Lady Gaga surrounded by Bradley Cooper and Frank Rousseau
Interviewing Lady Gaga is a bit like playing with fire or with an unpinned grenade. You keep expecting a flashback flame or for her to explode in your face. Long uncontrollable, unpredictable even, the offbeat, outlandish international pop phenomenon has decided to change. How? By opting for a more classic style, as epitomised by her role as Ally in the remake of “A Star is Born” directed by the actor Bradley Cooper. But for now, we are interested in the star who has flair, particularly when she talks about wine.
Before you, Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand played the singer who shoots to stardom. When you signed up to star in this film, did you think you would become a part of the legend?
Not at all! I never thought to myself, "I wanted to make this film because it will change my career!”. No, I chose to make this film, first because I'm a fan of Bradley Cooper, then because it's his first feature film behind the camera. I was also excited to act alongside him, but above all it’s because I've always been fascinated by this story!
In “A Star is born”, there is a scene in which the character played by Bradley Cooper goes to a bar and he hears your character singing. And then the guy goes, "Wow”. He's blown away. Have you ever had this kind of feeling with someone before?
Yep! I remember when I was a kid, I must have been six years old, my father sang “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen to me. It was the first time he had ever sung Springsteen. And what's more, it was just for me. I can still see him as if it was yesterday. He had taken me in his arms and with tears in his eyes, he looked me straight in the eye and said: “I don't want to see you grow up! I want you to stay my baby girl”. I love this song because I've always been an unconditional Bruce Springsteen fan. The kind of person who's really addicted! My father was a music fanatic. He also loves singing Pink Floyd, Billy Joel and so many others! At home, we also listened to a lot of jazz. I really grew up to the sound of music! Being on the bill of “A Star is Born” allows me to combine two of my life’s passions: singing and acting!
Your parents were Italian immigrants. What is the Italian part of you? How do you know you have Italian blood in your veins?
There's my nose for starters! At school, people used to make fun of my looks. I was different from the other girls in the playground. They were all blond with blue eyes and tall with great figures. They had a perfectly symmetrical face, fine features and clear skin. It made me very uncomfortable at first. I felt so different. And then things changed! One day, I started to grow up, to mature. I realised then that my nose and everything else was kind of my heritage - one that I should not deny but of which I should be proud. Basically, I like what smells good, I like to smell the products that Nature and the Earth offer us, the flowers, the fruits, etc. And my nose is very sensitive to that. I also like family meals with big tables and endless discussions about good wines!
Where does this love of wine come from?
My aunt owned a restaurant. She has now passed away but I remember how mindful she was of the quality of the wines on her list! For her, it was the soul of a restaurant. Joanne was convinced that if you served plonk, people would come to the conclusion that your food was of the same ilk! I have often been to Italy and I quickly understood that wine there was much more than a drink. That it is about much more than lifestyle. It is a vocation. Moreover, if you look closely, since time immemorial, wine has always been a part of many religions. The symbolism it represents is still very strong today.
I thought you were contemplating making a Lady Gaga wine?
Yes, it is a dream that I hope will one day come true. I write songs. I also compose. Wine is a new score that I would like to add to my art form, because making wine is an art! I'm not talking about the art of living. I mean art in the sense that you start with a raw material, grapes in this case, and from there you have to “compose” or “assemble”, in order to obtain a finished drink that will last for decades.
This may sound strange, but I have a question about Christmas for you. What does a tree decorated by Lady Gaga look like?
How do you imagine it?
To be honest, wacky!
That's exactly it! Traditionally, I decorate my tree with the album or singles I have written. This year, it will be with CDs of “A Star is Born”. Apart than that, I love to cook. Gaga tomato sauce is to die for. And the wine I serve would revive the taste buds of a corpse!
Interviewed in Venice (Italy) and Toronto (Canada) by Frank Rousseau, our correspondent in the United States