. It was produced by Dak Tirak Productions and delved into Gaga's fashion choices, music, and personal life which was released on June 13, 2011. During this time, her partnership with Zynga was announced for GagaVille, which would be released May 17th, the same day as her previously mentioned Fuse interview.
On May 11th, she then went on Le Grand Journal in France to be interviewed and to perform Judas.
Throughout all of that, she officially announced The Edge of Glory as a single. She then arrived in London for the Graham Norton Show, where she performed Judas and Born This Way.
Days later, she performed at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend on May 15th, where she performed The Edge of Glory for the first time. She told the crowd she was not supposed to be performing it, but she chose to do so anyway.
She finished her promotional tour in the UK by doing the Metro International interview on May 16th. And on May 17th, GagaVille was finally released. Our editor, Chelsea aka @MonsterChelsko on Twitter, remembers watering chrome daisies to get new music:
"I remember hearing about the partnership with Zynga on May 10th 2011. This was such a fun way for fans to have an interactive participation in hearing new music. If you finished certain tasks within the game, you had a chance to unlock Marry the Night, Electric Chapel, and Fashion of His Love. You could also unlock the album as well. I wanted to get a first listen of one of the new songs so I immediately downloaded Farmville to get a hang of the game.
This was such a riot on Twitter. We all thought it was hilarious in the best way possible. I remember the description for the game saying, "GagaVille, a farm within FarmVille, which will have crystals, unicorns and sheep on motorcycles," and I was so excited for the sheep on motorcycles; I kept tweeting about them. You could also obtain unicorns and crystals. My Twitter friends and I actually transitioned to Facebook friends so we could become "neighbors" in GagaVille. We would joke that we needed to visit each other's farms to harvest glitter for our chrome daisies. We kept tweeting Gaga to friend request us on Facebook to be our neighbors and to help us grow our daisies. Throughout the time of the game, Little Monsters got GagaVille and MTN to trend, and we kept tweeting #FarmThisWay as well. I vividly recall posting, "I'm on the right tractor, baby, I #FarmThisWay" and, "I'm just a corny fool, oh baby, farmville's so cruel, killing all my crops, baby."
After plowing my crystals and fertilizing my chrome daisies, I had finally managed to unlock Marry the Night, and I absolutely cried when I first heard it. It was such an amazing moment. By the time it was finished, others unlocked Electric Chapel and Fashion of His Love and they shared them online for others who did not have Facebook. If you continued playing and doing tasks, you obtained VIP tickets and were able to unlock the album early before the world wide release. The day the album came out, Gaga did a cd signing at Best Buy for literally 5 hours that was livestreamed online. She met each fan in line, and the one last specific memory I have from this is she kept asking the fans if they played farmville. She was so excited for this Zynga collaboration. GagaVille truly was such a unique experience that created fun memories for both Gaga and Little Monsters."
Lady Gaga made one of her infamous appearances on Saturday Night Live on May 21, 2011. Gaga was the musical guest but joined host, Justin Timberlake, for a couple of sketches. The most notorious sketch was ‘3-Way (The Golden Rule)’ by The Lonely Island and featuring Timberlake and Gaga. The digital sketch was all about the sex ‘golden rule’ which must be followed if there’s ever two guys and one girl present. The song was released on iTunes shortly thereafter. Along with the sketch appearances, Gaga promoted Born This Way by performing both its title-track and ‘Judas’. Both songs were performed on the small SNL stage but were filled with impressive and hallmark Gaga choreography.
To celebrate the release of the album ‘Born This Way’, Gaga held a signing at a New York City Best Buy. Little Monsters camped out for days prior to the event in hopes to get a wristband and get the chance to meet Lady Gaga herself. On May 23, 2011 all the lucky fans that gained entry to the event were showered with love by Gaga. The singer posed for a photo with every fan, and left them with signed CDs, signed arms, and red lipstick kisses on their cheeks.
Lady Gaga performed on American Idol on May 25, 2011. She sang the hit single ‘The Edge of Glory’ and spent the entire performance on the top of a prop that resembled a cliff. On the small platform, Gaga sang, danced, and played the piano. The performance ended with her and dancer, Mark Kanemura, freefalling forward off the makeshift cliff. She was booked three months in advance for this performance, the earliest in the show’s history.
May 27 - GMA Summer Concerts Show
On June 9, 2011 Lady Gaga performed on the finale of Germany’s Next Top Model. Gaga sang a medley to promote the album ‘Born This Way’, which included Scheiße, an acoustic version of the title-track, and ‘The Edge of Glory.’
On June 6, 2011 Lady Gaga attended the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City with her sister Natali, where she was set to receive the Prestigious Fashion Icon Award. She walked the red carpet wearing a custom made dress by Mugler and platforms by Noritaka Tatehana.
