Lady Gaga’s words on feeling ashamed after sexual assault are a difficult but vital listen

To mark the release of her new single with Ariana Grande, Rain On Me, Lady Gaga has given an in-depth interview – and she addresses mental health in the most honest way.

A few months ago, just days before the reality of coronavirus hit, Lady Gaga released Stupid Love – the first single from her new album. 

It was, of course, a total tune, which saw the singer returning to her electro-pop roots with her power vocals. It also got fans excited for her sixth album, Chromatica. Then the pandemic happened and the album’s release date, along with the tour, was postponed. 

But Gaga has now released the album’s second single – Rain On Me, a duet with Ariana Grande. She has also given a fascinating, in-depth interview about the making of Chromatica, which is now coming on 29 May, and it turns out the record is all about healing. 

In her conversation with Zane Lowe, which is available to listen to on Apple Music, Gaga discusses her mental health issues, which she addressed and challenged while making the album. 

The singer also talked about the traumas she has worked through and the feelings of shame she had to overcome – including the aftermath of being “raped repeatedly” at the age of 19.

Explaining that upcoming song Free Woman is a reflection of the shame associated with being a survivor, and finally freeing herself from it, Gaga says: “I was sexually assaulted by a music producer. It’s compounded all of my feelings about life, feelings about the world, feelings about the industry, what I had to compromise and go through to get to where I am.”

She continues: “I had to put it there. And when I was able to finally celebrate it, I said, ‘You know what? I’m not nothing without a steady hand. I’m not nothing unless I know I can. I’m still something if I don’t got a man. I’m a free woman.’”

“I’m no longer going to define myself as a ‘survivor’ or a victim of sexual assault. I am just a person who is free that went through some fucked up shit.

Candidly addressing some bouts of shame during the recording process, Gaga speaks about working with Grande, explaining: “I was too ashamed to hang out with her, because I didn’t want to project all of this negativity onto something that was healing and so beautiful.”

She also examines her relationship with sobriety, saying: “I’ve flirted with the idea of sobriety. I’m not there yet, but I flirted with it throughout the album.

“It’s something that came up as a result of me trying to work through the pain that I was feeling.”

She continues: “But part of my healing process was going, ‘Well, I can either lash the hell out of myself every day for continuing to drink, or I can just be happy that I’m still alive and keep going and feel good enough.’”

“I am good enough […] I’m perfectly imperfect,” she adds.

But Gaga insists that the album is, ultimately, a positive force – a celebration of overcoming suffering, and perfect to dance along to with friends when the time to be able to do so comes. 

“I think that the beginning of the album really symbolises, for me, what I would call the beginning of my journey to healing, and what I would hope would be an inspiration for people that are in need of healing through happiness, through dance,” she says.

We can’t wait to listen, and of course dance, when it’s released next week.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help and support, you can call the Rape Crisis national helpline on 0808 802 9999 (open 12pm – 2.30pm and 7pm – 9.30pm daily). You can also find your nearest centre here or visit the website for more information here.

Images: Getty

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