Lady Gaga Talks 'ARTPOP,' Depression at SiriusXM Town Hall: 'I Cue Culture'

THR rounds up the 10 top moments of the pop star's Nov. 8 interview, including thoughts on an upcoming Virgin Galactic flight: "I did not come this far to be afraid to go to space!"
Neilson Barnard
Lady Gaga

“I refuse to do what I don’t want to do,” Lady Gaga declared during her “Town Hall” discussion at Sirius XM on Nov. 8. “I am the artist and culture doesn’t cue me. I cue culture.”

Therefore, consider the singer’s fourth studio album ARTPOP her latest alert to culture at large. With a mobile app, space debut and secret – but stream-able – album release party on Sunday, Gaga reveals details about the many tricks up her sleeve, and the depressing but delicious journey that they entail:

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1.  ARTPOP has a pet. Gaga treated fans to a first look of PETGA, her free app with a pet-Gaga who guides fans into remixing and scratching her new tracks, creating animated GIFs and connecting to her Little Monsters social network, with options to live-deejay music with other fans in the future. Each user’s “aura,” or abstract avatar scanned via the device’s front camera, changes colors based on activity on the app. “We’ve been working on it for two years – I was in a wheelchair for six months, so I had a lot of time,” she said of the tech project that drops Sunday. She noted her app would’ve been released sooner, but “made the decision not to with Born This Way because I felt that the message [of that album] really needed to be paramount.”

2.  Chicago sounds good to Gaga. As boyfriend Taylor Kinney’s Chicago Fire tapes on location, a big source of Gaga’s inspiration for ARTPOP roots from Chicago, also the hometown of “Do What U Want” collaborator R. Kelly and album producer Paul Blair (aka DJ White Shadow). The born-and-bred New Yorker became interested in how the regional releases have affected French and German house and techno music. “It just sort of became something I really became obsessed with – and they let me go out and have drinks without it being crazy,” she said, later adding the city’s deep dish pizza as a plus.

3.  She’s not actively pursuing acting. Though the singer appears in Machete Kills and the upcoming Sin City 2, don’t expect her to front a blockbuster anytime soon. “I’ve had some offers for a couple different things – one in particular I really, really love – but I’m really a musician,” said Gaga, who previously attending acting school. “I really want to do it when it’s the right director and the right time.”

4.  Her space voyage in 2015 involves two performances. Gaga explained that she will perform on the spacecraft, simultaneously streamed at a concert at Ground Zero. Then she’ll return and perform on the Ground Zero stage in person. “Everyone that flies on Virgin Galactic is required to pay for their flight, and it’s a trip to space, but they asked me and I don’t have to pay for my flight, which is great, because it’s mostly for rich people ... I did not come this far to be afraid to go to space!”

5. Her depressions are part of her creative cycle. “It’s so much easier for me to just admit to that it happens, “she said of her “severely depressed” state after wrapping an album, adding that she’s never been a satisfied patient of psychiatry but always finds solace through the creative production of touring. “I love performing live so much, so that really saves me.”

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6. More industry experience means less to her. “I find producers that have been in the industry for a long time to be very oppressive and very unsupportive of my natural talents because I’m blonde, female, and I have tits and an ass and I’m sexual onstage, so I must not know anything about music,” she said, then praising ARTPOP producers Madeon, Zedd, RedOne, DJ White Shadow and “These were experiences where they respect me as a musician, as an artist, as a songwriter, as a woman, and as a visionary. When I go in there, it’s equal standing.”

7. She’s got motherhood on her mind. Yes, even Lady Gaga is looking to settle down eventually and have at least three kids, she said. “Having my own kids will be like having three little monsters with me all the time – they probably won’t be fans, in fact, they’ll probably hate my music, who knows!”

8. Dope isn’t on the table at this time. When asked what weird thing she does when alone, Gaga responded, “I smoke weed and listen to R. Kelly, and I listen to metal, and watch TV and eat pizza.” She then clarified that the habit of her ARTPOP ballad’s title is currently in the past. “I don’t smoke right now actually.”

9.  ARTPOP isn’t just Gaga’s creative project. The singer said she has been touting the hour-long album at the gym for her workout soundtracks. “I lost about thirty pounds to this album – I’m sure you saw the pictures,” she said of combating her widely-criticized weight gain.

10. Watch for more of her startup-like initiatives. Consider her upcoming app and her artRave concert on Sunday – a festival of fashion, art, music and technology, to be held at a secret NYC location but also streaming live on VEVO – just the tip of the iceberg for Gaga. “I just feel like the corporate music industry is so oppressive – I’m told what I have to make and how I have to make it to get played on the radio, to be appropriate. This is not how music used to be. It was you were the artist, and what you had to say was gold…I will not allow these corporations to run me; I will not allow the music business to tell me what I can and cannot be to be a pop star. I am the artist. I tell you what I am.”

ARTPOP is available worldwide on Nov. 11.

Twitter: @cashleelee