“Chromatica,” out May 29, will be Gaga’s first album since 2016’s “Joanne.” The music takes Gaga back to her dance-pop roots, while she promises that the messaging touches on more serious subject matter than ever before. Talking with Lowe, Gaga delved into her struggles with mental health and how they played into the album’s artistic process.
“I think that the beginning of the album really symbolizes, for me, what I would call the beginning of my journey to healing, and what I would hope would be an inspiration for people that are in need of healing through happiness, through dance,” Gaga said. “And that’s in what I would call radical acceptance… For example, I know that I have mental issues; I know that they can be sometimes rendering me nonfunctional as a human. But I radically accept that this is real.”
This philosophy of acceptance helped Gaga to forgive herself for past destructive behavior, including self-harm, she says.
“I forgive myself for all the ways I’ve punished myself in private. I’ve been open about the fact that I used to cut. And I’ve been open about the fact that I have had masochistic tendencies that are not healthy,” Gaga said. “They’re ways of expressing shame. They’re ways of expressing feeling not good enough, but actually they’re not effective. They just make you feel worse.”
Gaga described the album as a journey through pain toward healing, and hopes to encourage those who are also suffering to view it as a sign of their own humanity and forgive themselves, too.
“If you’re listening to this album and you’re suffering in any type of way, just know that that suffering within itself is a sign of your humanity and you are not broken. You are connected to the whole world and we are one giant body. We are one full entity,” Gaga said. “And the whole you is having a whole human experience and there might be parts of your life that feel completely shallow or robotic or ancillary and unimportant, and that’s okay, but that suffering is a sign that you’re real and it’s a way to ground yourself.”
Gaga also opened up about her experience with sexual assault in the interview, detailing that the song “Free Woman” is about working through the shame associated with being a survivor and finally freeing herself from it.
“I was sexually assaulted by a music producer,” Gaga said. “It’s compounded all of my feelings about life, feelings about the world, feelings about the industry, what I had to compromise and go through to get to where I am.”
Gaga’s mentor, Elton John, who appears on the song “SINE From Above,” also played a large role in her road to recovery.
“Elton’s always really challenged me to take care of my artistry and to really take care of myself. And I really, really honor that about him. He is so, so uniquely special,” Gaga said. “And I cannot tell you how instrumental in my life he’s been to showing me that you can go all the way in life and… be authentic and be you and do good things in the world and take care of yourself and be there.”
In addition, Gaga talked about her budding relationship with Ariana Grande, who is featured on the song “Rain on Me.” Gaga said that because she didn’t have a female mentor in the entertainment industry when she was younger, she found it healing to impart some wisdom on Grande.
Working with Grande was a “very healing process for me too, not necessarily having a female artist that mentored me as I came up,” Gaga said. “And being able to be with her and hold her and be like, ‘Anything that you feel chains you, any pop cultural construct that you feel you have to live up to, I’d you to please forget about it and be yourself.'”
“Chromatica” was originally due April 10, but with the outbreak of COVID-19, Gaga decided to postpone the release and focus on partnering with World Health Organization and Global Citizen for the “One World: Together At Home” benefit concert. Now, Gaga said she can’t wait until she can celebrate the album properly with her fans.
“I was just talking to my friends, and I was saying, ‘I can’t wait to dance with people to this music. I can’t wait to just go into any space with a whole bunch of people, and blast this as loud as possible to show them how much I love them.’ Until then, I hope that they listen to this record, and go on not only my personal journey with me, and dance through all the pain, but also go through their own journey, and dance through all their pain.”