Is Gaga the leader or a follower?

With the star named as the highest-earning pop star Ahlan! looks at whether she really is a music pioneer or copied her idols along the way...
Wednesday , 23 February 2011
Is Gaga the leader or a follower?
Singer Lady Gaga

Scooping two awards at the Grammys last week wasn’t the only reason why an ecstatic Lady Gaga was riding high on the wave of success – she’s also been named the highest-earning popstar of 2010 by Billboard Magazine, earning more than a whopping Dhs118 million last year, and is predicted to earn even more by the end of this year. Yet, with the eccentric artist’s latest single release, Born This Way, receiving controversial reviews – suggesting she’s ripped off Madonna – people are starting to question whether Lady Gaga really deserves the praise which has been lavished upon her.

Although the singer has been credited with bringing Euro pop to America this millennium, a place where the charts were once dominated with country songs and RB hits, critics have accused Gaga of stealing references from Madonna, who pioneered the trend in the States over two decades ago.
After the artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta uploaded Born This Way one fan noted, “Lady Gaga’s song’s good, but it sounds exactly like Madonna’s Express Yourself”, while celeb blogger, and Gaga fan, Perez Hilton tweeted, “Express Yourself 2.0 is what people are saying? I’ll happily take that!!!”

Despite her critics, the 28-year-old star doesn’t seem to be offended, stating, “I get compared to so many people. I think Madonna is great. There’s no bad comparison to Madonna. My mother looks very much like her and the older I’ve got the more I look like my mother. So, sometimes I just wanna say, ‘It’s not my fault, I look like her!’” Later she responded to the comparisons made about her new song to Express Yourself, “Well, the good news is that I got an email from her people and her [Madonna], sending me their love and complete support on behalf of the single and if the queen says it shall be, then it shall be.”

By topping Billboard’s money maker’s list, The Poker Face singer overtook the earnings of music legends Bon Jovi and Pink Floyd. It doesn’t stop there. The award-winning star, who landed at number seven on the Forbes 2010 list of the world’s highest-earning musicians, will reportedly gross Dhs7.4 million per show on her current world tour earning her another Dhs121 million within the first half of 2011. Overall her 2011 total earnings is expected to come in between Dhs367-447 million ... Wow Ahlan! needs to take a deep breath.

However, while it’s not disputed that hard-working Lady Gaga deserves her fortune, the question is: Has she had a lot of help along the way? Who were her inspirations? Ahlan! takes a look at some of her potential sources...

DeJa Vu hits

Errr! Hello Gaga ... Haven’t we heard that somewhere before?

Song: Alejandro
US Chart Position: 5
Sounds like: Don’t Turn Around by Ace Of Base.
Ahlan! Verdict: Check out the Perez Hilton parody of Lady Gaga and Ace Of Base. The similarity is uncanny.

Song: Paparazzi
US Chart Position: 6
Sounds like: Take My Breath Away by Berlin and Any Way You Want It by Journey.
Ahlan! Verdict: It’s like an upbeat take on Berlin’s hit.

Song: Bad Romance
US Chart Position: 2
Sounds like: Walking On Glass by Annie Lennox and Freedom by Wham!
Ahlan! Verdict: Separately no, but combine elements of the two songs and Bad Romance sneaks through.

Song: Born This Way
US Chart Position: To be released soon Sounds Like: Express Yourself by Madonna. The album artwork is also said to be very similar to that of Kylie Minogue’s 2007 release 2 Hearts.
Ahlan! Verdict: 100 per cent Express Yourself remake.

Double Take

While Lady Gaga has been accused of being a copy cat, other stars are also looking to her for inspiration...

Who: Jason Derulo
What: Jason received his first UK number one with his hit single In My Head (2009). However, the star has come under scrutiny of Gaga fans who claim the song sounds similar to her debut single Just Dance (2008).

Who: Nicki Minaj
What: The wacky outfits, the peroxide blonde wig with the blunt fringe and the eccentric behaviour – she’s sooo a carbon copy of the Lady.

Who: Beyonce
What: With Sasha Fierce as her alter-ego, this diva has no problems making an impact, yet none so wacky as Gaga’s attempts. So pairing up with the pop star for Telephone did wonders for Beyonce’s publicity. Now, taking it to the next level, it seems the Sweet Dreams singer is copying Gaga’s style with vibrant hues and dramatic costumes.

Who: Katy Perry
What: Though Katy isn’t renowned for being a wallflower – her debut single was I Kissed A Girl after all – she did admit that Gaga’s constant shock tactic has “raised the bar” for other artists. Whether she was struggling for ideas or simply decided to imitate an idol, Katy seemingly recreated Gaga’s fireworks bra – which she sported at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto (2009) – in her video Fireworks (2010).

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