Meaning of “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

“Shallow” is a song from the 2018 musical romantic drama film titled A Star Is Born. The song is performed by American singer Lady Gaga and American actor Bradley Cooper. This powerful ballad sees the singers/narrators (Gaga and Cooper) exchanging profound lines about diving into the deep end and leaving the shallow area behind. Their sole reason for staying away from the shallow is in order to be safe from the world.

During her interview with Zane Lowe on his radio show on Beats 1, Lady Gaga shed more light on the lyrics of this tune. According to her, the lyrics focus on two individuals “talking to each other” about their burning desire to “dive into the deep” and be as far away from the “shallow area” as possible. She went on to refer to the song as a very special one. Gaga also revealed that the tune was made for the characters Ally and Jackson from the film A Star Is Born.

Lyrics of "Shallow"

Facts about “Shallow”

  • “Shallow” was written by Lady Gaga alongside three other songwriters, including the noted English musician and record producer Mark Ronson. The other two songwriters are Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.
  • Gaga produced this track along with American music producer Benjamin Rice. Aside Gaga, Rice has worked with include Britney Spears, Robin Thicke and Selena Gomez.
  • The tune was premiered on September 27, 2018 on Zane Lowe’s radio show on Beats 1.
  • “Shallow” is one of the 34 tracks on the soundtrack album of the musical film A Star Is Born. The official title of that soundtrack album is A Star Is Born Soundtrack.
  • In her interview with Lowe during the song’s premier, Gaga revealed that Cooper was the one who personally pitched the entire project to her. She said the actor visited her at her house where they both performed “Midnight Special” by the band Creedence Clearwater Revival. Gaga further revealed that upon hearing Cooper’s singing voice she was instantly “blown away by it”.
  • “Shallow” won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 91st Academy Awards. In achieving this feat, it beat four other songs, including Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars“. 

Does Lady Gaga appear in the movie A Star Is Born?

Yes. She plays the character Ally, who is a singer-songwriter and the love interest and mentor of Cooper’s character Jackson Maine. FYI: the film was directed and co-produced by Cooper. In addition to that, he also co-wrote the screenplay.

Is this the first time that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have worked together?

Yes. “Shallow” marks the first ever collaboration between the two stars.

Have Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper ever performed this song live?

Yes. The pair performed this song together live for the first time on January 26, 2019. The epic performance took place at the Las Vegas residency of Gaga. You can watch that stunning performance below:

Did “Shallow” win a Grammy?

Yes. It actually won multiple Grammy Awards. At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, this song was nominated for as many as four Grammy Awards. Below are the categories in which it was nominated:

  • Song of the Year
  • Record of the Year
  • Best Song Written for Visual Media
  • Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

The song went on to win the latter two categories. It lost the former two categories to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America“.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performing “Shallow” live for the second time. This epic performance of the song took place at the 91st Academy Awards on February 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

22 Responses

  1. Kathy Cheer says:

    I don’t find the music or the lyrics of “Shallow” that astounding! I has nowhere the impact of “Hallelujah” or “Over the Rainbow” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” or songs from “Rocky Horror”. It’s boring and shallow..

    • Aimee Su says:

      i couldn’t get into these lyrics either. Their first live performance in Las Vegas tho was compelling, captivating even.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t “get” the lyrics?
        They make me cry every time.
        I guess it speaks to whether you can relate to the general feeling that most of the planet and so much of life is just filled with b_s and unnecessary pain — and there’s no dream more beautiful that imagining being way off away from it all with someone you love, and are loved by, unconditionally.

        Because once you’ve experienced that, you never want to “have your feet on the floor” again either.

        I think Gaga’s most classic/famous/outrageous song and brilliant and as groundbreaking for our age as Madonna was in the 1980s. But THIS song is even MORE emotionally powerful, universal, and powerful than the one she wrote about her rape (which was about as personal as you can get.)

  2. Kathy Cheer says:

    What you have in “A Star is Born” is two big egos performing before a camera and orchestra. Because of GAGA’s enormous star identity, one can’t even believe in her acting as anyone else.

    • Oscar says:

      Dear Kathy,
      I think you misunderstood the song therefore picking wrong conclusions. This is because you may have been consumed by your own ego, being a shallow, superficial and boring person.

      • Zenon Komarniski says:

        amen…this is a very simple yet deep song….sad how people choose to judge based on their own sadness of life instead of just being open to the beauty around them…we all have that right to choose things we like and don’t like…but we also have the ability to be thankful of others and their gifts without being sad and petty of our own short comings within ourselves…

  3. Chris says:

    There isn’t a perfect moment in the world that someone is not prepared to trample over with their negativity, is there Kathy?

  4. Sho says:

    Well said Oscar and Chris

  5. Maureen says:

    Although I don’t agree with Kathy’s assessment of the song Shallow, I’ll accept her opinion. We are all at different levels of experience and enlightenment. There would be a time in my own life that I wouldn’t “get it” either but where I’m at now I find the words to this song deep (no pun intended) and very meaningful. My whole life now is about staying away from the shallow end and diving deep into myself and finding out who I really am. I had a moment of clarity once and I experienced that feeling that no one could hurt me . So I get the idea of staying away from that part of me that is egoistic and shallow because you really are safe from the world in that state. I’ve had that experience so I have a “knowing” of sorts and why I can relate to the song. What blows me away is that the writers of this song are so young and have this “knowing” too. They are very blessed.

    • Steve shafer jr says:

      Maureen very eloquently put and good luck with the Awakening in your life. Never stop doing what you believe in.

    • cuiml8 says:

      Wow Maureen! Great explanation and I’m happy for you. I’d like to add that most actors and performers have quite the egos. I don’t get that impression from Gaga AT ALL. Google her. She’s very down to earth and intelligent. I’m not sure about Bradley Cooper but I haven’t seen any sign of the egotistic behavior either.

  6. John says:

    Take the song in its context!
    Two people connected by similar passions, on parallel courses, one rising, one falling, yet trying to each fullfil the other by a deep dive of love but fail as the enveloping shallowness within the crucible of their endeavors sentences one of them to death.

    Maureen, is right! Interpretation is individual, based on the refraction of experience and events thru our own personal filters…not absolutes here!

  7. Gisela Padula says:

    Well said Maureen! You nailed it! I hope your comment will clarify the meaning of the Shallow song and give people a much better understanding! I’m getting married soon and we are using this song for our first dance.

  8. Scott says:

    Looking at that video they have got it on

  9. Laura says:

    Very deep lyrics, beautiful meaning yet sad… only those who have been in such a situation will deeply understand the meaning. I love it!

  10. noe says:

    from what ive heard its gaga’s past of her boyfriend that were in the same band during college rumor has it she stold his music, that song my theory says were expectations were with her past bf. its like what it really was but a spin in reality,, rewrite her history. like a real life fairy tale

  11. Lirik says:

    Woooow. somehow I always listen to this song,

  12. Wanda says:

    I believe this song is about deep calling to deep. One has an addiction driven by hurts from the world but discovers beauty in another and is able to pull it out like unwrapping a gift. The gift responds to this deep love and wants to return it, by showing an unconditional love in return but gets hurt by him who can’t receive it because he doesn’t see himself as good for her future.. as we know true love never fails and only God who is love can fill the void and thirst for more.

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