At the beginning of March, Lady Gaga announced the initial dates of her “Chromatica Ball” tour promoting her new album, which would have seen her playing a half dozen dates in Europe and the U.S., concluding at MetLife Stadium on August 19. Well, we all know what happened next, and while a canceled tour is hardly the end of the world, as a preview of her appearance on the VMAs this Sunday, Gaga vented a little bit in a pair of recent social media posts.
In the first clip, posted Thursday and captioned “When you want to be on stage performing for your fans but there’s a super-virus #VMAs,” we get a couple of glimpses of her vividly decorated home before the camera cuts to Gaga laying face-down in bed, wearing a yellow “Chromatica” t-shirt, underwear that says “Tokyo” and an odd, lobster-ish headdress. The words “Dreaming of reality” pass across the screen before she screams into her pillow, and then there’s a test-pattern sound followed by the words “Stay tuned.” We then see Gaga floating in a pool on a big unicorn-shaped raft, holding a parasol.
In a separate photo posted on Instagram late Tuesday, we see more of her warrior-performer stance as the VMAs draw near: She sits in an ice bath, doing devil horns with both hands: “#vmas,” the caption reads, with a pair of emojis.
Lady Gaga will be performing with Ariana Grande at the VMAs on Sunday night, which is fitting since they both are the show’s top nominees, with nine each — many of them for “Rain on Me,” their duet from “Chromatica.”
Lady Gaga notches her sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with the chart-topping debut of Chromatica. The set starts with 274,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending June 4, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data — the biggest week for any album by a woman in 2020.
Chromatica was released on May 29 via Interscope Records. The set was led by the singles “Stupid Love” and “Rain on Me” with Ariana Grande. The former debuted and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March, while the latter opened at No. 1 on the June 6 chart.
Chromatica was originally slated for an April 10 release, but was delayed due to COVID-19 concerns.Lady Gaga previously hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the A Star Is Born soundtrack (with Bradley Cooper, in 2018 and 2019), Joanne (2016), Cheek to Cheek (with Tony Bennett, 2014), Artpop (2013) and Born This Way (2011).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new June 13-dated chart (where Chromatica starts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on June 9.
Of Chromatica’s starting sum of 274,000 equivalent album units, album sales comprise 205,000, SEA units total 65,000 (equating to 87.16 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks in the week ending June 4) and TEA units equal a little more than 4,000.
Here’s a look at some notable achievements earned by the debut of Chromatica at No. 1:
Fifth Biggest Week of 2020, Largest for an Album By a Woman:Chromatica’s start of 274,000 equivalent album units earned marks the fifth-largest week for any album in 2020 and the biggest for an album by a woman. The only larger weeks posted in 2020 were from the debut frames of The Weeknd’s After Hours (444,000), BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 (422,000), Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake (288,000) and Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By (279,000).
The last larger week for an album by a woman was racked up by Taylor Swift’s Lover, which blasted in at No. 1 on the chart dated Sept. 7, 2019, with 867,000 units.
Album sales comprise 75 percent of Chromatica’s overall debut frame (205,000 of 274,000). The set’s sales were bolstered by dozens of merchandise/album bundles sold via her official webstore, and a concert ticket/album sale offer with her three upcoming U.S. stadium shows scheduled for August. In addition, the album sold well via traditional retail, including the iTunes Store, Amazon and Target. The latter carried an exclusive deluxe CD edition of the album with bonus tracks.
Strong Streams:Chromatica’s bow with 65,000 SEA units equates to 87.16 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks in the week ending June 4. That’s the biggest streaming week for any non-R&B/hip-hop or Latin album in 2020.
The largest streaming week of 2020 for any album is owned by Lil Uzi Vert’s hip-hop set Eternal Atake, which bowed at No. 1 on March 21 with 400.4 million clicks.
For comparison among non-R&B/hip-hop or Latin albums, here are the next-biggest streaming weeks of 2020 after Chromatica’s start with 87.16 million: Selena Gomez’s Rare (debut, 79.3 million; Jan. 25), Halsey’s Manic (debut, 75.6 million; Feb. 1) and BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 (debut, 74.8 million; March 7).
