Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Innovation Princess 2010

My now eight year-old daughter was given “POP Princesses 2010” – CD and DVD – for her recent birthday. It’s been a massive hit with her and consequently I’ve had a good deal of exposure to it myself.

Many of the current diva crop are included – Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Sugababes, Britney Spears, Shakira, The Pussycat Dolls, Cheryl Cole, Girls Aloud and so on.

What has struck me most clearly, however, is what a unique performer Lady Gaga is. While most of them could easily be mistaken for each other, their sound world being so similar, Lady Gaga creates something quite different.

Thinking about this from an innovation perspective, if you want to be reasonably successful with your offering, you swim with the tide. But if you want to cause a breakthrough you take the greater risk of creating something that either may catch on, as Lady Gaga has, or may equally sink without trace.

Of course, Lady Gaga has not only made a different sound, she has given birth to a complete artistic creation, and it may well be other parts of the artwork that have caused the wave to mount up.

picturesLady Gaga

lady gaga

Profile Lady Gaga

Background information
Birth name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Born March 28, 1986 (1986-03-28) (age 24)
Origin Manhattan, New York City, United States
Genres Pop, dance, electronica
Occupations Singer, songwriter, musician, dancer
Instruments Vocals, piano, synthesizer, keytar
Years active 2006–present
Labels Interscope, Streamline, Kon Live, Cherrytree, Def Jam
Associated acts Lady Starlight, Space

Lady Gaga (born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta; March 28, 1986) is an American recording artist. She began performing in the rock music scene of New York City's Lower East Side and enrolled at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She soon signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. During her early time at Interscope, she worked as a songwriter for fellow label artists and captured the attention of Akon, who recognized her vocal abilities, and got her signed to his own label, Kon Live Distribution.

Her debut album, The Fame, was released on August 19, 2008. In addition to receiving generally positive reviews, it reached number one in the UK, Canada, Austria, Germany and Ireland, and reached the top-ten in numerous countries worldwide; in the United States, it peaked at two on the Billboard 200 chart and topped Billboard's Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Its first two singles, "Just Dance" and "Poker Face", co-written and co-produced with RedOne, became international number-one hits, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States as well as the charts of other countries. The album later earned a total of six Grammy Award nominations and won awards for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Best Dance Recording. In early 2009 she embarked on her first headlining tour, The Fame Ball Tour. By the fourth quarter of the year, she had released her second studio album The Fame Monster, with the global chart-topping lead single "Bad Romance", as well as having embarked on her second headlining tour of the year, The Monster Ball Tour.

Lady Gaga is inspired by glam rock artists such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as pop musicians such as Madonna and Michael Jackson. She has also stated fashion is a source of inspiration for her songwriting and performances. Gaga was ranked the 73rd Artist of the 2000-10 decade by Billboard.[1] As of May 2010, Gaga has sold over 15 million albums and over 40 million singles worldwide.[2] In May 2010, Time magazine included Gaga in its annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.

Life and career

1986–2004: Early life

Stefani Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986, the eldest child of Joseph Germanotta, an Italian American, and Cynthia Bissett.[3][4] She learned to play piano from the age of four, went on to write her first piano ballad at 13 and began performing at open mike nights by age 14.[5] At the age of 11, Germanotta attended Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private Roman Catholic school.[6][7] An avid thespian in high school musicals, Germanotta portrayed lead roles as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.[8] She described her academic life in high school as "very dedicated, very studious, very disciplined" but also "a bit insecure" as she told in an interview, "I used to get made fun of for being either too provocative or too eccentric, so I started to tone it down. I didn’t fit in, and I felt like a freak."[9][10] Acquaintances dispute that she did not fit in school. "She had a core group of friends; she was a good student. She liked boys a lot, but singing was No. 1", recalled a former high school classmate.[11] Referring to her "expressive, free spirit", Gaga told Elle magazine "I'm left-handed!"[12]

At age 17, Germanotta gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. There she studied music, and improved her songwriting skills by composing essays and analytical papers focusing on topics such as art, religion, social issues and politics.[5][13] Germanotta lived in a NYU dorm on 11th Street but felt that she was more creative than some of her classmates. "Once you learn how to think about art, you can teach yourself," she said. By the second semester of her sophomore year, she withdrew from the school to focus on her musical career.[14] Her father agreed to pay her rent for a year, on the condition that she re-enroll for Tisch, if she was unsuccessful. "I left my entire family, got the cheapest apartment I could find, and ate shit until somebody would listen," she said.[8]
2005–07: Career beginnings

