Lady Gaga struggled through the recording of anti-violence anthem Til It Happens To You because it brought back painful memories of her own sex attack as a teen.
Iconic songwriter Diane Warren hand-picked the pop superstar to perform the track for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape on college campuses, and she knew the tune would strike a chord with Gaga.
Warren tells People.com, "It was very emotional for her. She couldn't even talk through it at times.
"I had heard she'd gone through this (rape), so I knew she was the right artist. She broke down a few times. She was very emotional doing the song. She put her whole heart and soul into it."
The song, which is accompanied by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke's graphic video showing acts of violence against women, has racked up more than 7.3 million hits on YouTube.com since its release on Thursday (17Sep15).
Warren continues, "It's taking on a life of its own. I've never had something like this happen with one of my songs, though. It's just the start for this. It's such a powerful message. It's obviously connecting."
A portion of the song's proceeds will be donated to organizations aiding survivors of sexual assault.
Gaga went public with her rape experience in December (14), revealing she had been attacked by a record producer at the age of 19.
She told shock jock Howard Stern, "I wrote a song called Swine. The song is about rape. The song is about demoralisation. The song is about rage and fury and passion, and I had a lot of pain that I wanted to release...
"I don't want to be defined by it. I'll be damned if somebody's gonna say that every creatively intelligent thing that I ever did is all boiled down to one d**khead who did that to me. I'm going to take responsibility for all my pain looking beautiful. All the things that I've made out of my strife, I did that."
Gaga has never identified the male producer who allegedly took advantage of her when she was a teen, but stated he was 20 years older than her and has since claimed they used to date.