The last album outside of the R&B/hip-hop or Latin genres to manage a bigger streaming week than Chromatica was Harry Styles’ Fine Line, which started at No. 1 with 108.7 million clicks (Dec. 28, 2019-dated chart).
The last non-R&B/hip-hop or Latin album by a woman to collect a bigger streaming week than Chromatica was Taylor Swift’s Lover, with 117.4 million in its second week on the list (Sept. 14, 2019).
Six No. 1 Albums in Only Nine Years: Lady Gaga has tallied six No. 1s on the Billboard 200 chart in just nine years and two days — the fastest a woman has claimed six No. 1 albums. Lady Gaga logged her first No. 1 with Born This Way, when it debuted atop the list dated Jun 11, 2011.
Previously, Taylor Swift achieved six No. 1s the fastest, among women, when Loveropened at No. 1 on Sept. 7, 2019 — just 10 years and nine months after her first No. 1, Fearless, topped the list (Nov. 29, 2008).
Among men or groups, there are acts that have scores their first six No. 1s in quicker time than Gaga — The Beatles, Justin Bieber, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Drake, Future, Jay-Z, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley and Kanye West.
One of Just Eight Women With at Least Six No. 1 Albums: Lady Gaga joins an elite club of just eight women who have landed six No. 1 albums. She’s now tied with Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift, all with six each. Ahead of them: Barbra Streisand, with the most of any woman, 11; Madonna, with nine; and Janet Jackson, with seven.
Among all artists, The Beatles continue to hold the record for the most No. 1s, with 19 leaders.
Only Two Women Have Had a No. 1 Album in 2020: So far this year, just two women have led the Billboard 200 — Lady Gaga with Chromatica and Selena Gomez with Rare. The latter opened atop the list on Jan. 25.
In total, of the 18 No. 1 albums in 2020 — which include two carryover No. 1s from 2019 — 14 are by solo men, two are by male groups (BTS and Jackboys) and two are by women.
At this point a year ago, there were 17 No. 1s — with one carryover from 2018. Of those 17, four were either by a solo woman, or co-credited to a woman and a man (Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack). The other 13 leaders at this point a year ago consisted of three No. 1s by male groups (Backstreet Boys, BTS and Vampire Weekend) and 10 by solo men.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Jimmy Buffett lands his highest-charting album in over 15 years, as Life on the Flip Side starts with 75,000 equivalent album units earned (with 74,000 of that sum in album sales). The last time the veteran singer-songwriter (and Margaritaville brand boss) was higher on the list was in 2004, when License to Chill became his first No. 1 when it opened atop the chart dated July 31, 2004.
Life on the Flip Side is Buffett’s 40th charting album on the Billboard 200. He first visited the list in 1974 with Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, which arrived on the March 2 chart, on its way to a No. 176 peak on March 30. In total, Life On the Flip Side is Buffett’s 22nd top 40 album, and 12th top 10.
Life on the Flip Side is Buffett’s first non-holiday studio album since Songs From St. Somewhere, which hit No. 4 in 2013.
The new album’s sales were helped by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with a slate of upcoming Buffett shows. The bundle offer was originally attached to a string of dates that were meant to run from May 16 through Oct. 15, 2020. Some of those shows were ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, while the remaining shows were postponed and rescheduled to July 10 through Sept. 2, 2021. Only the postponed and rescheduled shows are part of the ticket bundle offer which contributes to the chart total.
With Gaga and Buffett at Nos. 1 and 2, it’s the first time since the Jan. 4-date chart that the top two titles are both non-R&B/hip-hop titles. On the Jan. 4-dated chart, Harry Styles’ Fine Line was No. 1, while Michael Bublé’s Christmas was No. 2.
A trio of former No. 1s come in at Nos. 3-5 on the new Billboard 200, as Lil Baby’s My Turn falls from No. 2 to No. 3 (62,000 equivalent album units; down 4 percent), Gunna’s Wunna drops from No. 1 to No. 4 in its second week (49,000; down 56 percent) and Future’s High Off Life dips from No. 3 to No. 5 (44,000; down 27 percent).
Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes is steady at No. 6 (41,000; down 14 percent) and Polo G’s The Goat falls 5-7 (40,000; down 22 percent).
Anuel AA claims his first top 10 album on the all-genre Billboard 200, as Emmanueldebuts at No. 8 with 39,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 36,000 are in SEA units, equating to 55.8 million on-demand streams for the album’s songs.
The set is the Latin album to reach the Billboard 200’s top 10 in 2020, following a pair of Bad Bunny efforts (YHLQMDLG, No. 2 and Las Que No Iban a Salir, No. 7).
Emmanuel is Anuel AA’s second studio album. His first, Real Hasta La Muerte, peaked at No. 44 in 2018. It also spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart, and finished as one of the top 10 biggest Latin albums of 2018 and 2019 on Billboard’s year-end charts.
DaBaby’s former No. 1 Blame It on Baby falls from No. 7 to No. 9 on the new Billboard 200 with just under 39,000 equivalent album units (down 8 percent).
Closing out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 is Run the Jewels’ RTJ4, bowing at No. 10 with 38,000 equivalent album units earned (with 30,000 of that in album sales). It’s the first top 10 for the rap duo, which previously notched two charting sets, Run the Jewels 3 (No. 13 in 2017) and Run the Jewels 2 (No. 50 in 2014).
RTJ4 was released early via digital retailers and streamers on Wednesday, June 3 — instead of on June 5 (a Friday, traditionally the day in which albums are released each week). The album’s sales also benefit from an array of merchandise/album bundles sold via the act’s official webstore.
In addition, the album was available as a free download via the act’s website, alongside an appeal for donations to the Mass Defense Program. None of those free downloads were reported to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
Billboard’s First Stream serves as a handy guide to this Friday’s most essential releases — the key music that everyone will be talking about today, and that will be dominating playlists this weekend and beyond.
This week, Lady Gaga makes it rain with Ariana Grande, The 1975 delivers another opus and The Weeknd recruits Doja Cat for another pop radio offering. Check out all of this week’s First Stream picks below:
The Song That Can Be Described As An International Bop: Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande, «Rain On Me»
If anyone thought Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” was a dance-pop red herring leading up to the release of her new album Chromatica, “Rain On Me,” her new collaboration with Ariana Grande, quickly dispels such notions. The new team-up shimmers to an even more spectacular degree, gobbling up house and disco touchstones to become a gigantic dance record about embracing pain as a marker of humanity (“I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive,” goes the post-tears refrain). Lucky for us that Gaga selected the perfect collaborator for the track: Grande sounds reinvigorated here, her melismas filling gaps in the song and her verse becoming a full-on diva showcase. If the rest of Chromatica is this propulsive, we’ll be grooving to it well into 2021.
The Album That’s Worth The 80-Minute Run Time: The 1975, Notes on a Conditional Form
For those of you desperate to hear The 1975 deliver a concise (read: shorter) body of work after their first three albums contained at least 15 songs each: album number four, the 22-track Notes on a Conditional Form, will not grant your wish. Yet the self-indulgence and air-gulping ambition of Matty Healy and co. have also produced wide-screen brilliance on a consistent basis, and Notes on a Conditional Form demands your attention because it has several of them. The amount of rock-adjacent sounds covered here is staggering, from the scream-punk urgency of “People” to the coffee-shop acoustic intimacy of “The Birthday Party” to the hilarious gospel/rap/piano-pop mash-up “Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied,” but Healy’s songwriting can handle the sprawl and jump over the potential missteps. Sure, The 1975 could have turned Notes on a Conditional Form into a tighter 12 songs — but then, the most interesting rock band in the world wouldn’t be themselves.
The Remix That Could Lead To Another No. 1 Smash: The Weeknd feat. Doja Cat, «In Your Eyes» remix
The Weeknd and Doja Cat are two of the most recent artists to top the Hot 100 chart, with “Blinding Lights” and “Say So,” respectively; one is a established hitmaker approaching a decade as a major name in music, while the other is the mainstream’s most in-demand rising star. It makes sense, then, that the pair balance each other out so effectively on the new remix to the Weeknd’s “In Your Eyes,” with Abel providing the steady hand on the track and Doja delivering the breath of fresh air. “Hate the way I feel love, only hurts with real love,” she sings, her voice unexpectedly fragile, her sentiment taking a page from the Weeknd’s pleasure-is-pain brand of pop. “In Your Eyes” just received an injection of feeling from the exact right choice for a remix, and could become another major hit for both artists in the coming weeks.