Germanotta had initially signed with Def Jam Recordings at the age of 19, after Island Def Jam Music Group Chairman and CEO L. A. Reid heard her singing down the hallway from his office. After three months, she was dropped from Def Jam,[15] although they introduced her to songwriter and producer RedOne, whom they also managed.[16] The first song she produced together with RedOne was "Boys Boys Boys",[16] a mash-up inspired by Mötley Crüe's "Girls, Girls, Girls" and AC/DC's "T.N.T.".[17] She moved into an apartment on the Lower East Side and recorded a couple of songs with hip-hop singer Grandmaster Melle Mel, for an audio book accompanying the children's book The Portal in the Park by Cricket Casey.[18] She also started the Stefani Germanotta Band with some friends from NYU. They recorded an EP of their Fiona Apple–esque ballads, at a studio underneath a liquor store in New Jersey, becoming a local fixture at the downtown LES club scene.[8] She began taking drugs soon after, while performing at burlesque shows.[6] Her father did not understand the reason behind her drug addiction and could not look at her for several months.[6][17] Music producer Rob Fusari, who helped her write some of her earlier songs, compared her vocal style to that of Freddie Mercury. Fusari helped create the moniker Gaga, after the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga". One day, Germanotta was in the process of trying to come up with a stage name, when she received a text message from Fusari that read "Lady Gaga".[19] He explained,

"Every day, when Stef came to the studio, instead of saying hello, I would start singing 'Radio Ga Ga'. That was her entrance song. [Lady Gaga] was actually a glitch; I typed 'Radio Ga Ga' in a text and it did an autocorrect so somehow 'Radio' got changed to 'Lady'. She texted me back, "That's it." After that day, she was Lady Gaga. She’s like, "Don’t ever call me Stefani again."[19]

Full right profile of a young blond woman, surrounded by sitting spectators in a pub. She wears a black leotard and her long hair falls around her side. With her right hand she holds a pair of video sunglasses to her eyes.
Gaga performing at a bar in Atlanta, Georgia.

She was known thereafter as Lady Gaga.[17] (The New York Post, however, has reported that this story is incorrect, and that the name resulted from a marketing meeting [11].) Throughout 2007, Gaga collaborated with performance artist Lady Starlight, who helped create her onstage fashions.[20] The pair began playing gigs at downtown club venues like the Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End, and the Rockwood Music Hall, with their live performance art piece known as "Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue".[21][22] Billed as "The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow", their act was a low-fi tribute to 1970s variety acts.[23][24] In August 2007, Gaga and Starlight were invited to play at the American Lollapalooza music festival.[25] The show was critically acclaimed, and their performance received positive reviews.[5][21] Having initially focused on avant-garde, and electronic dance music, Gaga found her musical niche when she began to incorporate pop melodies and the vintage glam rock of David Bowie and Queen into her music.[26]

Fusari sent the songs he produced with Gaga to his friend, producer and record executive Vincent Herbert.[27] Herbert was quick to sign her to his label Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, upon its establishment in 2007.[28] She credited Herbert as the man who discovered her, adding "I really feel like we made pop history, and we're gonna keep going".[27] Having already served as an apprentice songwriter under an internship at Famous Music Publishing, which was later acquired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gaga subsequently struck a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV.[29] As a result, she was hired to write songs for Britney Spears, and labelmates New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls.[29] While Gaga was writing at Interscope, singer-songwriter Akon recognized her vocal abilities, when she sang a reference vocal for one of his tracks in studio.[30] He then convinced Interscope-Geffen-A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Iovine to form a joint deal, by having her also sign with his own label Kon Live Distribution,[15] and later called her his "franchise player."[31] Gaga continued her collaboration with RedOne, by working with him in the studio for a week on her debut album,[29] spawning the future singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". She also joined the roster of Cherrytree Records, an Interscope imprint established by producer and songwriter Martin Kierszenbaum, after co-writing four songs with Kierszenbaum including the single "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)".[29]

Friday, May 8, 2009

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