Everything We Know So Far About Lady Gaga's 'Extremely Autobiographical' New Album Joanne, in Her Words
The pop star, 30, announced her new album will drop Oct. 21 and will be called Joanne.
Formerly dubbed “LG5,” Joanne – Gaga’s fifth full-length effort – is the Grammy winners first solo record since she released ARTPOP in 2013.
Gaga released her first single off the album, “Perfect Illusion,” last week, and it’s a raw departure for the pop star.
In between records, the musician also won a Grammy with pal Tony Bennett for their jazz duets album, took home a Golden Globe for her frighteningly entertaining turn on American Horror Story and scored an Oscar nomination for “Til It Happens to You,” an anthemic ballad inspired by sexual assault on college campuses.
While Gaga spent time in the studio recording eight new songs with mega-hitmaker RedOne, she appears to have moved in a more throwback rock direction with the new album, working with producers like Mark Ronson.
Here’s everything Gaga revealed in her enlightening catch-up with Lowe.
The album is named after her aunt, who died of lupus before she was even born.
Gaga has long expressed the tight-knit spiritual relationship she feels toward her aunt Joanne Germanotta, even though she died years before she was born. Joanne lived with lupus, but after she was raped in college at age 19, the disease that attacks the immune system flared up with such force, she died.
“[The song ”Joanne”] is like the real, true heart and soul of the record … and the decision, ultimately, to name the album Joanne was in tribute to my father’s sister. The death of her in his family and in his life really left a scar and a wound that never healed,” Gaga said.
The singer added some soul-searching and quality time spent with her family led to the new music on the album.
“I returned to my home life and spending time with my friends and hanging out with my family and getting out of the mainstream limelight for a minute,” Gaga said. “What I realized is it’s the experiences of our families and our challenges and our toughness that make us who we are. It’s everything about Joanne – who also happens to be my middle name; I was also named after her … It’s all the toughness of the pain that happened as a result of losing her that made us all strong and made us all who we are. She is the woman of the past who is … helping me bring more of my honest-woman self into the future.
The album will be at least 11 songs long.
“I think there’s going to be 11 songs on the main record and then 14 on the deluxe,” Gaga told Lowe. “But please don’t quote me on that!”
The album art will also pay homage to Gaga’s aunt Joanne.
Gaga released the Joanne album art Thursday, as well, and Lowe got a sneak peek of the soon-to-be final product. The radio personality called the design “simple, effective, timeless” – and Gaga revealed her aunt’s own signature appears on the back of the album.
In addition, inside the physical copy, there will be images of Joanne’s past, including photos, letters between her father and aunt and her ID.
“The day that that album comes out will be such a day of healing for me and my family – and for my father,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful way to feel like she’s getting to live the rest of the life that she never got to.”
Gaga will get even more personal.
“Every single song, every one of those is extremely autobiographical and all about me – as my father’s daughter and my mother’s daughter,” Gaga says of the album. “[I’m] just an Italian American girl, a city girl, that is now venturing off into new territory.”
There’s no telling whether her relationship with Taylor Kinney inspired any of the tracks (the pair called off their engagement in July) – but Gaga does give a glimpse into her love life.
“There’s the record ‘John Wayne’ on the album, a song about my kind of incessant need to run after wild men and that somehow I get bored of the same old John. This is a fantastic song,” says of one of the cuts.
“And ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ with Father John Misty: This song is about singing to a man, just tellin’ him, ‘Look, I don’t want to break the heart of any other man but you, but I know that I’m a sinner,'” she said of another.
There will be some country and Bollywood vibes on the album, too.
“Hilary Lindsay, she’s a country writer, so there’s definitely a tinge of that in the album as well,” Gaga said. “She’s from Nashville [and] a fantastic songwriter. We know her from [Little Big Town’s] ‘Girl Crush’ and [Carrie Underwood‘s] ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’: She wrote both of those songs, massive, massive hits. She’s incredibly talented and sweet. She worked on the record too and was here this week doing some background vocals with me. There’s such a camaraderie between us.”
There are some lucky souls out there who have already heard – and loved! – Joanne.
“I was in London and met all [Mark Ronson’s] friends. He’s always like, ‘Make sure that when you play things for people, you play the right mixes!’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, of course, leave me alone – I know,'” Gaga says. “I get to London, and everybody’s in the club – it’s so smoky, it’s 130 degrees. Everybody’s been drinking, and they’re all coming up to me like, ‘Oh my God, the album is incredible!’ I just looked over at Mark, like, ‘Really, brother?'”