The Video That Makes Eating Fruit Look Super-Cool: Harry Styles, «Watermelon Sugar» video
“This Video Is Dedicated To Touching,” reads an intro slide ahead of Harry Styles’ new video, which takes a Fine Line standout, adds some heavy petting (on the beach, no less), and lets us all wistfully reflect on the days before social distancing. The “Watermelon Sugar” clip is celebratory and slightly ridiculous — no one man should have all that citrus, and at one point, Styles casually tosses a full watermelon high behind his head with little concern. Yet Styles’ charm levels remain unending, and watching him pal around on the beach and pose for photos will make you want to do so the same (even if, you know, the snack menu is slightly diversified).
The Album That Could Be The Arrival of a Reliable Hip-Hop Star: Gunna, Wunna
In addition to scoring solo hits like “Skybox” and “Speed It Up,” Gunna has become one of rap’s most in-demand collaborators, hopping on recent tracks by Young Thug, NAV and his Drip Harder partner Lil Baby. Wunna, a new 18-song project, boasts its own share of high-profile collaborations, but kicks off with four solo cuts that showcase the Georgia native’s effortless flow, melodic understanding and flashy-lifestyle lyrics. Come to Wunna for the Travis Scott teaming “Top Floor” and the latest Lil Baby link-up, “Blindfold,” but stay for Gunna running laps around his foes on the crackling “Feigning” and crooning all over the late highlight “Don’t Play Around.”
The Song That You’ll Want To Add To Your Instant-Inspiration Playlist: Sia, «Together»
“Together” is a song that Sia wrote for her upcoming directorial debut, Music, and the veteran pop mastermind has said in recent interviews that the track was designed as a closing-credits anthem. If that’s the case, rarely will leaving a movie theater feel so empowering: “Together” aims to enthrall its listener with images of rainbows, angels, sharing love and setting the past ablaze, with Sia selling the approach with full vocal enormity. From “Alive” to “The Greatest” to “Elastic Heart,” Sia has fashioned a solo career out of providing hard-fought inspiration; “Together” is a kid-friendly, candy-colored edition of that vision, and an effective way to reach a new generation of listeners.
The EP That Sounds Like An Overdue Hang With Old Friends: Florida Georgia Line, 6 Pack EP
“It’s beer. Thirty. And I’m. Thirsty.” So goes the opening line on Florida Georgia Line’s new EP, the appropriately titled 6 Pack, and the best-selling country duo is making it clear that, even if these songs don’t represent the proper follow-up to their ambitious 2019 album Can’t Say I Ain’t Country, at the very least they’re going to check in with you and provide a party. “Thank the Lord it’s Friday night and it’s time to chill,” Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard remark on the standout “Ain’t Worried Bout It,” which joins the previously released “I Love My Country” and the impressive Songland product “Second Guessing” on the track list. That sense of relief and welcome distraction pervades the project, with FGL saddling up during a fraught period in the country and doing what they can to entertain over the course of 17 minutes.
The Song That Should Immediately Be Added To Your BBQ Mix: Deadmau5 feat. the Neptunes, «Pomegranate»
For a too-brief moment in the 2010s, Pharrell Williams revived his career in front of the boards and became one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, thanks to “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk, then his own “Happy,” and his GIRL full-length, which snagged a Grammy nom for album of the year. Williams has seemingly placed his singing career on the back burner in recent years, but no reason that he can’t occasionally slip into the spotlight and deliver another heater, as he does on the deadmau5-Neptunes collaboration “Pomegranate.” With the robe-funk production taken care of by the experts, Williams is given room to glide around his sea of intimate euphemisms (“You’re making faces, probably so am I / We’re in the ocean / Waves are rolling in your eyes”). Even as “Pomegranate” serves as delectable summertime fodder, let’s hope it’s not the last we hear from Williams for a while.
