Lady Gaga, during her Keynote Address at SXSW 2014.
Still facing backlash from her performance at SXSW the night before, where she gave an over the top, theatrical performance involving a mechanical bull, fake vomit and the consumption of various BBQ meats (all at the sponsorship of Doritos, which required attendees to tweet marketing hashtags on Twitter to receive a ticket), Lady Gaga graced the stage Friday morning as SXSW’s 2014, Keynote Speaker, an honor previously held by music legends like Dave Grohl, Lou Reed and Quincy Jones.
In a Q&A format hosted by Fuse’s John Norris, Mother Monster delivered a clear message to artists to not sell out to the conformity of today’s music industry, touching on her personal rise to stardom, when she used to play gigs in New York City’s small concert venues scattered throughout the city.
She also spoke fondly of New York’s famedRoseland Ballroom, which will close its doors next month after hosting acts for the past 92 years at its 52nd Street location in Manhattan.
“I spent a lot of time there,” Gaga said, recalling how it was a place her mother didn’t want her to go to because she would always come home with bruises or a broken bone. “It really is a true New York classic. I’m really sad to see it go. We’re losing a great venue, but I hope the spirit of that venue keeps going.”
Lady Gaga will perform eight shows starting March 28, 2014 at Roseland, closing the venue with a final performance on April 7.
“I’m honored to perform at and close Roseland,” she told Norris.
Before her career took off, Gaga would perform short sets in the bars and venues around NYC’s Lower East Side neighborhood. Recalling these experiences, Gaga explained that today’s young artists think the only way to make it in the industry is to become an Internet sensation, while she still believes there is hope for the artist who writes songs and performs them whenever possible, even at the smallest of venues.
“I think there’s something nice about the heart and soul, the heartbeat of generations of music (in those small venues),” Gaga said. “I think everyone in this room needs to do everything we can to continue to inspire passion in young people so they don’t feel the only way to success is to make a crazy YouTube video.”
Before signing off, Gaga teased the stage set up for her new Artpop tour, which starts May 4 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and said she would unveil the design to fans within the next week.
“It’s going to be a great big show, with beautiful custom stages,” she said.
What’s your opinion? Is it still possible for performers to rise to prominence mainly due to their live performances, or is the Internet the only way to ‘make it’ now? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!