Lady Gaga needs to take a break.
After a whirlwind period that saw her write, release and promote an album very different from her earlier hits, test out her acting chops again on TV's American Horror Story, take on a career-defining gig as Super Bowl halftime headliner and grapple with the dissolution of her engagement to actor Taylor Kinney — all while being filmed for a new documentary — the performer admits she's looking forward to taking a time out.
"I'm going to take a rest ... I don't know how long," she said Friday at a midday news conference ahead of the Toronto International Film Festival debut of the documentary Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two.
Still, "that doesn't mean I won't be creating," vowed the singer, who's said her favourite thing to do is entertain others.
"I'm looking forward to reflecting and slowing down for a moment and healing, because that's important."
The documentary, directed by Chris Moukarbel, follows the pop star born Stefani Germanotta over the better part of a year, blending footage of everyday interactions with family and friends with behind-the-scenes peeks at Lady Gaga in the studio, in the makeup chair, in interviews and even in the doctor's office.
Scenes of the singer's ongoing battle with chronic, at times debilitating, pain are among the film's eye-openers. At one point, the confident performer is laid low in midst of a spasm of pain, which Moukarbel said was "incredibly hard just on a basic, fundamental, human level" to capture.
"It's hard. But it's liberating to me," Gaga said, after an emotional pause, when asked about being so candid about the topic in the film — which she has not yet watched.
Moukarbel said he "felt compelled to continue to roll and I knew that she wanted me to because that was something — of all the things — she felt should be included in the film. She was very aware of other people who struggle with similar chronic pain and not knowing how to deal with it. She's not even sure how to deal with it. That's a reality."
According to Gaga, "a very strong piece of me believes that pain is a microphone. My pain really does me no good unless I transform it into something that is," she said.
"I want people that watch [the film] — that think there's no way that I live that way because they see me dance and sing and how could it possibly be so — to know that I struggle with things like them. That I work through it and that it can be done … I don't have to hide it because I'm afraid it is weak: it's a part of me."
Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two has its world premiere at TIFF Friday evening, with Gaga to perform an intimate concert for the audience afterwards. It streams on Netflix beginning Sept. 22 and the performer will continue her Joanne world tour, which kicked off in Vancouver in August, through December.
TIFF continues through Sept. 17.