Remember that one girl who got pulled up onstage at the ArtRave to sing "Born This Way" with Lady Gaga? Today, that same Little Monster has won a hard fought victory in the music business, and is now a signed artist with Sony. Michelle Treacy is currently prepping for an album, a forthcoming tour, and promoting her newest single to hit radio, the slow burn breakup ballad "Armageddon." I sat down with Michelle (pronounced "Mee-Shell," like the Paul McCartney tune) to learn how she made her dreams come true with stamina, inspiration... and lots of pizza!
How are you today?
I'm great! I've been obsessed with Gaga Daily for years, so this is really exciting for me!
You have had a truly unique experience as a Lady Gaga fan.
Well, a few years ago, I actually met her at Roseland Ballroom when she was closing out Roseland. I think she did a week of shows. And I kept meeting her. And meeting her. And meeting her! And I didn't try, some of the times I met her. It was kind of like I became a magnet to her, and every time she'd see me, she'd come right straight to me. And every time I'd see her, I'd say, can you make my dream come true and let me sing on stage with you?
I thought maybe if I'm repetitive, maybe one day it would click! And every time, she would say yes. Then in Montreal, I saw her again right before her show. And I asked her the same question. That was in March or April, and then Montreal was in July. Then she said, "Yeah, I'll look for you tonight." And we got into the show super late. We had GA tickets, nothing special. We didn't think we'd get front row, or anything, and we actually ended up getting a spot right where the stair case was, right where the bodygaurd was. So it was meant to be. She spotted me as soon as she got on the stage.
I remember seeing the YouTube video.
I had a sign. It was just like a paper thing, I just wrote a few words, "Can I sing 'Born This Way' with you?", just to remind her that it was me. And she looked at me, and she nodded her head yes, and I took a big huge sip of my water, and then she was like, "Will the little girl with the mermaid bikini please come up on stage?" And then I just walked on up. Got stuck in the top of the stairs, because I was wearing, like, ten-inch heels! And struggled! It was great.
What was it like singing in front of a stadium full of people next to your idol?
It was a dream come true. It was everything I had dreamed of. It was everything I worked for. It's everything I ever wanted to be. In that moment, I turned to her, and I said — obviously, I thanked her a million times — but I told her how grateful I was. And I said, "This is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life."
She just looked at me, and she smiled, and... I forgot my name.... and... it was great! You know, it was an experience that everyone wishes they could get. I'm really grateful. And I always try and tell people: achieve their dreams. And give advice [to people.] I want it to happen to everyone else.
We also went to a couple shows after and I kept meeting her. People kept asking me, "Oh, are you going to do it again? Are you going to do it again?" and I was like, "No, I've had my chance with her, I've already done it, now it's someone else's turn." Do you know what I mean? Everyone wanted me to do it again. And I was like, "No, no — it's someone else's turn. You gotta help everyone.
Do you draw inspiration from Gaga in a different way now that you are a star in your own right, then you did when you were a fan? Or has nothing changed?
Do I draw new inspiration? Nothing has changed. I draw a lot of inspiration from b******t. Maybe that's too honest, but I'm a very honest person. A huge inspiration for me was Amy Winehouse. And you know, she really wrote about s**t she went through. Experiences that she went through. I want to be honest in my artistry. I want to talk about things that actually happened to me, I can't sit down and write you a bubblegum song, and put it out. That's not me.
How was it like in the beginning, at what point did you know, "This is what I want to do"?
Honestly I never had a moment when I said, "This is what I want to do." It was kind of when I popped out. My brother asked for a sister. He named me, he raised me on music. He would spend all his money bringing me to concerts. And that was my schooling! My parents were very supportive. They took me halfway across the world to do X Factor UK. I'm a global citizen. I tried everything. I did so many competitions. So many tv shows. Nothing worked out. I got "no"s every time. People told me I'd never make it — people told me to stop, and think of a plan B. And anyone who ever told me to think of a plan B, I'd stop. I'd prove wrong. There you go, just prove 'em all wrong!
Exactly like Gaga herself did at one time.
Yeah! I mean, it's hard. When you get people you really look up to telling you that you're garbage, you start to believe it. And it was really hard being supported by nobody but my family (who've always been very supportive) — but I'm such a person who is like, "I don't care what people think — I'm just gonna do what makes me happy." I live and breathe music. Without music... I think... I would be really sick. This is my therapy. This is all I know. This is my fighting anthem.
That's beautiful. A lot of people are going to see in your music exactly how you feel.
