- For other uses, see Born This Way (disambiguation).
"Born This Way" is a song written by Lady Gaga and Jeppe Laursen. It serves as the title track of Gaga's third album, Born This Way. The song was registered on BMI on January 25, 2011. The song was released on February 11th, at 6 AM EST on radio stations worldwide and was made available for sale on iTunes 3 hours later at 9 AM EST. The song not only became the 20th song to debut at number one, but it also is the 1,000th song to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, setting Billboard history. As of January 2012, "Born This Way" is also the most downloaded song in iTunes history.
- 1 Background and composition
- 2 References in popular culture
- 3 Commercial release
- 4 Remixes
- 5 Performances
- 6 Lyrics
- 7 Music video
- 8 Credits
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Background and composition
The song was written while Gaga was in Manchester, and finished in Liverpool, while touring with The Monster Ball Tour in 2010. Gaga first debuted an acapella line of the song after receiving her moon-man at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, for "Video of the Year". She also tweeted the chorus on October 21, 2010. After her tweet, Perez Hilton, replied to her with "It doesn't matter where you come from or where you've been. What matters is that you're on the right track baby! And I am! I am!" However, nearly a month later, Hilton stated in a post on his website, "We haven't heard ['Born This Way'] either, but we can't wait." Elton John described the song as a gay anthem but added later that it's a song for all people and not just for the gay community.
The lyrics of the song were sent to various outlets by Gaga so it would seem as though they had leaked lines at a time. These outlets included Popjustice, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and Perez Hilton. On Januay 27, 2011, Gaga tweeted the full lyrics in response to her fans making '#BornThisWaylyrics' the top trending topic worldwide on Twitter. Lady Gaga told Vogue, “I wrote it in ten fucking minutes and it is a completely magical message song. And after I wrote it, the gates just opened, and the songs kept coming. It was like an immaculate conception.” Lady Gaga stated, "When I started writing it, [it] was meant to be a song about revolution and freedom and lack of prejudice. And when I started to create the visuals for it, I thought so much about my fans and in so many ways it is the monsters that created the imagery."
During her acceptance for the "Best Pop Vocal Album" at the Grammys, Gaga stated that while writing the song, she pictured Whitney Houston because Gaga wasn't secure enough in herself to picture herself as a superstar singing the song.
References in popular culture
- On January 8th, Glee creator Ryan Murphy announced that there will be entire episode of Glee based on this song. "I love that that song is anthem," says Murphy. "This show is by nature optimistic and I think a character like Karofsky could turn to booze or pills or alcohol and kill themselves or do something dark. But I also love Max and I love that character and I sorta want that character to have a happy ending. So I don’t really know what that’s going to be, but I do know we’re going to do a whole episode that’s about that song."
- On February 9, 2011, Ellen DeGeneres (Piano), James Blunt (Guitar/Vocals), and Justin Bieber (Drums/Vocals) attempted to sing the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show based on the released lyrics.
- Katy Perry covered the song on March 7, 2011 during a performance in Paris.
- On the "Pretty Dead" episode of the television series Castle, the song was featured during an American beauty pageant rehearsal.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic featured a parody version of the song on his album, Alpocalypse (2011). This version was registered onto Gaga's BMI on August 18, 2011.
On February 8, 2011, Gaga tweeted the French words "Trois Jours" ("Three Days") along with a picture of the official single artwork (via TwitPic, an online image host). The cover feature a greyscale image of a young, topless Gaga, with pink hair, with blue roots. She has thick black eyeliner and dark red lipstick. There are unnatural bumps ("bones") coming from Gaga's face and shoulders. On the image capital script it reads "Born This Way". Below, but in larger size, it says "Lady Gaga".
The physical release of the single were the same limited edition digipack with some localized variations such as varying product codes and the item being manufactured in the respective country.
