During a Los Angeles radio appearance on Thursday, Lady Gaga shared her thoughts on the passing of Amy Winehouse -- and told the emotional story behind her power ballad "The Edge of Glory."
"I didn't know Amy (Winehouse); I just loved her so much," Gaga told KIIS-FM's JoJo Wright. "I was such a huge fan, and I was a go-go dancer in New York when she was really big. So Amy gave me hope."
This account came days after Lady Gaga took to Twitter to express her grief and sadness after 27-year-old Winehouse died suddenly -- possibly from alcohol withdrawal -- in her London home on July 23. "Amy changed pop music forever, I remember knowing there was hope, and feeling not alone because of her. She lived jazz, she lived the blues," tweeted Gaga on July 24.
While on the radio, the singer also shared the powerful story of how her grandfather's death led her to write "The Edge of Glory." Watch her emotional retelling below.
"I had never experienced death before in my family -- it was my very first time," Gaga recalls. "And my grandmother and grandfather were married sixty years, and my grandmother was a virgin when she got married. So there was this purity between the two of them. And I just remember feeling so sad, and yet I knew that when he looked at her and she looked back -- even though he couldn't really move -- they both sort of acknowledged that they had won at life, because they won at love with each other."
When Gaga and her father returned home from their visit, they began doing tequila shots ("I've got that kind of relationship with my dad," she notes). While they were reminiscing and drinking, she sat down at the piano and wrote "The Edge of Glory."
"And my dad never really wrote music with me, but he was always kind of around the piano when I was a kid going, 'Yeah kid, that's good! That note right there, that's the one! That's the lyric right there!'" says Gaga. "So I was crying and he was crying and I was writing this song, and he was saying, 'That's it, that's it.' So for some reason, I felt like I was able to express what my dad couldn't express, which was what was so hard was [for my dad] to watch [my grandfather] be on the edge, to watch him cross over but not be there yet.”
In the process of making the "Edge of Glory" video, Gaga had to mourn the passing of another man close to her: saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who plays on the song.
"Clarence was on the video, and he and I became very close friends and I viewed him as a father figure in my life," she says. "And he died the day the music video came out."
"I'm just glad that Grandpa and Clarence are up in heaven together," Gaga says with a smile. And with Amy Winehouse up there too, there's bound to be some beautiful music in the clouds.