She got everyone talking about her on the red carpet when she was posing for the photographs and her dress slipped down and her nipples were exposed.
Later in the night, she accepted the award from Stephen Gan, Editor of V Magazine. During her speech, Gaga talked about how fashion was important for her and her artistry, she said she used to save money to buy Vintage Mugler pieces from a thrift shop in her neighborhood.
The highlight of her speech was when she told everyone that she mistook Anna Wintour with one of her friends after being texted that she has been selected to receive the awards and texting Anna back 'YES BITCH WE DID IT.' with her replying 'How Lovely'.
Lady Gaga was both a speaker and performer at EuroPride Roma on June 11, 2011. She opened her speech with a little cappella snippet of the song ‘Born This Way’. Gaga spoke about her passion for equality and social justice, and how her greater mission “is to be part of the joyous mobilization of the LGBT community worldwide.” The singer told the audience that it was their bravery and courage that inspires her, and spoke about the fact that there is such severe censorship of LGBT in the media and news. Gaga proclaimed that what means the most to her in her career is for all their stories to be heard by the world, and asked governments worldwide to facilitate our dream of equality. For the performance segment, Gaga sang both ‘Born This Way’ and ‘The Edge of Glory’ while playing the piano.
The video of The Edge of Glory was teased by former House Member, Laurienne GIbson on June 17th. The video was described as "very fishy", hinting the fact that Lady Gaga would have appeared as a Mermaid. Joseph Khan (Britney Spears' Toxic), was the original director of the video. After rumors of an argument between Gaga and Kahn, Laurieann Gibson said on Twitter that there had been issues on the set and Kahn was no longer involved in the production. Lady Gaga addressed the subject just a few months later saying: "I had this whole elaborate setup for ‘The Edge of Glory’, but once I got on that fire escape in that one outfit, I realized that it was time to just have a moment of acknowledgment for myself as a 25-year-old who has been working so hard from the bottom up my whole life."
After the video release, Gaga began a promotional tour for the album. She was able to visit some countries in Asia and Australia to promote the album.
Phase 4: You and I
Philip Rodriguez recalls Yoü and I:
“My FAVORITE Gaga song definitely has to be Yoü and I. I remember hearing all the live versions before the official version came out and falling in love. When I found out it was going to be a single I was ecstatic! All of the veteran stans had known about Jo Calderone and how secretive their existence was so when he was revealed on the single cover everyone was SHOOK! I remember the anticipation of her tweeting that her 1000th tweet was going to be a link to the music video and waiting all day every day for her to tweet. Unfortunately she ran into a pop emergency when the video started to leak earlier in the week that it was scheduled to be released and she had to release it early… Tweeting ‘FUCK’ ‘THURS’ ‘DAY’ to finally reach her 1000th tweet. When the video finally premiered I was so happy with the end result. I loved all the different characters she played from Yuyi to Jo and the teal leather look is one of my favorites to this day!”
Lady Gaga appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on July 28, 2011. She donned an iconic headpiece by Philip Treacy that spelled Gaga with feathers. Gaga talked about her fashion archive, curing her unforgettable meat dress, recording the album ‘Born This Way’ on her tour bus, and joked that she wouldn’t still love her future child if they weren’t gay. In addition to the interview, Gaga performed ‘You and I’ along with ‘The Edge of Glory’. Gaga also sang ‘Hair’, ‘Born This Way’, and ‘Judas’ but they were not aired.
The Video Music Awards were a very pivotal moment for the Pop Culture in 2011. Following the unforgettable year where Lady Gaga announced the title Born This Way in her meat dress, everyone was expecting even a bigger event for this edition. Everyone knew that Lady Gaga would have dominated the scene once again with her otherwordly looks.
All the other celebrities did their best to put on creative outfits that year on the red carpet, but Lady Gaga, was ahead once again. She opened the show of the VMAs as Jo Calderone, her male Alter-ego saying that "Gaga was home". Back in 2010, this mysterious model appeared on the cover of Vogue Homme Japan. The resemblance with Lady Gaga was clear, but no one ever confirmed it.
It was just one year later that everyone understood.
Jo Calderone opened the VMAs with a spectacular performance of You and I with the iconic Bryan May from the Queen.
Later that day Jo Calderone accepted the awards for Best Female, and awarded Britney Spears with her Michael Jackson Van Guard Award, almost managing to snatch a kiss from her.
On that night, everyone understood, that there is no race when Lady Gaga is in the competition.
Gaga appeared on Jonathan Ross on October 8, 2011 to promote Born This Way and her single ‘You and I’. Lady Gaga entered the stage with a sheep named ‘Kevin’ which she “gifted” to Ross for his birthday. She spoke about making the ‘You and I’ music video, the infamous meat dress, and working with Tony Bennett. To bring the show to a close, she gave an impressive performance of the song ‘You and I’ on a stage set that resembled the music video. The performance was done half at the piano and the other half doing the song’s choreography.