The Album That Pop Twitter Will Be Raving About All Weekend: Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated: Side B
Although Carly Rae Jepsen’s songwriting has evolved thematically with each new release — the young-love meet-cutes of her “Call Me Maybe” days have given way to adult passion and attentiveness — there’s still a mixture of an airiness and inclusivity that has served as her bedrock and turned her into a cult hero. Dedicated: Side B, a collection of cuts from the sessions of last year’s masterful Dedicated, is stronger than most pop stars’ actual albums, and part of that consistency has to do with a lack of pomp or circumstance. Songs like “Summer Love,” “Let’s Sort The Whole Thing Out” and the Bleachers team-up “Comeback” are dreamy, ‘80s-indebted pop tracks that don’t need high stakes or superficial drama to soar. Jepsen remains such a talented song creator that even her castoffs sound blissful.
Under normal circumstances, the world would be listening to Lady Gaga’s new Chromatica album right now. The set was scheduled to be released this past Friday, April 10, but was pushed back to a yet-unannounced date, as the pop superstar said it didn’t “feel right” for her to release the set during a “global pandemic.”
And Chromatica is just one of a number of albums from A-listers that has been delayed. It’s joined by Alicia Keys’ Alicia (previously March 20, now May 15), The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form (was Feb. 21, then April 24, now May 22), Luke Bryan’s Born Here, Live Here, Die Here (April 24 to Aug. 7), Haim’s Women in Music Pt. III (April 24 to Aug. 21) and Sam Smith’s upcoming album (formerly titled To Die For, moving from May 1 to an unannounced date).
On the new Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen below), the team discusses why these albums were likely pushed back, while others held to their release date — including the latest efforts by rock band The Strokes and singer-rapper Rod Wave.
Many artists likely felt uncomfortable releasing and promoting a new album during a pandemic, while others may have been confronted with incredible limitations on the traditional rollout and promotion of an album (including the lack of live appearances and concerts, as well as many brick-and-mortar music stores temporarily closed).
For some acts, however, they held to their release schedule and forged ahead. Perhaps because those acts don’t have to rely on brick-and-mortar retail or album sales at all. Rod Wave’s new Pray 4 Love, for example, was released on April 3 and debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 2 with 97% of its first-week units driven by streaming activity (it earned 72,000 equivalent album units total in the week ending April 9, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data).
Also on the new Pop Shop Podcast, hosts Keith and Katie discuss big chart news from Drake (who lands his seventh No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Toosie Slide”), The Black Eyed Peas (who notch their first top 10 on the Pop Songs airplay chart in over a decade) and The Weeknd (spending a third week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his album After Hours).
A major effort deserves a major push and on Monday night (April 6) Lady Gaga made history by appearing on all the major late night talk shows to announce the lineup for the Global Citizen/World Health Organization «One World: Together at Home» concert. After a brief appearance last week on The Tonight Show during which she didn’t say much, but promised big news, Gaga was back Zooming with Jimmy Fallon from her home office to first reveal who is hosting the prime time event.
«Would you like to know who’s hosting?» she asked Fallon, who eagerly said yes just hours after the full lineup of the show was announced. «You… I got Jimmy Fallon and guess who else I got?» she asked, holding up a pink Post-It note with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel’s name on it as well. The late night giants will come together to help host the show on NBC, CBS and ABC. «The thing I’ve been most excited about is when I talk to people and I just see everyone want to jump in and help and be a part of it,» Gaga said of the two-hour show (8-10 p.m. ET) that will air on April 18.
Gaga noted that the cast of Sesame Street will also be in the house, as well as actors and athletes for a show she hopes will put a spotlight on the «global, kind community that’s coming together right now,» with a focus on the medical teams doing the brave frontline work, as well as what she said was the «kind» cultural moment we’re all experiencing and the strength of the human spirit in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announced artist lineup for the show will include: Gaga, Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billy Joe Armstrong, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, Finneas, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Sir Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder; the event will be broadcast live on ABC, NBC and ViacomCBS networks and iHeartMedia in the U.S. and Bell Media platforms in Canada and on BBC One, and stream on Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, beIN Media Group, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.
