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
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
"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 Hitquarters.com. 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
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
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.
For more information on this
week's stories, see the links below. Be sure to check back next week
for another roundup of music news.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 5 MUSIC NEWS
1) Thriller -- The Michael
Jackson trial filled with shocking testimony.
2) I Wanna Rock -- Guns N'
Roses, Heart, Cure nominated for Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
3) Rebound -- Randy Travis rebounds after passing out
4) Irreplaceable -- L.A. Reid remembers dropping Lady
Gaga from record deal.
5) Least Favorite Things -- Pregnant Beyoncé no longer
loves Jay-Z's cologne.
Lady Gaga photo credit: Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Destiny's Child photo credit: Jeff Kravits, Film Magic, Inc.
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