Identifying with Lady Gaga: Lyricist, Less the Fabulous Presence

Writing songs and performing them yourself does not require the showmanship of Lady Gaga, but it helps.

Her newest single, Born This Way, speaks to every instinct I have as someone who is female, lesbian, different. But unlike her, I am a wallflower on stage, shy, holding back.

In the March issue of Vogue, Lady Gaga doesn’t hold back.

“Speaking purely from a musical standpoint,” she says, “I think I am a great performer. I am a talented entertainer. I consider myself to have one of the greatest voices in the industry. I consider myself to be one of the greatest songwriters. I wouldn’t say I am one of the greatest dancers, but I am really quite good at what I do. I think it’s OK to be confident in yourself.”

Or as the song says, “There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are … God makes no mistakes … I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.”

I am singing “Never,” a new song I wrote, and some others, at an open mic soon. These are not songs that call for drama. But I want to get it right: that is, I want to connect with the audience while singing and playing guitar with my backup guitarist. Look into their eyes, smile back, all while holding onto the poise needed to remember my lines. It’s a trick, performing, and I’ve got a lot of the how-to’s down. But I envy Gaga’s natural ability.

Being a good songwriter, which I am, doesn’t have to mean my other abilities are necessarily “less than.” They need to be developed. So I’m 50! So I don’t dance. I’m flying into the headwind of a fun performance, lifted by that Lady Gaga confidence.

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