American popstar Lady Gaga has gifted Austin’s South By Southwest music conference with plentiful controversy, giving a teary keynote interview about the music industry the day after letting an abstract ‘vomit artist’ puke on her during a performance.
In her keynote speech, which took place at Austin’s Hilton Hotel, Mother Monster discussed the current state of the music industry, positing that the corporate sponsorships behind many of SXSW’s performances is necessary because, “Without sponsorships, without these companies coming together to help us, we won’t have any artists coming to SXSW and we won’t have any festivals, because record labels don’t have any money.”
Sporting blonde dreadlocks and a giant clear plastic dress, Gaga offered advice to the audience: “Don’t sell out to this business. Sell in,” she said. “As you get more successful, they push the rule book at you more,” the singer said of record executives.
Gaga then explained that the largely underwhelming public reaction to her latest album Artpop only highlights the fact that the music industry’s priorities have been set against her. “I’m very proud [of Artpop]… I’m held to such an insane standard and it’s almost like everybody forgets where the music business is now.”
She went on to say that she would rather lose her commercial backing than be stripped of her self-proclaimed originality, dismissing comparisons to fellow pop artist Katy Perry:
“I don’t know what the fuck I have to do with Katy Perry. My music is so completely different and I couldn’t be more different… The sad part is at some point you have to look at those people who believe in you and say, ‘My talent matters more to me than the money does. What I have to say matters more to me than the money does.’ I would give it all up tomorrow if I had to sell my soul. I will retire from the commercial market if I can’t be myself.”
Despite being signed to a major label, and having her SXSW show sponsored by Doritos, Gaga discussed the importance of her music being independent. “I refuse to be compromised and allow my talents to be monetised to the point where I don’t want to be here anymore,” she said. “I will stop. I will quit. I will retire from the commercial market if I have to be something other than myself. I’ll be myself until they close the fucking coffin.”
Lady Gaga began to cry as she discussed the power of music. “When your friend plays a bassline that gets inside your heart and your spirit,” she said, wiping a tear from her cheek, “that’s what the fuck it’s all about”.
Gaga also discussed her SXSW performance during the hour-long keynote, explaining the idea behind getting ‘vomit artist’ Millie Brown to vomit neon liquid onto her as she performed her song Swine. Readers can check out footage of the performance below.
“I’ve known Millie (Brown) for I think like five years now and we’ve actually collaborated before…she was just in town and so we thought we would collaborate again,” Gaga explained. “It was just exciting to see people talk about performance art on the internet. We really just did it because we believe in the performance and we believe in what it meant to the song.”
“Martin Luther King thought he could start a revolution without violence and Andy Warhol thought he could make a soup can into art. Sometimes things that are really strange can change the world… I’m not saying vomit’s going to change the world.”
Gaga also revealed that she will be released a new music video in just over a week’s time, and that “a whole second part of Artpop” is ready to go if need be. Lady Gaga will be in Australia this August for artRAVE, The ARTPOP Ball, in support of her third album ARTPOP.
Watch: Lady Gaga – SXSW Keynote Interview 3/15/2014
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