Sunday, October 2, 2011

L.A. Reid Explains Why He Dropped Lady Gaga From Island Def Jam

Lady Gaga's meteoric rise to superstardom can be attributed to her catchy songs, shocking costumes, and wild media antics.
But her perseverance is arguably the personality trait that has benefitted her career the most.
This week, L.A. Reid, "X Factor" judge and former president of Island Def Jam, confirmed reports that he stalled Lady Gaga's music pursuits early in her career. Reid signed the "Born This Way" singer to IDJ but released her from her contract within a few months.
Reid explained his dealings with Gaga during an interview with Access Hollywood. "One day this artist came to my office. She played piano. She had white gogo boots all the way up to here, thigh high boots. She sat down at that piano and she played and she sang and when she was done I said, 'You are an amazing artist, and you will change music.' And I signed her. Her name was Lady Gaga," Reid said.
But when Reid heard Gaga's demos three months later, he had a change of heart. "It was a work in progress, and I was having a bad day," Reid said. "I said, ‘You know, I really don't like it. You know, let her have her freedom. Let her have her career. Let her go find it.' It was the worst thing I've ever done."
Lady Gaga cried for an entire day after receiving the news, the artist said during an interview for the MTV special, "Lady Gaga: Inside The Outside."
But she got over it, ultimately landing a record deal with Interscope Records, a company that supported her artistic vision and helped her become one of pop music's biggest stars.
Lady Gaga is one of many of today's household names that were also rejected by major labels before landing big breaks. 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé were also met with similar setbacks.
Alicia Keys had been signed to Columbia Records for two years before her recording contract was terminated and she pursued other options.

"Sony (Columbia's parent company) hadn't really figured out what to do with her, lots of changes had taken place at the company, and Alicia wasn't happy there," Peter Edge, the A&R executive who later brought her to Arista Records, told Edge said Alicia and her manager were savvy enough to get out of their deal.
Things were much more traumatic for 50 Cent, who also initially had a deal with Columbia Records. 50's conflict with the label wasn't the creative process -- it was the rapper's personal dramas that created the tension.
According to 50 Cent, Columbia Records abandoned him after he was shot nine times.

In a 2009 interview with U.K.'s "Daily Mail," 50 Cent described the impact the executive decision had on his psyche. "Being dropped by my record label hurt more than being shot," he said. "I was shot in May 2000 when I was sitting in a car. You don't actually feel each bullet hit you. The adrenaline is pumping and you're trying to get out of the way."
50 Cent said the blow to his ego was far more painful. "I had just signed to Columbia Records and they dropped me because of the shooting. I could deal with every bullet wound but I can't take that."
Within two years, however, the rapper born Curtis Jackson had found a better label home on Interscope Records, teamed with both Eminem and Dr. Dre. 50's Interscope / Shady / Aftermath debut, "Get Rich Or Die Trying," released in 2003, definitely lived up to its title, making 50 Cent one of hip hop's most successful rappers to date.
Arguably, the most shocking of all the artist firings is the one that involved mega superstar Beyoncé, who was previously in the girl group Destiny's Child.

Before calling themselves Destiny's Child, the Houston-based group was known as Girls Tyme. In 1990, they actually competed on "Star Search," but lost. Within a few years, they joined Elektra Records.
The group moved to Atlanta to work on an album, but the label decided to cut its losses, and dropped them.
Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé's father and manager of the group, said that when the then quartet lost its recording contract with Elektra, it made them work harder.
"That was the defining moment, when they were dropped by Elektra," Knowles said when speaking to students at the University Of Southern California last January. "I quit my job and everyone thought I was nuts."
Knowles clearly knew what he was doing. Destiny's Child made its debut on the soundtrack for the Will Smith blockbuster "Men In Black," released on Columbia Records, the label they would ultimately join. Alicia Keys also made her debut on that soundtrack.
Not only did Destiny's Child set sales records for girl groups, it also spawned Beyoncé's solo career, which includes a series of multi-platinum albums.
"American Idol," "X Factor," and "America's Got Talent" contestants should find some comfort in knowing that the star grooming process involves massive amounts of rejection. They should learn to take it in stride.
L.A. Reid's explanation for why he let Lady Gaga go was revealed during a week full of shocking admissions as outtakes from the televised Michael Jackson trial circulated throughout the media. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame announced the nominees for its 2012 induction ceremony. Beyoncé admitted that her heightened sense of smell during her pregnancy is causing her to hate her husband's cologne. And the reps for country icon Randy Travis said the singer is recovering after taking a recent fall on stage.


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