Gaga stressed that the show isn’t a telethon or a fundraiser, since she’s already raised $35 million, including generous donations from IBM and Cisco, and, in a live call on Fallon, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who FaceTimed in to the show to confirm a «sizable» donation to the cause.
“Of course we appreciate everything that Apple has done already to support the COVID-19 [relief effort]. As the CEO of Apple, we’re very grateful to you,” Gaga told Cook.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live! Gaga said she hasn’t left the house in a month and has spent most of the time in quarantine making calls to more than 68 philanthropists and corporate donors to fundraise for the show so that people at home didn’t have to worry about donating during the broadcast. «The truth is that I feel very blessed that I have a home. I feel blessed that I have access to good food and that it’s healthy and clean and I wanted to figure out what I could do with my time to be of service,» she told Kimmel.
The vinyl record and cassette cover feature Gaga in a different pose, this time with even longer claws and shimmering fuchsia shoulder pads.
The graphics arrive days after she announced that Chromatica‘s release — which was originally scheduled for May — would be postponed in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. She assured her fans then that she’d have «surprises» to keep them excited about Chromatica in the coming weeks, and these visuals definitely give Little Monsters something to savor as they await news of her new album release date.
Lady Gaga called in to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday (April 1) for what host Jimmy Fallon promised was a major announcement, but things didn’t go exactly as planned.
As soon as the FaceTime call connected, the pop star seemed confused, apologizing profusely that she couldn’t reveal her news just yet. «I can’t, Jimmy,» Gaga said. «I can’t talk right now. I’m really sorry. It’s just, like, a really weird time right no. Hello? Jimmy? I can’t see you? Am I on TV?»
Promising the big news was «for COVID-19,» a flustered Gaga explained that she simply didn’t have all her proverbial ducks in a row to make the announcement quite yet. «I can’t, I can’t, I can’t tell you everything right now because I’m still ironing out the details and I have a lot of phone calls to make,» she said.
The late night host took the unexpected left turn in stride, only to be quickly interrupted by Mother Monster seemingly receiving a phone call from someone on her team. When Fallon asked if calling back in 10 minutes would be better for the star, Gaga hit him with a proposed date a bit further out. «Can you call me on, um, can you call me Friday?» she asked, leading the host to respond, «Can I call you on Friday? It’s uh, yeah. It’s Wednesday.»
The scheduling conflict didn’t stop there though. Just a few minutes later, Gaga called back, wearing a new pair of upside-down glasses and appearing even more distressed. «Hello, I’m sorry,» she said before pushing the reveal back even further. «Can we just move our time? Yeah, can we do it Monday. I promise we’ll do it Monday.»
Whatever the superstar has in the works, it looks like Little Monster will be waiting at least through the weekend to find out what she has up her sleeve…
Watch Gaga’s full exchange with Fallon below (starting at the 5:07 mark).
Now that the star-studded affair is available to stream on YouTube, Billboard wants to know which at-home performance you loved the most! Did Alicia Keys‘ acoustic take on her latest single «Underdog» hit you right in the feels? Did you flip over the Backstreet Boys‘ epic performance of «I Want It That Way» from — count ‘em — five different locations across the country?
Perhaps you preferred Camila Cabello‘s solo version of «My Oh My» with a special appearance by Shawn Mendes on guitar. Or was Mariah Carey‘s intimate, show-closing performance of «Always Be My Baby» the healing balm you needed to cure your cabin fever?
Whichever performance was your favorite, vote in Billboard‘s poll below and let your voice be heard!
What was your favorite iHeart Living Room Concert for America performance?
“Rarely is someone so famous so honest,” Oprah Winfrey said after interviewing Lady Gaga before 15,000 people in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (Jan. 4). The famed media mogul’s intimate hour-long interview with the nine-time Grammy winner acted as a climax for the debut edition of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour, which invites a different star interviewee at each of its nine stops.