For Sting’s 60th birthday, the singer and icon hosted a concert. The concert took place on October 1, 2011. His set was filled with duets with some of his friends including Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel. Lady Gaga was one of Sting’s guest performers and the pair sang a rendition of ‘King of Pain’ with Gaga on the piano and Sting at the guitar. They received a standing ovation for their performance, and it was just yet another moment where we saw how appreciated Lady Gaga is by the best of the best.
The iHeartRadio Music Festival took place on September 24, 2011. The show featured numerous artists such as Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, and Jay-Z. Gaga had an entire special stage built for her set, and even went over the 45 minutes she’d been allotted. The singer joked that “they told me I was only allowed to play for 45 minutes. But I think you’re all pretty drunk so you probably don’t know what time it is do you?”. She called the performance a “Surrogate Monster Ball” and sang numerous songs across her three albums. Gaga also included two songs by Sting (‘Stand By Me’ and ‘King of Pain’) and was joined onstage by the legend himself.
Phase 5: Marry The Night November 15th 2011
October 19th - Marry The Night by @lazarus
Marry The Night is Gaga’s most personal and meaningful music video to date. This fan favourite was directed entirely by Gaga herself and tells a story that is dark, sad and heartbreaking, but one in which she displays her persistence and unmatchable dedication to her art.
The filming of the music video started on October 10th, 2011. On the next day a video from the shooting scene was posted online that made the entire fanbase freak out - Gaga on top of a car, dressed in leather, surrounded with fire. She was giving us everything we could’ve asked for. Almost a month later, on November 17th, Gaga shared a short clip from the opening of the video titled The Prelude Pathetique. Gaga explains that when she looks back on her life she chooses to remember her trauma artistically to “fill in the ugly holes and make it beautiful again”. In an interview with E! she explains that “even though the video is autobiographical, there is an element of surrealism that was important to me.”
The scene is an emotional one. It is happening in what seems to be a psychiatric clinic. At one shot you can see bruises on Gaga’s back, which for a long time were thought to be a metaphor for Gaga being “stabbed in the back”. The directions from the nurse make it sound like Gaga had either an abortion or a miscarriage, which at the time was thought to be a metaphor for the loss of her music when Def Jan dropped her. When connecting the dots with Gaga’s latest interview for The Me You Don’t See, it can be assumed that the scene is about the time her producer threatened to burn her music after which she was sexually abused and left pregnant.
In one of the following scenes Gaga is seen naked in her apartment. “The moment in the music video accounts for the day in my life that I was not only in this clinic, but on that same exact day I was dropped from my first record label” She called this “the most autobiographical part of the video” as she had to relive the experience exactly as it really happened and completely blacked out after shooting it. The entire unreleased scene is about 30 minutes long.
As heartbreaking as all of this is, the video is about not giving up because of the terrible experiences you’ve gone through. As Gaga goes on to explain, ”It was important to me to push the boundaries of how far we can go with the reality of how terrifying it truly was and how I can twist the reality of what happened into something that is victorious to me in the end.”
And victorious she was. After dying her hair, covering her jean jacket with sparkly patches, she did what any girl would do. She did it all over again. She went back to the studio and got back to work.
By the end of what I think is the best outro any song/music video has ever had, Gaga scores a meeting at the Interscope headquarters which led to her contract and ultimately the blow up of her music career.
The MTV Europe Music Awards took place in Belfast, Northern Island on November 6th 2011, Lady Gaga led the nominations with 7 and went home with 4 including ‘Song Of The Year’ and ‘Best Video’. Gaga wore 5 looks from Paco Rabane and hats by Philip Tracy. The highlight of the night was Gaga’s performance of ‘Marry The Night’ on a gigantic moon made for the occasion, She started the performance laying on top of the moon showing her powerful vocal abilities, and then went down to the stage and joined her dancers after the bridge to give an iconic dance routine and finishing with a pose that none of us would ever forget.
Lady Gaga gave a riveting piano performance of Marry The Night at the Bambi Awards on November 10, 2011. The piano was made on the inside of the door of a prop car that was on stage. She accompanied herself on the instrument for the majority of the song, only breaking free during the bridge, and showcasing her powerhouse vocals. Right after the performance she was awarded the ‘Pop International’ Award and ended her speech with the catchphrase “we were Born This Way.”
Marry The Night’s third performance was on the UK X Factor. Gaga took the stage on November 13, 2011 for a very vocally strong performance. She wore a costume to make her look beheaded and only began dancing for one final dance break at the end of the song. During a mini post-performance interview on stage Gaga announced that she’d just finished designing the stage for the Born This Way Ball and boasted that it would be “bigger and better than ever.”
