Lady Gaga Explains Her Stripped-Down Style for ‘Joanne’

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Lady Gaga has built a career pairing addictive club anthems with audacious, eyeball-grabbing fashion statements. But for her new album Joanne, the pop icon is choosing a more approachable, down-to-earth style. The 30-year-old spoke with The London TimesCulture magazine about her new tunes and why she’s ditching the glam in favor of something simpler for this outing.

“This time, my style just stayed naturally at how I’ve been in the studio. I started vehemently saying, ‘Get these clothes out! I’m not wearing this! I’m not wearing heels!’ And some of that, too, is because I’ve been in the studio with boys. You can’t make music with a bunch of boys who are staring at a lobster on your head,” she said. “They are going to get distracted.”

Gaga explained that although her style for other albums was far more elaborate and conceptual, her new functional style is not more authentic, just different. It’s a concerted effort to make the music the focal point, not another ring in the circus.

“To be frank, I would just prefer to go through this album cycle and talk about my music. That’d be great. It becomes about everything else, and that was what I [once] wanted,” Gaga said. “But if I wear a black T-shirt and black pants every day, [people] might listen to what I write. All the outfits, fashion and art pieces over the years made sense to me. They didn’t make sense to other people. But I always got it. It was an expression, not a hiding.”

The songstress even took a moment to describe, in her eyes, the fan she’s aiming for with her new release. They’re not a socialite or a globetrotting fashion guru, just a woman doing her best under sometimes difficult circumstances.

“This woman in middle America with hair pulled back, no makeup…[in] a sweatshirt you’d buy at the drugstore, [with] a kid in one hand, pinot grigio in the other, two kids running around. You don’t know if she’s married,” she explained. “But she’s at my show, crying her eyes out because she feels I’m speaking for her.”

Like that hypothetical fan, Joanne is also the songstress’s attempt to reclaim the fire that drove her in the early days of her music career and, in essence, embracing her flaws along the way.

“In this world, we’re all trying to keep up, put a perfect image out of who we are. But the most happy and authentic I ever feel is when I am who I was as a child.”

Joanne drops Oct. 21, 2016.