The tour hits arenas across America this spring with an aim to inspire attendees toward a more holistic lifestyle. There were dance exercises led by morning energizers Daybreak and celebratory choreographer Julianne Hough, inspiring presentations by group meditation leader Jesse Israel and Grammy-winning gospel singer Tamela Mann, and more than a few plugs for tour sponsors Weight Watchers.
Without a doubt, Gaga’s profoundly genuine and forthcoming conversation about her own struggles with mental health rang the most powerful.
Billboard was there for every heart-wrenching and warming moment. Here are the 10 most resonant takeaways about Lady Gaga.
She Is Done Shocking the World
Lady Gaga is all grown up, and she doesn’t need a meat dress to get anyone’s attention — not that she’s anything but proud of her past. “It was something that I enjoyed,” she told Oprah, “to bemuse people so that they would listen to the music … The truth is, that was part of my art form … even though it felt quite superficial for a lot of people.”
“It’s changed since then because, number one, it’s no longer shocking to have pink hair. Number two, I think the most shocking thing that I could possibly do is be completely vulnerable and honest with you about my life, what I’ve been through, the struggles that I’ve seen [and] been a part of, and share that with the world so that I can help other people who are suffering.”
She Is a Sexual Assault Survivor
Gaga was incredibly candid about her struggles.
“I was raped repeatedly when I was 19 years old,” she said. “I also developed PTSD as a result of being raped and also not processing that trauma. I did not have anyone help me. I did not have a therapist. I did not have a psychiatrist. I did not have a doctor help me through it. I just all of a sudden became a star and was traveling the world, going from hotel room to garage to limo to stage, and I never dealt with it.”
Gaga is moved and comforted by the #MeToo movement, but she has chosen not to name her rapist, feeling it is her personal choice not to relive that moment any more than she already has to.
She Struggled With Self Harm
Instead of facing her trauma, Gaga thrust herself into her work, blasting up the charts and into international stardom with the ferocity of a meteor destined to destroy a planet. Without therapy and proper self-care, she turned to self-destruction.
“I like to say I used to cut as opposed to I am a cutter,” she said. “I also used to throw myself against the wall. I used to do some horrible things to myself when I was in pain.”
Self-harm was a distraction from the psychological pain as well as a means to give her invisible suffering some physical proof, but she knows too well the short-term nature of such toxic methods.
“You see the blood, and then you feel chaotic, and then you spiral more and more out of control,” she said. “It is actually not helpful in any way. It is going to make your spiral worse. It will make the neurotic state that you’re in something that is going to be prolonged instead of shortening the amount of time that you’re in it … [My mother and] I always say with the Born This Way Foundation, ‘Tell me, don’t show me [your pain].’”
She Had a Psychotic Break
Nearly a decade of defiance against a need to reflect left her broken and worn, and one day, her body just gave up.
“I was on the couch, Oprah,” she said. “I was laid out. I could not move. I was being assessed by doctors to see if they could get me to move … I was triggered really badly in a court deposition, and this part of the brain where you stay centered and you don’t disassociate? It slammed down.”
Once triggered, her entire body started tingling, then it went numb. She was taken to a hospital screaming, “Why is no one else panicking?”
“They brought in a psychiatrist and I said, ‘Can you give me a real doctor?’” she said, noting how hypocritical that sounds coming from the woman who runs a foundation for mental health. “I mean, that’s how I was so separated from the world. Once we started talking, he realized what had happened to me, then he ordered medication for me that I took, reluctantly at first. He became my psychiatrist and assembled a team for me. I went away to a place that I go to sometimes still for a reboot. They took care of me, and we got all of the things lined up.”
She Was Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia
“I started to experience this incredible, intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked actually the illness that I felt after I was raped,” she told the audience. “It was a trauma response.”
Now, she lives with a condition called fibromyalgia, which leaves her in constant head-to-toe pain. After years of MRIs and countless trips to numerous medical specialists, she was finally diagnosed with the mysterious disease in 2017.
“I remember sitting with my doctor,” she said. «His name’s Andy, and Andy’s like, ‘You need to radically accept that you’re going to be in pain every day.’ I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s how I’m going to heal, just by accepting that I going to feel awful all the time?'»
