February 18th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Cooper on interviewing Lady Gaga: 'She came to play'


"She talked about being very insecure," Anderson Cooper says of his "60 Minutes" interview with recording artist Lady Gaga, "But I think she always kind of felt she was meant to be a superstar." (Photo Credit: 60 Minutes/CBS)


Editor’s Note: Anderson Cooper speaks with CNN.com about reporting on recording superstar and Grammy award winner Lady Gaga.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned about Lady Gaga?

Cooper: I was surprised by how in control she is and how savvy she is about her own career. She’s 24 years old but she really has thought this out and is able to kind of execute her vision for herself in a way that’s very consistent. She says she art directs every moment of her life and I can’t imagine the amount of energy that requires. It must be exhausting but she’s been incredibly successful with it.

From your perspective of having reported on her and traveled with her, what do you think that vision is?

Cooper: Well, I think she views herself not just a recording artist but as a performance artist. And the clothes and the wigs and the outfits, it’s very thought out and it’s designed to get people talking, designed to make headlines and designed to make statements about politics or fashion or other commentaries that she wants. But it’s also designed in a way to direct people’s attention towards what she wants people to pay attention to which is her artistry and her music and not towards the kinds of things that a lot people focus on with celebrities like who they’re dating. And she’s able to kind of direct attention to her artistry and maintain it there. And it’s a very clever and interesting way she’s doing it.

But wasn’t she very candid with you about the remaking of her persona and the person she used to be and sometimes still is? She talked about being very insecure, right?

Cooper: Yes, she talked about being very insecure. But I think she always kind of felt she was meant to be a superstar. And from age four [she] was taking piano lessons and dance lessons and always had a vision for herself. She talked a lot about how taking the name “Lady Gaga” kind of allowed her to free herself of insecurities and transform herself into the superstar that she felt she was always meant to be.

Anything interesting happen off-camera?

Cooper: Yes, she was amazing to give us so much time. . . . There were a lot of great moments. . . . There are great moments – just being in the recording studio with her. She wanted to play us her album “Born This Way.” So she played us about half of the new songs that will be coming out in the next couple months. And, to hear the songs this far in advance. . . . Literally, when she’s listening in the recording studio, she’s dancing and singing along . . . . And to see her with the friends that she travels with and the people she has known for a long time – and just how she is. One of the things I like about her is that there’s no difference between who she is on camera and who she is in real life.

Because she’s always performing?

Cooper: Well, I don’t think that she’s always performing. I think she’s actually always very honest about who and what she is. I think there are a lot of celebrities who put on a performance on camera. She doesn’t do that. She’s remarkably candid about everything in her life. And, in a way, by doing that, and art directing her life, it allows her to kind of maintain a certain privacy in a strange way. It’s an interesting kind of dance that she’s doing.

Is it difficult to interview someone who’s not wearing pants?

Cooper: Yes, that was interesting. You never knew how she was going to show up. It actually made it difficult to put the piece together, to write the story. Because you ended up having to kind of write it in a linear way because she looked completely different every time we met her. So, you sort had to explain to viewers: “And she’s transformed herself yet again.”

Compared to some of your other recent high-profile interviews, was Lady Gaga harder to book or harder to nail down once you had her in the interview chair?

Cooper: A lot of people are hard to book. She’s definitely hard to book. I just interviewed Eminem. He’s tough to book as well. But, she came to play. There’s some people who you book and are still kind of reluctant and don’t give you much time. She was amazing. She was fully on board and plunged head first in.

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Britt

    I LOVE GAGA AND COOPER!!! She is changing hearts and the world, and Anderson is such an amazing reporter!!!!!!!!!!! Loved this Artical and his perspective on her!

    February 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  2. mattmchugh

    "She talked about being very insecure..." Interesting. That might seem counter-intuitive, but if you think about the psychology of a pop artist who - with costumes and performances designed as outrageous attention-getters - is crafting a series of changing public images, it makes perfect sense. Secure people don't feel the need to do such things. That's not meant as an insult to her, just an insight into the mind of someone obviously driven to experiment with her identity.

    February 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  3. ralph

    I saw the interview. Cooper did a great job and I like how Gaga is so articulate. She does not repeatedly say, "like" or chew gum or act stupid.
    She's eccentric for sure and a bit off kilter but many artists are. She seems to have her act together. I hope she does not go back to hard drugs and finds someone she can trust to build a family with if that is one of her desires. I think her music is fun. She's definitely this generation's Madonna (but sings better I think).

    February 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  4. diana

    I've managed to avoid paying much attention to Lady Gaga since she first started coming into the limelight. Although still not a fan (not interested by her blasé music whatsoever), I've come to realize very recently, that I finally appreciate—to some degree, where she's coming from. Whether her artistic ambition is idiotically contrived or not, it is mostly very interesting, and some of her visuals are quite stunning. As an admirer of art, I take it for its visual artistic aspect. I don't think I'll ever actually begin listening to her music, but I'll no longer brush her off as some "poser." She's an artistic force to be reckoned with, and she'll probably become known the greatest "performance artist" of our time.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  5. Mireille

    It was nice to discover Lady Gaga through Anderson Cooper's interview. I had only heard of her eccentricity. I found her to be a talented, genuine and different young woman.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Mason

    At age 65, when I see Lady Gaga, I reqret that I am probably too old to be in her "little monster" group. She is the best thing to happen in music since Madonna. She is the best thing to happen to Art since Gilbert and George.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Who wouldn't give Anderson Cooper a great interview...? He's one of the best at what he does and Lady Gaga is at the top of her world, the fashion world, heck, THE world...

