Redefining a Generation of Pop Culture
There are many who have a career in music on some level or another. Certain musicians become one-hit wonders and shortly die out while others live on and are still listened to by your children’s children. In this day in age, the music scene is so widespread that it is difficult to pin one specific genre to the time period as could be done in years past. Even with the changing times, “pop” (define that as you will) remains king as it consistently dominates the Billboard charts and is fusing into many different styles and approaches. At the helm of this revolution emerges a woman who routinely shocks her audience with her wild antics and unbridled behavior. You know her as Lady Gaga, and aside from putting out popular and catchy club beats is leading the way as a cultural icon and forerunner for the “creative class” of people to come.
One thing is certain, Lady Gaga is strange. From her polar bear dress to her blood covered performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, you can definitely depend on her to not be boring. What I find most intriguing about Lady Gaga is her past and what brought her to the point she is at today. Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Lady Gaga grew up in the Upper East Side of Manhattan where she took up piano early on. Years later she was accepted into NYU where she would study music for a couple years before dropping out, to pursue her musical career in a different direction.
Lady Gaga is an extremely talented musician with a beautiful voice and inspiring piano skills. Check out a performance of hers at NYU while she was still “Stefani”: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM51qOpwcIM] She could have made it as a Vanessa Carlton-esque artist, and that would have easily paid the bills, but she didn’t. She decided to take it a step further and take a risk on going a route that not many had done before. This risk is seeming to be paying off tenfold.
At age 19, Lady Gaga (still Stefani at that time) was picked up by Def Jam for a total of three months before being let go. It was then she began experimenting with drugs (shocking, right?) and dancing at ne0-burlesque clubs (Not going to lie, I had to look up what those were. Click on the link if you want to learn further). Out of this came several connections which would ultimately land her with Interscope records, initially writing songs for already famous pop artists. A casual day at Interscope allowed her voice to be heard by Akon, who recognized her vocal potential and signed her to a signing deal with his Kon Love Distribution label (The irony here is that Akon recognized her vocal abilities. I wonder if he would have given himself a job, given his vocal abilities). Anyway, it was from here that the Lady Gaga we know today was born.
The main point I wish to portray is that Lady Gaga could have been “normal” and had a great career in music, but she never thought of herself as “normal”, and what does society know anyway. Her leap of faith has also come with several side benefits. Lady Gaga has been named chief creative officer for a line of Polaroid products, where she will be able to employ her unique views and inventive mindset. Additionally, Lady Gaga was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2009.
Our society is quickly spiraling into a socioeconomic “creative class”. Essentially, “creative” jobs are becoming more and more prevalent as our country is developing a culture of aesthetic ingenuity, and as this is becoming visible through several lines of work. Lady Gaga paints an ideal picture of the behavioral mindset that is being advanced in this generation, particularly in the world of pop culture. Not everyone is nearly as weird as Lady Gaga, which for the sake of the world is a good thing. A little weirdness, however, is often the cornerstone of creativity.
Few people define a generation of popular culture. Madonna did. Will Lady Gaga be next? I’ll tell you one thing, she is smart enough to if she wants it. For now I will leave you with her newest video for the song “Alejandro”, which you can see at the top of this page. Yeah, I don’t know what’s happening either.