International Maxi CD Single
Released: 15 March, 2011
Photography: Nick Knight
|1.||"Born This Way"||4:20|
|2.||"Born This Way" (LA Riot Remix)||6:30|
|3.||"Born This Way" (Chew Fu Born To Fix Remix)||5:52|
|4.||"Born This Way" (DJ White Shadow Remix)||4:23|
Picture Disc Vinyl
Format: 12" Picture Disc Vinyl
Released: April 16, 2011
Photography: Nick Knight
Side A (33RPM)
|1.||"Born This Way"||4:20|
|2.||"Born This Way" (LA Riot Remix)||6:30|
Side B (33RPM)
|1.||"Born This Way" (Chew Fu Born To Fix Remix)||5:52|
|2.||"Born This Way" (DJ White Shadow Remix)||4:23|
The Remixes (Pt. 1)
Released: March 15, 2011
Photography: Nick Knight
|1.||"Born This Way" (LA Riot Remix)||6:30|
|2.||"Born This Way" (Chew Fu Born To Fix Remix)||5:52|
|3.||"Born This Way" (DJ White Shadow Remix)||4:23|
The Remixes (Pt. 2)
Released: March 29, 2011
Photography: Nick Knight
|1.||"Born This Way" (Michael Woods Remix)||6:24|
|2.||"Born This Way" (Grum Remix)||5:16|
|3.||"Born This Way" (Dada Life Remix)||6:30|
|4.||"Born This Way" (Zedd Remix)||5:48|
|5.||"Born This Way" (Bimbo Jones Remix)||6:46|
|6.||"Born This Way" (Twin Shadow Remix)||4:06|
Lady Gaga's webstore
On February 12, 2011, three bundle packs were released.
- Two wrist bands
- Born This Way Tattoo key chain
- Negative print tote bag
- Studded Graffiti T-shirt
- The option of either:
- The physical CD-single
- The MP3
- Without the single (Only merchandise)
The Country Road Version
Gaga announced on The Gayle King Show her intention to release a "stripped down" version of Born This Way along with a music video and all the benefit will go to an anti-bullying charity. On March 25, 2011, Lady Gaga released an alternate version of Born This Way, called the "Country Road" edit. This version was also released as a gift to her fans (she has become the first person on Twitter with 9,000,000 followers). On April 5, 2011, the Country Road version was released on iTunes, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). As of now, no music video with the "Country Road" edit was released.
This new version produced by Lady Gaga and Fernando Garibay, was recorded while on tour and features new Lady Gaga vocals and added guitar and harmonica. The new vocals also include a new stanza before the bridge of the song:
On June 4, 2021, a cover by Orville Peck who co-produced the song with Christopher Stracey was released. It was later included on Born This Way Reimagined (2021).
- Bimbo Jones Club Remix — 6:46
- Chew Fu "Born to Fix" Remix — 5:52
- The Country Road Version — 4:21
- Culture Shock "UK Desi" Remix — 4:06
- DJ White Shadow Remix — 4:24
- Dada Life Remix — 5:16
- Grum Remix — 5:48
- Guéna LG "Glam As You" Remix — 5:22
- Jost & Naaf Remix — 5:58
- LA Riots Remix — 6:32
- Manhattan Clique Remix — 6:27
- Manhattan Clique Radio Remix — 3:38
- Michael Woods Remix — 6:24
- Salim-Sulaiman "Bollywood" Remix — 4:12
- Starsmith Remix — 6:45
- Twin Shadow Remix — 4:06
- Zedd Remix — 6:30
Gaga performed "Born This Way" for the first time at the 53rd Grammy Award Ceremony on February 13, 2011. She arrived at the awards ceremony in a giant incubating vessel that was carried onto the red carpet by numerous fashion models. She later emerged from another bigger egg on stage, symbolizing the full growth of the embryo and the arrival of the time of birth. The "Born This Way" performance was introduced by Ricky Martin. In the first seconds, Lady Gaga broke the "egg" after performing the intro of the song ("It doesn't matter if you love Him, or capital H-I-M"), her emergence from the incubator symbolizing her 'rebirth.' She was dressed in a translucent yellow raincoat and hat which she quickly shed to reveal matching translucent yellow bra and full-length skirt. Before the "No matter gay, straight or bi" line of the song, Gaga incorporated a short improvisation based upon the famous organ music Toccata and Fugue, commonly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach. During this part of the performance, Lady Gaga whipped her hair in a manner similar to Willow Smith. In an interview with Jay Leno Gaga confirmed Smith was, indeed, her inspiration. Throughout the performance, Gaga sported four flesh-colored protrusions on her cheeks and forehead in addition to one on each of her shoulders.
