Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lady GaGa’s ex-boyfriend Rob Fusari sues her

Photo: Lady Gaga performs at the Air Canada Center in Toronto on November 28th, 2009, on the second night of her headlining tour, in support of her second album, 'The Fame Monster'. Gaga is at her piano, the same piano that she performed with, set on fire, and smashed whiskey bottles against, during the American Music Awards.

Music producer and songwriter Rob Fusari has filed a $30.5 million lawsuit against Lady Gaga's production company Mermaid Music LLC on account of unpaid revenues and royalties, claiming that he was entitled to a 20 per cent share of its earnings. He also claimed his protégé and former girlfriend ditched him as her career soared, according to reports from various sources. Lady Gaga's lawyer Charles Ortner described the agreement with Fusari as ‘unlawful’.

Lady Gaga's debut album, The Fame was co-produced by Fusari and has four sides on the record, including ‘Paparazzi’, ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich’, ‘Brown Eyes’ and ‘Disco Heaven’. The European release of The Fame also includes the songs ‘Retro, Dance, Freak’ and ‘Again Again’.

Fusari had credits on such hits as Will Smith's ‘Wild, Wild West’ and Destiny's Child's ‘Bootylicious, when a friend introduced him in March 2006 to Lady Gaga, then known by her real name, Stefani Germanotta, according to his lawsuit. After initial hesitation, he realized she had star potential after hearing her play in his Parsippany, New Jersey, studio, the suit said. He spent the next several months working with her every day and ‘radically reshaping her approach,’ persuading her to drop rock riffs for dance beats, it said.

"All business is personal," said the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in a Manhattan state court. As they co-wrote songs that would appear on her debut album, The Fame, he transformed Germanotta into Lady Gaga, a name adapted from Queen's ‘Radio Ga Ga,’ the lawsuit said.

But Lady Gaga has claimed that she came up with the name around 2004 "but Gaga's always been who I am… I was Gaga from the time that I was 19 through my first record deal," the 23-year-old singer said. "I always dressed like that before people knew me as Lady Gaga. I was always that way... I stuck out like a sore thumb."

The lawsuit claimed, Lady Gaga and Fusari's relationship turned romantic and then it became a business partnership in May 2006, when they created a joint venture, ‘Team Love Child LLC’ to promote her career, with 20 per cent share for Fusari. He introduced Lady Gaga to a record executive who led her to Universal Music Group's Interscope Records, which released ‘The Fame’ in 2008. The album has sold more than 3 million copies in the United States and Fusari has a producing credit.

But, the lawsuit said, their personal and business relationship had gone sour and he has been denied the 20 per cent share of song royalties, 15 per cent of merchandising revenue and other dues. However, he acknowledges payment around $611,000, but says that is not his full share.

‘The Fame’ reached #1 in Canada, Austria, Germany and Ireland and topped the Billboard Top Electronic Albums chart. Its first two singles ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Poker Face became international #1 hits, topping the Hot 100 in the United States as well as other countries.

Lady Gaga was nominated for nine awards at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female Video and Best Pop Video for ‘Poker Face’ and Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction for ‘Paparazzi’. Out of these, she won the award for Best New Artist, while her single ‘Paparazzi’ won two awards for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects.

In October 2009, Gaga won Billboard magazine's Rising Star of 2009 award. Also, she was named chief creative officer for a line of imaging products for Polaroid at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 7, 2010 where she commented that she would create fashion, technology and photography products, and said, "I'm working on bringing the instant film camera back as part of the future."

Lady Gaga received her first Grammy Award at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. She was nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Dance Recording for her single ‘Poker Face’, winning the last three awards. Also, ‘The Fame’ had been nominated for Album of the Year and won the Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album.

On March 15, 2010, Billboard announced ‘Telephone’ the second single from ‘The Fame Monster’ reached #1 on the Pop songs chart, thus not only becoming Gaga's sixth #1 on the chart, but her sixth consecutive #1, making Lady Gaga the only artist in history to achieve this record. It also became the sixth #1 for the track's featured artist Beyoncé, the two singers being tied for the most #1 ratings, since the Nielsen BDS-based radio airplay chart was launched in 1992. Also they join Mariah Carey, who tallied six chart toppers between 1993 and 2005.

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