    Great read ! Best of luuck to Lady Gaga and Cooper !

    February 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  8. liz

    Hmm interesting. Looking forward to it.

    February 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  9. Marty

    Did she talk about her dark influence instead of light?

    February 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  10. Al

    I really liked reading Anderson give his insight to Lady Gaga. I think a lot of people can't stand her for how she is or the things she does, but she really is talented. Very savvy regarding her career because love her or hate her, you hear about her the next day!

    February 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Sharon

    I watched the 60 minutes interview of her and now reading this interview I have a new respect for Lady Gaga. I'm not a fan of her music but I definitely appreciate her talent.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  12. Jim Ward

    Lady Gaga is absolutely incredible. I believe that she is probably the most underappeciated artist in the industry.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Rick Leggett

    I very much enjoyed Anderson's piece on Lady Gaga. It was interesting to see her open and honest about herself and her life. 5 stars to Anderson for a great story.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  14. DJ

    For some reason (and i'm not sure why), I always liked Lady Gaga. This story just confirms she's a cool as I thought she was. What an interesting change in contrast to the other high profile figures of today. -DJ

    February 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  15. Becky Locher

    I LOVE Lady Gaga for who she is – REAL. I dislike how people compare her to Madonna. Madonna has the same attitude as Lady Gaga in which she peaks her mind and is brutally honest. But, Lady Gaga is just down to earth and to read that she took the time for the interview and her honest answers show what a genuine person that she is.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Bill

    I am a Greek American senior of 81 and I find Lady Gaga very interesting..I read all the interview..I was at the Palms in Vegas and their marquee sign said, "Lady Gaga". What is that or who..but she delivered and the Palms wanted to sign her up..I like her rythem in her songs..She is a new bright flower in our lives right now..no shooting or other bad things..But she cannot keep this up for ever, and she should secure herself and have a good life..

    February 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  17. Carole Valpone

    Anderson, I thought your interview with Gaga was excellent. I love the fact that she was so candid with you. (don't know how much was edited) but a superb interview. I really enjoyed it. Gotta love Gaga. Peace, Anderson!

    February 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  18. Gordon

    I'm 70-years old and don't care what she wears or how she looks. She has an incredible voice, and I listen to her frequently. I first heard her while having a coffee one day, and was so blown away by her voice that I asked the barrista who was singing. I was surprised by the fact it was her, because like many people, I had, to a degree, developed an idea of who and what she was just from the publicity. I was so wrong.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  19. David M

    She is an interesting person, no doubt. But it strikes me that she is not real. Everything she presents is fake. She is always in that 'acting' mode, and never in the 'real person' mode. How do you maintain normalcy if you are never real?

    I don't think it's so much about developing a vision as it is hiding from something. If art is what's directing every moment of your life, then I think you're avoiding reality. Art does not give us a reason to live, nor does it provide a good direction. I think she needs to re-think that strategy.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  20. Grover Decker

    Thanks for the interview. I am a fan of Lady GaGa but this made me step back and re-vist a few others that I admire. When you said..."there are a lot of celebrities who put on a performance on camera" I feel that in the few things I have watched her in. thanks Anderson keep up the great work! BTW thanks for your coverage in Egypt.

    Grover Decker

    February 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  21. Jeff Boyle

    I'm not a fan of hers but I found the story very touching. In life people have goals & dreams. She had a dream and made something of it.But when you become famous there is always someone out there to bring you down for some reason or another. Just keep your head up.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  22. Goerge Smith

    I like her attitude. She looks very humane and compassionate. But I want her to be descent in her dressing and phyisical appearance (when she is not performing) so that she can be a true role model for millions of her admirers.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  23. Cane

    Not the biggest fan of Gaga but I thought this was a great read. It's nice to hear she is herself on both sides of the camera. In addition, I thought her acceptance speech on the Grammys was very sincere and a little vunerable...it shed a little different light on her for me.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  24. Michael

    Im struggling to find the talent here. There isnt a single song I have heared that I enjoyed or thought was.. well good. But I guess the times change, and taste as well. But its all pretty much incoherent garbage to me.

    February 18, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  25. Bernard Bujold

    Great interview with Lady Gaga!
    A real inside look in her personality!

    February 18, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  26. Robin

    Such an alluring interview! It caught my eye as I had the TV on while busy with something else. Before I knew it, I found myself staring at the TV in fascination. I'm in my 30s & I enjoy Lady Gaga's music but previously had failed to understand her (the outfits,etc.). I completely respected what she had to say & what's more...I got it. I was really impressed by the way Anderson Cooper interviewed her with total respect. He seemed drawn in, as if he were learning from her...and she, so young. I had to wonder if he (and other celebrities like him) were envious of this "art direction" Gaga orchestrates in order to control the attention on what she wishes rather than what she really wants to keep private. Seems exhausting, though!

    February 18, 2011 at 3:31 am |