When Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” premiered two days ago, the Madonna comparisons came fast and furious. It sounded like “Vogue”! It sounded like “Express Yourself”! Some people even went into the R&B world, asking if she’d ripped off TLC’s “Waterfalls.”
But as it turns out, the “immaculate fucking conception” of the drag-queen-toasting track was inspired in part by Whitney Houston. While accepting her trophy for The Fame Monster‘s Best Pop Album win, she wound up talking about her new song—because if you were teasing something out for as long as Lady Gaga presaged “Born This Way,” it would probably be on your mind, too, right?
“When I wrote ‘Born This Way,’ I imagined [Whitney Houston] was singing it because I wasn’t secure enough in myself.”
Keep in mind that Gaga claimed to have written this song in a 45-minute burst of creativity and gay pride, so the length of time that Whitney actually lingered on her mind is probably somewhere under the 10-minute mark. Is this a weird attempt at sucking up to Clive Davis? No, the lineage makes sense in a way! After all, Gaga’s only 24, which means that she was only five or six years old when Whitney unleashed her cover of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” on pop radio, and the empowerment-filled lyrics could definitely be seen as a precursor to the message-laden lines of “Born This Way”:
Someone get to the mashup machine quickly! (Also, someone get Gaga some Chaka Khan records.)