Little by little, a regimen of medication, meditation, therapy and exercise lessened the pain and made it more manageable.
“All of a sudden, I could function,” she said, and she’s dedicated herself to learning more about the disease. “There’s the neurospych aspect. There’s also an immunity aspect where there is a possibility that the immune system has something to do with fibromyalgia or trauma response or neuropathic pain, whatever you want to call it. There’s some similarities in my condition to autoimmune diseases, but fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease.»
“What I would like for you to know and to shine a light on is that many people don’t know what it is, and we need to all get together and figure this out,» Gaga said.
She Wants to Dispel the Stigma Around Medication
While society struggles to accept and recognize mental illness as a legitimate medical condition, it also struggles to normalize taking the proper medication. Gaga says her “unorthodox” prescriptions have saved her life.
“If I took my pillbox out, it would sound like a rattle,” she said. “I don’t mean to laugh, but it’s kind of funny — but I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my whole life … I take an antipsychotic. I’m in the 1.4 percentile of people that do. [If I didn’t take this medicine] I would spiral very frequently and I would spasm in my sleep.”
She and her psychiatrist have come up with a medicinal formula that leaves her feeling creative and capable, and while she sings the praises of medicinal psychological help, she feels very strongly that no human should ever turn to narcotic pain pills.
“People become addicted,” she said, “and there is a correlation between mental health and chronic pain, and mental health is the biggest crisis in the world. What’s happening is, while mental health is the biggest health crisis that we have, there’s also chronic neuropathic pain being produced.”
How to Problem Solve Our Depression
Along with her medication, Gaga believes deeply in therapy, including dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. Sessions give her the tools to incorporate healthy coping mechanisms into her everyday life, such as opposite action practice (if you’re depressed and have been in the house for a week straight, go outside with a trusted friend) and if-then problem solving.
“Say I’m upset,” she explained, “Then I’ll say, why am I upset? I will write down all the reasons, and then I will check the facts. If the emotion of feeling upset fits the facts, then I’ll go to the next stage and I will say, ‘What action am I going to take now to solve this problem?’ So if I’m upset because I’m in pain, then what’s my action going to be? I’m going to take my medication that’s going to help me. I’m going to reach out to a friend or my doctor and tell them that I’m not feeling well. I’m going to try to get to the core of the issue inside of me and speak it out into existence, do the cognitive work to say ‘I am upset because today I am triggered about being raped when I was 19, and I’m having a trauma response, and I’m going to take my medication, and I’m going to try to calm down my nervous system as much as possible so that this pain dissipates.’”
She is Tackling the Mental Health Crisis Head On
Her experience with depression and fibromyalgia has awaked Gaga to her own pain and suffering and how to heal it. Now, she wants to share that awareness and wisdom with the world.
“I was supposed to go through this, even the rape, all of it,” she said. “I think it happened because God was saying to me, ‘I’m going to show you pain, and then you’re going to help other people who are in pain, because you’re going to understand it.’ … I take an oath as a commitment today with you: It’s 2020, and over the next decade and maybe longer, I’m going to get the smartest scientists, doctors, psychiatrists, mathematicians, researchers and professors in the same room together. And we are going to go through each problem one by one, and we are going to solve this mental health crisis.”
The Born This Way Foundation has already helped put mental health first aid in schools across the country, and Gaga is committed to getting that help in every school she can.
“I want mental health to be its own class,” she said. “What is health class, sex ed? Is that what we’re still doing? We should be learning about the brain and the heart, and the mind and the body and its connection and all the things. I want there to be someone in every school that someone can go to if they’re in need of help, or that someone can go to if they see that someone else needs help. At the same time, it [should be] a requirement in every school that you learn about the importance of kindness, about triggers, and you learn about depression.”
She is Working on New Music
Oprah let slip that she is working with Prince Harry on a show for Apple TV, and that part of this show will follow Lady Gaga and her journey with mental health, but Oprah also got down to the nitty gritty: When will fans get LG6?
“Don’t worry,” she said coyly. “I’ve been working on it for year … We’re having a self-care conversation, but I still am going to make music.”
This article was originally published by: Billboard