“Paparazzi” is one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs, and a small part of why of I like it (I mostly just like it because it’s a fun song) is because of it’s comment on fame, love, and paparazzi and tabloid culture. It could be argued that it’s from the point of view of the paparazzi, or the star, or a that it switches at some point, but for me it always seems to almost be both at the same time. Of course, all of that is in the song, but it turns out the true heart of the song, the true inspiration is Lady Gaga’s unrequited love for ex-boyfriend Luc Carl.
According to a new book out by one of her best friends at the time, she wrote “Paparazzi” when she was still far from famous, and lines like “I’m your biggest fan, I’ll chase you down until you love me” were really about an emotionally unavailable boyfriend who was jealous when she wasn’t around, and ignored her when she was. She called Luc Carl “Papa,” so “Paparazzi” was just a thinly veiled name for him.
Gaga and Luc Carl broke up around the time she hit it big, and he tried to cash in on her fame by writing a memoir called Drunk Diet that explains how he lost 40 pounds while completely wasted. They later got back together when she was super famous, (she also wrote “You and I” about their reunion) but from everything I’ve read so far in Rivington Was Ours, the dude was not a good boyfriend. Not only did he ignore her most of their time together in the bar scene of the Lower East Side, but he hit on other chicks, and at some point told her that he hoped she’d fail.
The “Paparazzi” video is one of my favorite music videos. She should use director Jonas Åkerlund for all of her videos:
Here’s Gaga in the early days with the author of the memoir Rivington Was Ours, DJ VH1 a.k.a. Brendan Jay Sullivan. It’s a really good read, even if you’re not necessarily a Lady Gaga fan. He’s a vivid storyteller, and the book details exactly how an unknown singer-songwriter can morph into an international pop star in a few months.