Describe a typical day in Michelle Treacy's life.
I wake up tired. I eat pizza! Probably. Either a huge day of promo, and seeing myself next to my idols on the charts — which is really crazy even saying that! I interact online with my fans, whom I call "Rebels." I don't like calling them my fans. That doesn't feel right to me. I feel like it kind of puts them below me — and I don't like that. I don't know if that sounds crazy, or if you understand that. I call them "Rebels." I like to comment back, on my YouTube and stuff. I like hearing people's stories and talking to them. And then, I'll probably eat pizza. Again! And then I'll have band rehearsal with my really sweet boys. We're gonna play live soon, because it's incredible, it's gonna be a great rock show. And then I'll probably eat pizza again. Probably around midnight. And then... I'll probably go to bed at like 6 am. And wake up at 10 am. And do it all again. I go to bed very late.
So, what are your musical influences besides Gaga?
Amy Winehouse, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, a lot of the greats. Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks. Just the greats.
You know how Stevie Nicks has mentored the band HAIM?
In a way, Gaga has kind of mentored you.
She's been my teacher for so long. And she really, from afar, helped me become an artist, and really believe in myself. Just through her music. You know, I didn't know her my whole life. She made me believe, just go kick some butt. Yoko Ono really helped me as well. She has said, "Never have one single doubt. Once you start doubting yourself, it's not gonna happen. You really got to believe 100%. And that's what I did with my experience with Gaga, I really just believed and said, "Whatever happens, happens." I let go, and it happened. When you let go— it happens.
It's great to see you have such a broad pool of influences. It's going to come out in your music, it's going to make it that much richer. I've seen so far that your success is really starting build. In July, your single Armageddon became the most added song on Top 40 radio in Canada! Congratulations.
Yeah, it was crazy! Thank you.
"Armageddon" is a very powerful song.
I say that all my songs that I've written are "f**k you" songs to someone. In "Armageddon," I wrote it because my family went through a really tough time — my parents got divorced. I saw my mom kind of lose herself in it, and not know who she was, and it was just bad. So it felt like a kind of armageddon. And I watched her become this fighter. She said [to me], "You know what, I'm gonna really focus on myself and figure my life out." And now, she's the strongest, most awesome saint in the world. She's amazing. It was really inspiring for me for her to just come out of her shell and feel happy again. She's in a great relationship now, with somebody she's known since she was 19 years old. Which is amazing, how everything works out. She's really happy. She just says to me, "Thank you for saying all the words I could never say." It's really rewarding for me to see her enjoy my music so much.
It must be. We all look to our parents for approval, and if they enjoy it, there's no other feeling on earth that equals that.
I do like when they don't like a song though! And they tell me. 'Cause then, I'm like, okay, I gotta re-evaluate or write a better song. They are my "no" people. I think you always need some "no" people around you.
You can't have all "yes men."
What's next for you? Are you gonna be touring, is there an album... what can we look forward to?
So, I found the best boys [in the band] in the world. They are musical geniuses, they make me cry. We fit together, and now I'm in this great rock and roll sandwich of really cute boys. We're gonna put on the best live show. I can't say when, but it's coming. An album is coming! I've been working on it four years. I just want people to know that I didn't get this handed to me. And it wasn't Gaga who got me my record deal, it was me just being just who I am. I never asked anyone for help. I just struggled on my own. I feel like that's a part of it. You just really need to struggle, and just keep going. When people say no, you just get stronger. You cry, you let it out, and you get stronger. You go past it. You write even better songs. And you get even better vocals. You know, I wasn't always the best singer — I'm still not the best singer. But you keep improving, and you keep going. And it's really amazing to see the reactions of people when I play my songs. So, so far, things are looking up.
Never let the haters get you down!
Yeah! Another thing I'm really excited because now that "Armageddon" is doing so well, people that I've idolized as songwriters are reaching out. And I want to get out everywhere, and I have one foot off the balcony because I'm so excited. Maybe there are some cool collaborations coming up soon which Gaga fans will probably die over. Because I'm gagging over it!
The thing I love about Gaga is she gave me friends. I never had friends. She gave me some really great ones who are really loyal. Little Monsters are some of the most loyal fans in the world. She's really lucky. And for her to allow me into that world, and to share with me her fans, it's really amazing. I really appreciate her!
We here at Gaga Daily thank you for your time and wish you good luck in your bright future!
Watch the official music video for "Armageddon" by Michelle Treacy below or click here to purchase the track on iTunes!
Follow Michelle on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichelleTreacy