Think you know Lady Gaga? Despite the constant spotlight on her flamboyant persona, there’s plenty that separates the singer’s stage guise from her regular life. Delving deep into her personal experiences for her headline show at Rogers Arena on Tuesday (August 1), though, fans will be able to catch a glimpse of both Gaga and Germanotta in a tour dedicated to the artist's late aunt Joanne.
Before she was big. Lady Gaga made her first appearance on MTV long before anyone knew she even had a music career. Back in 2005—a time when she was simply known as Stefani Germanotta—the then-19-year-old popped up on the station’s short-lived reality television show Boiling Points. Based on Candid Camera, the show had actors doing their best to piss off unsuspecting members of the public. If the victim of a particular situation managed to avoid going apeshit for a period predetermined by Boiling Points’ producers, they got a cash prize of $100. Sporting pre-fame brown hair—and looking like she’s fresh from the Jersey shore—Gaga was filmed ordering and then eating a salad in a restaurant. After her phone rings she leaves the table, at which point an actor removes her salad. When Germanotta comes back to complain that she wasn’t finished, the server tells her the busboy took it. After a side of abuse from the server, the salad is brought back with a dirty napkin on top of it, at which point Germanotta starts losing it, eventually letting fly with the expletives. Because she lasted only 12 minutes before snapping, she didn’t get the $100 cheque. Germanotta did however serve notice that you best not fuck with her while she’s eating.
Money troubles. Before the advent of the Internet, artists toured to promote albums. Now, artists release albums to promote tours—and, in the case of Lady Gaga, those shows don’t come cheap. Despite her debut album The Fame going multi-Platinum in numerous countries and singles “Just Dance” and “Paparazzi” conquering the radio, in 2009 the singer had only $3 million in the bank ahead of her Monsters Ball tour. In true Gaga fashion, she took an elaborate gamble. Spending millions on dazzling productions and enough costumes to singlehandedly outfit New York Fashion Week, the artist technically went bankrupt after her 200 shows. Those extravagant performances, though, caught the eye of mogul Arthur Fogel: chairman of Live Nation’s global touring division. “I remember he called me and said, ‘We want to do this’,” Gaga told Entertainment Tonight. “He got Live Nation to write me a $40 million cheque. And it changed my life.”
Queasy like Sunday morning. Lady Gaga might sell out stadiums in minutes, but she’s still a victim of nerves. Riding in her Rolls Royce on the way to the set of American Horror Story: Hotel, where she had landed a major role playing the Countess Elizabeth Johnson, the singer vomited in a plastic bag. Not sure what to do with the sack of sick, she decided to hand it to the show’s co-creator, Ryan Murphy. “He was like, ‘Oh, you think you can disgust me? You can’t’,” she told reporters attending the shooting. “You think you can’t get anything past him, but then he met me. And I’ll bring him a bag of my own vomit to the set.” Turns out her gross-out tendencies were perfect for the show, as Gaga ended up scooping a Golden Globe award for her performance.
Good romance. The famously sex-positive artist hasn’t always been a big fan of the act itself, and has revealed herself to be more conservative in her own love life than even her fans might suspect. Gaga once told a journalist that losing her virginity at the age of 17 “was an absolutely terrible” experience, and that she didn’t start to enjoy sex until her early 20s, when she was in “a proper monogamous relationship”. That’s right: Gaga is an old-fashioned romantic. "Maybe sex isn't that big a deal anymore, but I don't have sex without monogamy," she told Vanity Fair in 2011. Gaga won’t give it up for just anyone, either. “I have weird superstitions about sex,” she once said. “If you're not having sex with someone who really loves you they can screw up your energy."
Tattoo you. Gaga has a lot of tattoos. Good luck learning exactly how many via a quick Google search, because the number is different everywhere you look. With the exception of a trumpet on her right arm, all of Gaga’s ink is on the left side of her body. Why? Turns out it’s a favour to her father. “He asked that I remain, on one side, slightly normal, so I only have tattoos on my life side,” she once said. Nor is this the only way in which Joe Germanotta has influenced his offspring’s body art. In 2009, after Joe survived open-heart surgery, Gaga got a tattoo of a heart with a banner reading “Dad”, and last year, both father and daughter got matching “Joanne” ink, honouring the singer’s late aunt. That big death’s-head-moth back piece she supposedly had done before singing “Moth Into Flame” with Metallica at the Grammys back in February? Fake, fake, fake.