Lady Gaga's Oscar-nominated song tackles a personal and painful subject.
The music superstar performed "Til It Happens to You" at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, and told the audience why the track, which she co-wrote with Diane Warren, hits so close to home.
"It's not only an important issue to me, but it's an important issue to my family," Gaga said, revealing that her aunt, Joanne Germanotta, had been a victim of sexual assault while in college.
Featured in the campus rape documentary "The Hunting Ground," the song holds such significance for Gaga because of what Joanne went through and how her family processed the tragedy afterward, she explained.
Gaga said the experience "tormented" her aunt "so emotionally" that it "caused the lupus" that ultimately took her life.
Her father was just 16 at the time, and the loss left an open wound still felt to this day, Gaga said.
"It affected my family really tremendously my whole life," she said of Joanne’s death.
Adding, "That's one of the centerpieces of our family. So this song means so much to me and so much to my parents."
The six-time Grammy winner then launched into an emotional piano rendition of "Til It Happens to You," after thanking Warren, whom she said she loves "very much."
In addition to its Oscar nod for Best Original Song, "The Hunting Ground" was also honored at the PGA ceremony with the Stanley Kramer award for promoting social awareness.
-- Erin Biglow