At the February 19, 2011 date of The Monster Ball Tour, after hinting to the crowd during "Bad Romance" ("You better not leave when this song is done, there may be a surprise") Gaga performed the song as a second encore using the same general attire and choreography as the Grammy performance, however the incubation vessel was not present and slight alterations were made in the outfits of her dancers. The track was then added to the set-list of the concert tour.
|Mar 12||Connection||Louisville, KY|
|Mar 13||Round-Up Saloon||Dallas, TX|
|Mar 14||Station 4|
|Mar 17||The Max||Omaha, NE|
|Mar 24||Krave||Las Vegas, NV|
|May 9||Robin Hood Gala||New York, NY|
|Jun 15||Little Monsters Video Awards||Paris|
|Jul 3||Taichung Arena||Taichung City|
|Jul 7||Marina Bay Sands||Marina Bay|
|Jul 11||Nevermind Nightclub||Sydney|
|Jul 13||Gaga Live At Sydney Monster Hall|
|Oct 15||William J. Clinton Foundation||Hollywood Bowl, CA|
|Dec 3||KISS FM's Jingle Ball||Los Angeles, CA|
|Dec 9||Z100's Jingle Ball||New York, NY|
|Jan 22||White House||Washington D.C.|
|Apr 15||Coachella||Indio, CA|
|Sep 12||MTV Video Music Awards||MTV|
|Feb 13||53rd Grammy Awards||CBS|
|May 5||The Oprah Winfrey Show||NBC|
|May 13||The Graham Norton Show||BBC One|
|May 15||BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend||BBC One|
|May 21||Saturday Night Live||NBC|
|May 27||Good Morning America||ABC|
|Jun 9||Germany's Next Topmodel||Pro 7|
|Jun 17||Paul O'Grady Live||ITV|
|Jun 19||MuchMusic Video Awards||MuchMusic|
|Jun 28||Taratata||France 4|
|Jun 29||SMAPxSMAP||Fuji TV|
|Jul 11||A Current Affair|
|Jul 28||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||ABC|
|Nov 17||Children In Need||BBC|
|Nov 24||A Very Gaga Thanksgiving||ABC|
|Dec 23||Music Station||TV Asahi|
|Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest||ABC|
|Oct 26||The Late Late Show with James Corden||CBS|
|Feb 5||Super Bowl LI halftime show||FOX|
|The Monster Ball: Arena version||2011 (Feb 19—May 6)||41|
|The Born This Way Ball Tour||2012-2013 (All dates)||98|
|Lady Gaga Live at Roseland Ballroom||Mar 28—Apr 7, 2014||7|
|artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball||2014 (All Dates)||79|
|Enigma||2018—2020 (All Dates)||29|
|Jazz & Piano Engagement||2019 (All Dates)||10|
|Total of performances||313|
The shooting of the music video for "Born This Way" began on January 22, 2011, and spanned until the 24th. MTV.fr reported that the video was set to be released on February 24th, however, on February 22nd, Gaga revealed that the release date is set for February 28th at 11:00 AM (Eastern Time). Lady Gaga told 92.3 that the vision and theme of the video is birthing a new race within humanity.
On the 24th Gaga revealed plans of a second music video. The video will use a more stripped down version of the song, and the video will be released onto iTunes following the release of the first video. The money raised from downloads will go to charity. It is rumored that the video was shot but for some reason was never released.
On May 31, 2012, Nick Knight, through SHOWstudio's tumblr, released stills and gifs of a 15 second scene that was cut from the video. The reason for the release was as a thank you to Lady Gaga's little monsters for their continued support of SHOWstudio.
The video was inspired by Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon. The video is about the birth of a new race. A race that bears no prejudice and a race that's primary ambition in life is to inspire unity, togetherness, and freedom.
In an interview with MTV, Laurieann Gibson explained the background of the video: "We took two days and when Gags was making the album, she wanted to be in New York. This was the place that we started. This was the place that birthed her. This was the place that birthed my dance. New York just has something so real about birthing something specific. So I took her to Alvin Ailey [where I studied dance], and we rehearsed there because the choreography is really modern-based. It's, like, more technical than anything she's ever done. That was a great moment to engulf her in a real dance world and push her ability choreographically. At first, when I thought about birthing a new race and adding the prosthetics, I thought that maybe they should have a certain way they should walk or maybe they move a certain way, but then I realized it is actually a race within our race; it's a mindset. So they don't have to walk funny. So I just told the story of the record. We birth ourselves out of the womb. There's lots of pushing and birthing [in the video]. There's lots of punching through the adversity, and then we go to church. So it's very symbolic, it's really based in modern dance: She's doing [Martha] Graham. She's doing [Lester] Horton. These are legitimate dance techniques.
