Lady Gaga on Her Song "Til It Happens to You": "I Wanted It to Be Empowering"

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Lady Gaga

The singer wrote and performed the original song for the documentary 'The Hunting Ground,' which focuses on sexual assault on college campuses.

In an appearance at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills tonight, Lady Gaga performed the song "Til It Happens to You," which she co-wrote for the feature documentary The Hunting Ground, Kirby Dick's film about sexual assaults on American college campuses.

Recently, Lady Gaga opened up about being a rape survivor, saying she channeled her personal experience into the song. At a TimesTalks panel Dec. 10 to promote the film, she elaborated, saying, "Because of the way that I dress and the way that I'm provocative as a person, I thought that I had brought it on myself in some way, that it was my fault."

The Hunting Ground focuses on the epidemic of sexual assaults and the growing network of student activists who are working to combat the violence. Directed by Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, the film is one of 15 documentaries shortlisted for an Oscar nomination for best documentary feature.

"Til It Happens to You" is also in Oscar contention, already having been nominated for a Grammy. Gaga co-wrote the song with Diane Warren, a seven-time Oscar nominee for songs that have been featured in films including Pearl Harbor, Armageddon and Beyond the Lights.


"I always tell this story about how Diane had to convince me that it was OK to sing about this and reveal this thing about myself," said Gaga before she performed the song during a reception following a screening of the film.

As she began to tear up, Gaga thanked the filmmakers, saying, "Thank you for allowing me to be a part of something truly authentic."
In the corner of the intimate gathering, she sat down at the keyboard with Warren to belt out the melody for the partygoers, who included the filmmakers and several of the rape survivors and activists from the documentary.
After her performance, Gaga made a plea to attendees, saying, "If you are taking care of young people in the industry, make sure you ask them lots of things about their sexuality and well-being."
The Hollywood Reporter talked with Warren about her creative process behind writing the song. "It starts out vulnerable and then defiant, just like the girls in this movie," she said. "I wanted to write a song about what these girls went through, and I wanted it to be empowering. And then, outside of the movie, I wanted it to be whatever you wanted it to be about, like bullying or grief."
Warren said her experience working with Gaga was "amazing," adding, "She brought it to life. When I brought it to her, it was a very somber ballad, and she had this vision of making it this epic song."
Watch the music video for "Til It Happens to You" below.

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