Lady Gaga debuted this Mexican-themed footstomper about immigrants at the Estadio Tres de Marzo in Guadalajara, Mexico on May 3, 2011. She performed an acoustic version of the tune in both Spanish and English. Note that Gaga isn't the first with a song called Americano: Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers released their Americano!
Speaking with Vogue magazine, Gaga explained the song is: "a big mariachi techno-house record, where I am singing about immigration law and gay marriage and all sorts of things that have to do with disenfranchised communities in America. It sounds like a pop record, but when I sing it, I see Edith Piaf in a spotlight with an old microphone."
Mexican music producer Fernando Garibay and DJ White Shadow produced this mariachi-influenced track. It was one of several contributions they made to Born This Way. Gaga told the UK magazine NME: "This was my first proper collaboration with Fernando and White Shadow. Labels had been telling Fernando to tone down his Mexican influences, but here we rally brought them out."
The song's pro immigrants message is told via a love story between Gaga and a girl in LA. The Mother Monster explained to NME: "It was when Prop 9 was overturned in California. The immigration law was passed in Arizona, houses were being raided for immigrants, some of whom had been here for 20 years. America was once the land of the free, and now we're telling everyone to get the f--- out."
Garibay told MTV News how the song was written. "I remember her saying, 'Yes, I want mariachi, I want Latin percussions. I want to go big.' I'm so used to people in the industry saying, 'Latin: It's a little bit cheesy,' " he recalled. "But she was like, 'F that! Let's go full Mexicano.' We started with me on guitar and her on piano, kind of wrote the lyric on the spot, and she sang it all the way through, and that's how the song was born."
In a posting on her Facebook wall, Gaga wrote that his song is about "what the American dream means to me."