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Lady Gaga is probably the only artist on the planet equally comfortable on a grubby stage in a tiny club — the sort of low-key venues she’ll play on her Bud Light x Lady Gaga Dive Bar tour, launching this week — and the world’s biggest stage at next year’s Super Howl Halftime Show. Her dive bar tour, an intimate way of introducing her extremely personal fifth album Joanne to her fans, kicks off tonight in Nashville — so fittingly, today, in a new Bud Light spot premiering exclusively on Yahoo Music, she’s previewing a new Joanne tune, “Million Reasons,” co-penned by one of Nashville’s top songsmiths, Hillary Lindsey.
Considering that most of Joanne’s collaborators are squarely from the indie world (Mark Ronson, Beck, Florence Welch, Father John Misty, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, BloodPop, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker), it may seem surprising that Gaga would team up with a mainstream country songwriter like Lindsey, best known for Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and six #1 hits for Carrie Underwood. (Lindsey also co-penned two other Joanne tracks: “Grigio Girls,” inspired by Gaga’s cancer-survivor friend, and “A-Yo.”) However, Gaga tells Yahoo Music, “I wanted to work with [Lindsey] because of [Underwood’s] ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’ and ‘Girl Crush’ — I think she’s just written some of the most beautiful country-pop records.”
Gaga elaborates: “I wanted to sit together, play her some of the music, and write with another woman — and write with a woman that was sort of in the center of the type of women, and men, that I wanted to speak to with this music. So what was so wonderful was when we sat down and started working, it was like this instant connection that we had. We’re two girls that are so different — she grew up somewhere so different from me, and you’d think that maybe we’d never get along, that it would never work — but somehow we created these songs together.”
Gaga describes “Million Reasons” as “a country song mixed with funk and rock ‘n’ roll. You would never imagine it would sound that way… the feeling underneath the record is it’s almost got like a little bit of a hip-hop feeling. But at the same time, it’s not a hip-hop song. It’s kind of like I just had no boundaries making music — and neither do any of the other people we were working with. It was kind of like what feels right, what hits the best, what’s going to get everybody in their stomach and their heart.”
Lady Gaga’s dive bar tour starts tonight in a still-secret Nashville venue, and will stream live on Bud Light’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET.; the concert will feature her first public performance of “Million Reasons.” Two other dive bar tours in undisclosed locations are set for Oct. 20 and 27 and will also be live-streamed on Facebook.
Joanne comes out Oct. 21 and will be available for preorder at LadyGaga.com starting tomorrow, Oct. 6, in standard, deluxe, and vinyl versions. For more details about the album’s creative process and inspirations, check out Gaga’s in-depth interview with Yahoo Music here.