The luxury department stores Barneys, announced on November 21 that a very special exhibition inspired by Lady Gaga was about to be released in New York.
Lady Gaga worked with many artists to create custom pieces for the holidays.
Earlier November, ABC announced that Lady Gaga would host a special show for Thanksgiving. The 90-minutes Special, called A Very Gaga Thanksgiving, aired on November 24th, during which Gaga performed the hit singles from Born This Way, but also Hair, Bad Romance and The Lady is a Tramp with Tony Bennett. After the show ended, Lady Gaga released the audio from the show on iTunes.
To end a perfect year, Lady Gaga was called by the New York Mayor to press the ball for the New York's Even Countdown. Lady Gaga even managed to put a little show live that took place in Times Square.
The Born This Way Foundation
The Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) was founded on November 2, 2011. This non-profit organization has become part of Lady Gaga’s legacy, as she is the co-founder with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. Gaga has opened up about the bullying she endured during school and the mental health issues she’s faced. Due to her experiences, the singer and activist wanted to create something to support the youth. As described by the foundation itself, they “support the mental health of young people and work with them to create a kinder and braver world. Through high impact programming, youth led conversations and strategic, cross-sectoral partnerships, we aim to make kindness cool, validate the emotions of young people, and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health.” You can learn more about the foundation, and make a donation, at: https://bornthisway.foundation/
At some point in 2010, random rumors started circulating the tabloids: Lady Gaga was in talks to release her very first Eau de parfum. Word has it, that the idea was to make a fragrance that would smell like Semen and Blood. Gaga herself debunked the rumor some months later, in an interview with The Kyle & Jackie O Show, saying that she was, in fact, releasing a new fragrance, but that it would smell like an "expensive hooker".
During a press conference on June 14, 2012, Lady Gaga announced FAME: "The first ever black Eau de perfume", produced by a new company called "Haus Laboratories", located in Paris.
The design of the bottle, designed in collaboration with Nick Knight, had this very Gaga-look, with transparent glass, revealing the deep black fluid inside.
The fragrance became an immediate hit, with its spectacular black liquid, which became transparent once poured, reached the top sales of the fragrance marked in no time.
The official commercial for the perfume featuring the song Scheiße, was released on September 13 in what was called a "Safe Version". The commercial, in fact, had many different versions, including one where Gaga killed all the men featured in the commercial.
The success of the fragrance grew even more. Coty announced a world promotional tour for the fragrance, hitting all the major beauty shops around the world, including London's Harrods, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as the major Sephora store in Paris.
In each city, Lady Gaga arrived with a spectacular entrance or performing little art installment like the sleeping beauty.
The Born This Way Ball
Narrated by @hiimer0s
Is there anything more memorable than the Born this Way Ball tour throughout the era? It all started in 2012 when gaga tweeted the initial sketch of the tour with the promising “Monster Pit”. The stage, as you all know, is monumental ... a living castle that opened and closed in different parts of the show, totally theatrical and magnificent ... it was a unique experience for all the fans who were able to visit it.
The tour started in Asia and traveled all over the world, Gaga wanted to ensure that all her fans, from different places, could experience the magic that is her show and also for her to be able to experience the different energies and forms of love for places that she had not visited until then.
Gaga was able to visit places like Africa, South America, all of Europe, Asia, Russia, Australia and Canada.
Of all the memorable places, I can only say about my experience in Brazil. It seemed like a distant dream and almost impossible to have the opportunity to meet Lady Gaga at a show. I remember that Gaga announced the tour dates on her website littermonsters.com in August 2012, two days before my birthday and ticket sales started the day after. It was so exciting, I couldn't believe or absorb the idea of Lady Gaga visiting my country.
Lady Gaga was enchanted with Brazil, visited the favelas present in Rio de Janeiro, enchanted with the love of fans in São Paulo and Porto Alegre. Experiencing that for the first time was unforgettable, I remember that I gathered all the money I had at the time, as a teenager, to be able to buy tickets, get a nice outfit and go with friends to the show. That moment lives in my memory as if it happened yesterday. It was in São Paulo that Gaga gave us the first love of the song “The Queen”, present in the special version of the album.
I can speak for everyone who, like me, had Born this Way Ball as the only moment in our lives in contact with Gaga: It is unforgettable and exciting the magic that overflows from a human being as pure and genuine as Gaga.
The end of the tour was not the dream everyone expected. During the end of the leg in Canada, Lady Gaga suffered an injury to her hip that left her unable to continue with the tour of North America.
You can relive the best moments of the tour all over the world in our gallery.
Watch a fan made video for the Born This Way Ball Tour
As one last throwback, here is our video fan project for The Edge of Glory we did 10 years ago.
Make sure to come back tomorrow for a very special interview with The Haus of Gaga.