And we shot the video in Brooklyn over two days and it was freezing cold. And we had to hide the location and we were quite successful except at the last day there was one paparazzi sneaking around. We had to build these boards and move because she was so passionate about it [not] getting out to her fans before it was ready. She wanted Nick Knight for the video, that was completely from the gate. She was like, 'I want Nick Knight for this video, I want a visual. She was always birthing something visual in her head. [Knight's] prolific, but he's so genius visually. He's such an Englishman. He's so particular and everything must be spot-on. [The video] was about a beautiful photograph and it was about pushing the bar; it is a viral message. Nick was flawless." 
Synopsis and fashion credits
The video begins with a brief shot of a unicorn's silhouette in front of a city skyline (in a heavy nod to Fritz Lang's German masterpiece Metropolis), framed in a pink triangle. The pink triangle symbolizes gay rights because under the Nazi Germany, every prisoner in Concentration Camps had to wear a badge on their jackets, the color of their badges categorizing them into categories. Individuals who were sexual offenders (including homosexual men) had to wear the pink triangle. The triangle transitions to a shot of Lady Gaga sitting in an ornate glass throne amidst a star-filled space on G.O.A.T. (Government Owned Alien Territory). In these scenes, Gaga has two opposite heads and is wearing a stained glass dress, a neck regalia and headress with her hair in a bouffant. Bernard Herrmann’s prelude to the movie Vertigo plays while Gaga declares, "This is the manifesto of Mother Monster", and she begins telling the prologue of the video—a story of the creation of an extraterrestrial race which "bears no prejudice, no judgment, but boundless freedom". Gaga is shown sitting in the throne above a planet, with her legs spread apart, giving birth to a "new race within the race of humanity".
- Acrylic starbust chair by Just Plastics, heads by Marla Weinhoff.
- Lady Gaga wears a stained glass dress and shoulder pice by Petra Storrs, a diamond neckpiece and ginger rings by Erickson Beamon, earrings by Pamela Love, shoes by Natacha Marro, a head accessory by Alexis Bittar, and a technical chiffon by Thierry Mugler.
- Raquel Zimmermann: bodysuit by Atsuko Kudo, a transparent latex tubed collar by The Baroness, and a double leather boots by Kobi Levi.
The Birth of Evil
But as she continues, Gaga explains that on the same day the new race was born, evil was also born. As a result of the birth of evil, Gaga is split in half while being pulled between the two opposing forces of good and evil. Her new half gives birth to an assault rifle and begins to fire it. The prologue concludes with Gaga questioning, "How can I protect something so perfect, without evil?"
- Lady Gaga wears a dress by Sorcha O Raghallaigh, knife shoes by Thierry Mugler, gloves by Portolano , and nails by Aya Fukuda.
- Rico: technical chiffon by Thierry Mugler and a harness by Void of Course.
The New Race
As the song begins, numerous people are shown on their hands and knees in a motionless, organized pattern in a seemingly endless black space. Gaga appears in a black lingerie with shoulder and facial protrusions. She begins walking in an eccentric manner amongst them with raised "paw", before contently nodding her head and crouching on her hands and knees to join them. When the first verse begins, everyone raises their heads and begins dancing to elaborate choreography. The scenes alternate between Gaga and her dancers and Gaga singing on her throne in space.
- Lady Gaga wears a bra by OMD, underwear by Stephanie Paterek for NYC SexTrash, custom gloves by Silke Debler and Wing & Weft, customized half sole shoes by Capezio, a customized Born This Way jacket by Tom Tom Fashions, and slime art by Bart Hess.
As the second verse begins, Gaga and Canadian model Rick Genest (Zombie Boy) are both shown wearing tuxedos, with her face painted to mirror his full-body zombie tattoos. Alternating clips show Gaga caressing and attempting to dance with Genest while he stays expressionless and motionless for the most part.
When the chorus plays for the second time, Gaga sings in a room of mirrors, while her head is displayed in a glass box among several oddly distorted mannequin heads. In the succeeding shots, she is once again shown on her throne giving birth to more members of the new race. Several more choreographed routines are performed by Gaga and her dancers, and when the song ends, they all gather in a circle and embrace in a hug.
- Clear shelf with cutout by Just Plastics, heads by Marla Weinhoff.
- Lady Gaga wears a bodysuit by Atsuko Kudo, and shoes by Kobi Levi.
In the video's conclusion, a person's silhouette in a jacket and a bejewled glove dances and struts in an alley, a tribute to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" music video. The silhouette is revealed to be Gaga, though her face is drastically misconstrued, with sharp horns protruding from her face, glowing eyes, uneven hair, and a distinct Madonna-esque gap between her front teeth (using a black sharpie). She sheds a single tear while still looking blissful nonetheless. The pink triangle frame appears again, and inside it, a silhouette of Gaga sitting atop the sparkling unicorn seen at the beginning of the video is shown. A city is seen in the background and a rainbow appears above her and the unicorn. The final shot is a closeup of Gaga once again in her zombie makeup, chewing bubble gum and blowing a bubble, and the pink triangle zooms away.
On set, when Gaga asked Rick Genest why he had all of his tattoos, he replied because when he was younger, he chewed Bazooka Bubble Gum all the time and always applied faux tattoos on the inside of the packaging. He ended up being pleased with the way he looked with all the tattoos, so it inspired him to get his full-body tattoos. That is the reason why there is bubble gum in the video.
- Lady Gaga wears a shirt and pants by Perry Meek for Haus of Gaga, shoes by Natacha Marro, a belt by Billykirk, gloves by LaCrasia Gloves, and an unicorn horn by Jennifer Behr.
- Programming — Fernando Garibay, DJ White Shadow
- Keyboard — Lady Gaga, Fernando Garibay
- Instrumentation and arrangement — Lady Gaga, Fernando Garibay
- Recording — Dave Russell at Abbey Road Studios (4 November 2010, London ) and Germano Studios (New York )
- Assistant at Abbey Road Studios — Pete Hutchings
- Mixing — Dave Russell at Germano Studios (New York )
- Assistant — Kenta Yonesaka, Kevin Porter, Al Carlson
- Mastering — Gene Grimaldi at Oasis Mastering (Burbank )
- [ASCAP] Korsbæk Publishing
- Sony/ATV Songs LLC / House of Gaga Publishing LLC (BMI)
- Director — Nick Knight, Haus of Gaga
- Director of photography — Eduard Grau
- First assistant director — Richard Patricks
- Choreography and creative direction — Laurieann Gibson
- Styling — Nicola Formichetti
- Styling assistants — Anna Trevelyan, Brandon Maxwell, Sophie Ruthensteiner, Tom Eerebout, Rosaan Wyzard, Julien Alleyne, Hayley Pisaturo
- Hair stylist — Sam McKnight assisted by Koji
- Wigs — Frederic Aspiras
- Make up — Billy B
- Make up assistant — Tara Savelo
- Gaga zombie makeup — William Lemon III, Dani Fonseca
- Manicurist — Deborah Lippmann
- Nails — Aya Fukuda
- Production design — Marla Weinhoff
- Executive production Interscope Records — Nicole Ehrlich
- Executive production art + commerce — Ziggy Le Vin
- Production — Steven Johnson
- Production company — Factory Features
- Editor — Dustin Robertson
- Visual effects post supervision — George Loucas (Baked FX)
- Visual effects direction — Loic Maes and David Moquay (Baked FX)
- Visual effects artists — Drew Arnold, Stefan Moore, Lee Grambush, Kyle Belko and Ryan Egan (Baked FX)
- Colorist — Bob Curreri
- Sound design — Pete Siciliano
- Models — Raquel Zimmermann (DNA Models), Jaunel McKenzie (IMG), Kinee Douf (IMG), Mari Malek (DJAMEE Models), Trissan (D1), Loemi (Premier), Flaviana (Next)
- Dancers — Victor Rojas, Mark Kanemura, Richard Jackson, ???