Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga
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"Stop feeding me bullshit. Tell me the truth."
--Lady Gaga, 2009
"I hate the truth. I hate the truth so much I prefer a giant dose of bullshit any day over the truth."
--Lady Gaga, 2010
In little over a year, Stefani Germanotta, a struggling performer in New York's Lower East Side burlesque scene, has become the global demographic-smashing pop icon known as Lady Gaga. She is a once-in-a-decade artist, a gifted singer, composer, designer, and performance artist who mixes high and low culture, the avant-garde with the accessible, authenticity with artifice.
Who is Lady Gaga? She is a twenty-four-year-old woman whose stage mantra--"I'm a free bitch!"--is the polar opposite of who she is offstage: isolated, insecure, and unable to be alone. She is an outrÃ© artist who wanted to be a sensitive singer-songwriter, whose musical heroes include Britney Spears, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen. She is a woman who says no man can ever compete with her career, but who still isn't over the ex-boyfriend who said she was too ambitious. She claims not to care what people think, but spends her downtime online, reading what people have to say about her. She claims to be a con artist and utterly authentic. She is never less than compelling.
Based on over fifty original interviews with friends, employees, rivals, and music industry veterans, Poker Face is the first in-depth biography of the extraordinary cultural phenomenon that is Lady Gaga.
Quotes from POKER FACE:
"It's a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga. I've made it."
--President Barack Obama, October 2009
"I remember thinking, `That could be her. But I hope it's not.'"
--Producer Rob Fusari
"Her `crazy' outfit was putting suspenders on her jeans."
"She is perfectly, almost genetically engineered to be a twenty-first-century pop star."
--Eric Garland, CEO, BigChampagne.com
"If you looked at her, you'd think she was a jam band chick. She had a heady, grimy vibe."
--former NYU classmate Jon Sheldrick
"She's not progressive, but she's a good mimic. She sounds more like me than I f---ing do!"
"You won't be able to order a cup of coffee at the f---ing deli without hearing or seeing me."
--Lady Gaga to an ex-boyfriend, 2008
such a huge deal. But another industry veteran says he, too, finds this deal highly, highly unlikely. “Rarely in the last ten years were artists getting a check for anything north of $500,000,” he says. “It’s so hard to believe that one artist is getting $850,000 for one album. I don’t know the terms—there are so many factors. It could’ve been a five-album deal.” Fusari’s involvement might have been a help, he says, but even the producer’s reputation would not have translated into that much
it’ll cost too much. She may be an exacting artist, but she is also a shrewd businesswoman. She relents, but insists on rehearsing up until the doors are about to open. So here are the Gaga fans, ages four to fifty-five, lining up outside the Manchester Evening News Arena at six o’clock on this drizzly, chilly winter night, three hours before showtime, excitedly, politely snaking down and around the block. Nearly all the girls—who outnumber the boys by about three to one—are dressed like their
riskier not to spend the money. Back in 2008, she said she knew exactly what she was doing: “People frown upon the major label system,” she said. “I, on the other hand, am using it to my advantage. I want to create something huge and amazing, and I want to resuscitate the music industry, bring back the true superstar, the true artist. I want to create the super-fan again. I want my website to be Perez Hilton, but for Lady Gaga. I want people to feel part of this lifestyle.” Her willingness to
the murder scene. Her high styling was due to Åkerlund’s wife, B. She built, among other things, the video’s infamous tricked-out wheelchair. Gaga hired her. “They hit it off, but she didn’t last very long,” says a source. Gaga mainly relied on Matt Williams. David and Angela Ciemny describe Gaga and Williams as “like two peas in a pod,” both interpersonally and creatively. (The other key member of her team, and the only one whose tenure is as long, is her choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson, whose
Gaga knew, says the source: “She totally got it.” She was the cover of the fall 2009 issue, face chestnut brown, hair almost white blond, pink sunglasses on some covers, blue on others. The headline: “It’s Lady Gaga’s World . . . We’re Just Living in It!” After that shoot, Gaga hired Nicola—or, in her parlance, invited him to join the Haus. As she did on that first shoot, she continued to give Formichetti “a lot of leeway,” says David Ciemny, who was also present that day. “When she really