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"Born This Way" is a song by American singer Lady Gaga, and the lead single from her second studio album of the same name. Written by Gaga and Jeppe Laursen, who produced along with Fernando Garibay and DJ White Shadow, it was developed while Gaga was on the road with The Monster Ball Tour. Inspired by the 1990s empowering music for women and the gay community, Gaga explained that "Born This Way" was her freedom song. She sang part of the chorus at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in 2010 and announced the song as the lead single from the album. The single was released on February 11, 2011.
The song is backed by rumbling synth sounds, a humming bass and additional chorus percussion, with sole organ toward the end. The lyrics discuss the self-empowerment of minorities including the LGBT community as well as racial minorities, referring to "cholas" and "orients", which drew criticism from Latino and Asian communities. Critics positively reviewed the song, calling it a "club-ready anthem", though it faced criticism for having similarities with Madonna's 1989 single "Express Yourself". The song reached number one in over 25 countries and was her third single to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and the 1,000th song in that chart's history (since 1958) to reach number one. "Born This Way" has sold 10.2 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Nick Knight directed the accompanying music video, which was inspired by painters like Salvador Dalí and Francis Baconand their surrealistic images. Gaga is depicted as giving birth to a new race during a prologue. A series of dance sequences later, the video concludes with the view of a city populated by this race. Critics noted cultural references to the work of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Björk, late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, as well as to Greek mythology and surrealism.
Gaga performed the song at the 53rd Grammy Awards after coming out of an incubating vessel. It was also performed during the last leg of The Monster Ball Tour and in television shows such as Saturday Night Live, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and Good Morning America. The song was treated with different remixes, including a "Country Road" version recorded by Gaga herself and another by Indian production duo Salim-Sulaiman. Alice Cooper, Madonna, Katy Perry, Maria Aragon, and the cast of the TV series Glee have covered the song.