And sometimes that moment ends up talking back to you, like in “Birdman,” I guess.
Yes. [Laughs] Exactly. It’s a paradox. I love being photographed, or I should say I love the art of photography. It’s about people taking photographs of you, stealing them, and then presuming or assuming or captioning. Words can never be taken back, photographs can never be taken back, nothing can ever be taken back.
Do you think about mortality?
In some respects I will never die. Because art is immortal. What we leave behind and what we create – the energy that we put out into the world is eternal. The physical body is assembled just like a chair or a building or a flower, but the revolutions we start, the people we affect and inspire, that is eternal. So, in that respect, we do achieve immortality, and that makes me less fearful.
What do you want the next five or 10 years of your life to look like?
I want to keep growing and living life to the fullest for as long as I’m on this planet. I don’t have a specific plan. I want to be a good mother, I want my children to thrive, I want to continue to grow as an artist. And I hope I will always have the ability to create art and live in a world where I can speak freely, and I can inspire people. I don’t know what form that will take.
Are you open to falling in love again?
That was a fast answer.
I don’t doubt love for a second. I’m living for love, baby. Come on, listen to my songs!
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I enjoyed the Grammys performance — and watching the rehearsals as well.
It’s a process, yeah. I enjoyed the rehearsals more than the performance.
I enjoy the process of everything more than the pressure of the finished product. It’s like everything. When I go on tour, I like the rehearsal. I like the creation of everything. Like being able to wear my rehearsal clothes and be sweaty and not having to worry about how I look and just get into what it is I’m trying to say and do. Same with making music.
You know, the process is obviously much more liberating than delivering something for the world to judge. [Laughs] Because then you have to say, “This is the final thing.” But actually, it’s never the final thing. You wish you could do it again, or tweak it just a little bit more, or change things. Well, that’s what art is. So I enjoyed the Grammys. But after I did it, I wanted to do it again, only better. [Laughs] And of course, my experience of it is not what everybody else is experiencing. And then you have the TV aspect of it, which is, who knows what they filmed?
And it’s not under your control.
Live TV is one of the most stressful things ever. When you do your live shows, you have two hours, so if you make a mistake, it’s OK. You move on, you have 20 other songs to do. And that whole audience is there to see you anyway. But when you do an awards show, it’s not your audience. You have five minutes or less, and it’s like, do you play to the crowd? Do you play to the cameras? It’s kind of a mindf*ck.
Does the process of planning these small performance start your thinking about the tour?
I mean, when I make the music, sometimes I get fleeting moments of ideas of what I would do live. But it’s not until I start doing my promo shows that I start going, “Oh, I’m going to elaborate on this theme or this persona.” I like to create personas and then the persona changes and grows into other things. So, again, process. I’m at the beginning of that process right now, in terms of thinking of my tour and stuff.
How does that process actually work?
Well, it doesn’t just start the month before my rehearsals start. I’m gathering ideas all year long, whether that’s an art exhibit that I saw or a film that I saw or a show that I saw that inspired me, and I thought, “Oh, that’s an interesting way to use lights or to use music, or the shape of the stage, or…” I collect ideas from every world — art, fashion, music, all of it. Then these small performances start to get my juices flowing and the idea for the video became the catalyst for what I did at the Grammys, becomes the catalyst for what I do at the BRITs. It just starts spinning from there.
You didn’t end up working with Disclosure, but “Living for Love” reminds me of them a little.
They weren’t on my mind for that particular song, but obviously I love their stuff, and I wanted to work with them. And I met with them to work with them, and I played them some of my music. When I met them it was at Governor’s Ball, and they had such a busy schedule. I was in Europe, they weren’t there. When they were in New York, I wasn’t here. So we couldn’t hook up. And I had so many other moving parts, with Diplo and Kanye and Avicii, people with really busy schedules. So I couldn’t add one more problem to the equation. One more person that I was chasing. How many men can you chase? [Laughs] None! We don’t chase men. They chase us.
I remember years ago you talking about how disorganized William Orbit was during Ray of Light.
That seems to be my curse. I keep attracting extremely disorganized geniuses. Yeah.
People often assume creative people are drawn to chaos, but you’re just the opposite. Incredibly disciplined, organized.
Everybody’s process is different. Some people need to create an environment where it’s all stream of consciousness — they need to be high, they need to be drunk, they need to be surrounded by a posse, they need to have craziness around them — to create. And other people need peace and quiet and not a lot of distraction and the ability to focus. I’m more like that. But I think I’m pretty balanced with the left and right sides of my brain. I would say I’m as organized as I am creative. I don’t do really well with crowds and chaos and people coming in and out of the room. Other people seem to be fine with it, but I can’t handle it.
How do you physically write your lyrics? Do you sit and type them somewhere?
Yeah. That’s why I like peace and quiet, because to write lyrics, you have to sit there. I mean, I used to handwrite everything, but now I put everything in the computer, and I just sit there with my little laptop on my lap and write things. You know this, when you write and you see the words, it it has a different effect on you than if it’s in your head. You see it, and then you sing it or you bounce it off other people’s brains, and you get into the poetry of it, the rhythm of it, the flow of it.