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Friday, April 22, 2011

A Gaga Breakdown

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" sounds like Madonna's "Express Yourself." The Amp hears it. Fans hear it. Evidently Madonna hears it. But Lady Gaga... not so much.

"I am not stupid enough to put out a record and be that moronic," Gaga told the NME (via the Prophet Blog) at the top of a rant that began with denial then quickly transformed into rage, indignation, devastation, and religious pandering. It's her very own version of the Five Stages of Grief! We've helpfully diagrammed the conversation below:

"No. Listen to me. Why the [expletive]...? I'm a songwriter. I've written loads of music. Why would I try to put out a song and think I'm getting one over on everybody? That's retarded."
[We agree! Tell us more about this, Lady Gaga. Also, we know there was no room for "retarded" among "gay, straight, bi, lesbian, transgender, black, white, beige, Chola, and Orient" on "Born This Way," but it's not nice to use that term as a pejorative, either.]

"What a completely ridiculous thing to even question me about. I will look you in your eyes and tell you that I am not dumb enough or moronic enough to think that you are dumb enough or moronic enough not to see that I would have stolen a melody. If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression. It's the same one that's been in disco music for the last 50 years. Just because I'm the first [expletive] artist in 25 years to think of putting it on Top 40 radio, it doesn't mean I'm a plagiarist, it means that I'm [expletive] smart."
[Actually, it's not just the chord progression, it's the melody of the chorus. Here, this video that puts the songs next to each other, side by side, will help explain their striking similarities to you. Give this mashup a whirl, too.]

"Nobody in this room at any point looked around and said, 'Oh my God, it's 'Express Yourself.' Not once. Listen. I swear to you. ... It's so funny to hear you say, 'It must have been a homage,' I'm like, NO. When I homage, I [expletive] homage with a big sign saying I've done it. Why would I not do that now?"
[Ooh, juicy stuff! So nobody on your team had the guts to mention this striking similarity to you? Because it's impossible that nobody in your organization heard it, but everyone else on Earth did. Also, tiny nit-picky thing, but we don't think homage is a verb.]

"I just don't want my fans... I don't know. This is exhausting. I just don't wanna perpetuate that [expletive]. I'm sure you want to address it but it's just so ridiculous. I was just [expletive] shell-shocked by it."
[That's fair. And frankly, we admire you for answering questions about it. Most stars would have said "no comment" or had their publicists rush to the rescue. Have we mentioned we love "Telephone"? One of our favorite songs ever!]

Religious Pandering:
[Starts crying] "I feel like honestly that God sent me those lyrics and that melody. When you feel a message to give to the world and people are shooting arrows at it... there's no way for something that pure to be wrong."
[And... you just lost us.]

Between these comments and the unpleasantly schizo "Judas," we're starting to get concerned about Gaga's hearing. But you know what really doesn't help? A few quotes from the new GagaVision video released today, in which the singer explains her writing process as 15-minute purges of creativity. "And then I spend days, weeks, months, years, fine-tuning," she adds. The real question, though, is who is Norm! And why is he filling in for Ed?! Click over to the video to see what we're talking about, and enjoy one of the "Born This Way"/"Express Yourself" mashups here:

by Caryn Ganz in Amplifier

Monday, April 18, 2011

Combining Forces = WINNING!

Being an independent artist doesn’t mean you need to take the word ‘Independent’ too literally. Chances are, you’re missing big opportunities to take your career to new levels if you’re not actively looking for chances to join forces with other artists and industry pros. A piece of something big is worth a lot more than all of little or nothing. If you feel like you’re bashing your head against the wall trying to get people to your shows or to buy your music on your own then changing your approach can make all the difference in the world.

What could you create if you partnered with the right people? For example, I have a friend who’s planning a regular monthly gig at a venue here in Los Angeles. Her husband is a world-class magician. They have friends who are world-class comedians. There’s no law that says you can’t put on a show with musicians, magicians and comedians!
Personally, I can’t wait to see these shows. I’ll go to every one. Any one of the performers individually would put on an excellent show, but combined it’s a must see. It’s an event. More people will come and people will stay longer. The audience gets more, the performers get more and the club owners get more. It creates a synergy. It becomes a combination of forces that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Internet marketers are another great example. They form networks whereby they promote each other’s products to their mailing lists. The ones who do really well are the ones who find a tight group of compatible partners and generously help promote them and give them value. They know that if they help each other they can do much better than they could on their own.

When was the last time you sent out an email to your mailing list asking them to check out another artist’s new CD? I believe that in the future, there will be much more co-operation between independent artists. Some day in the not-too-distant future there will be a growing number of artists who offer commission to other artists for helping them sell their music….and they will sell more music!

Smart artists in today’s economy always keep an eye out for other bands and artists who ‘get it’ and are also looking to connect and give value to other bands. A lot of good can come when the right people get together.

With that spirit in mind, I’ve reached out to some amazing people and asked them to be a part of my blog at We’re now going to feature daily content that covers everything from fitness to contract law to marketing to website tips and a whole lot more. I’m really excited because the blog is going to become so much more than I could ever make of it on my own.

I hope you can find your own opportunities to form exciting new partnerships with other friends, artists and professionals inside and outside the music business. You just might be able to create something that’s more inspired and exciting than you previously thought possible!

Article by Scott James of The Independent Rockstar Blog.

Read more: Combining Forces = WINNING! — Echoes - Insight for Independent Artists