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:: Spotlight :: Book Review - "Lady Gaga: Just Dance - The Biography"

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Lady Gaga: Just Dance - The Biography” is that of the international star and style icon Lady Gaga. It is written by Welsh-born writer Helia Phoenix. Phoenix runs through Gaga's life but soon into reading the book, it became apparent that the author was simply accumulating Lady Gaga's quotes from other publications. As it turned out, Phoenix has never met Lady Gaga. It puts a dampener in making this an unauthorised account of one's life and not having one interview with the subject matter.

Therefore, Phoenix has compiled information for various magazines and newspapers. For the die-hard fan, it will still bring many interesting facts and figures about one of the more interesting people in showbiz.

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is the young lady who is better known as Lady Gaga. She comes from an Italian-American heritage and was always destined for a career in arts and music. he book goes through the sequence of events; from stumbling upon renowned vocal coach Don Lawrence, to writing music from age 13. Gaga still acknowledges Lawrence as a great help in her life. In regards to performers, she had always been influenced by David Bowie, Madonna & Grace Jones. She also loved New Kids On The Block (NKOTB), and the book reveals her excitement when she toured with them and wrote songs for them.

Gaga's parents were very supportive and she went to several open-mic nights before she turned 18. She was always keen to be a part of the artists scene in New York's East Village. The book then moves into the phase where her father gave her twelve months to get signed or return to school. Gaga met Sony producer Rob Fusari. He called her “Gaga” after the Queen song “Radio Ga-Ga”.

It's interesting to note Fusari's part in Gaga's development because he has now sued her for lack of fees and royalties for being instrumental in her name and some of her early music. This could be a major setback for Lady Gaga if his claims are founded. The book has excerpts from the stages of their relationship and Fusari may have the odds in his favour judging from details contained in this book, at least.

From those days, her music and persona started to take off, and she literally took things off - her dress sense showed her flamboyant ideals with her performing in bra and panties. However, she was led into a drink and drugs culture which became prominent in her creative expressions. Gaga's father took a strong stance on her drug use and it was the spirit of her dead aunt that made her realise how fragile she now was and how close to death she was. Her energy went back into music and she was signed to Island Def Jam in late 2006.

That signing didn't go well as Lady Gaga later signed to Interscope Records and formed an alliance with DJ Starlight. Gaga's writing and music ability saw her link up with Akon and she soon penned songs for Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls.

An interesting phase of her life was when she flew to Los Angeles to start work on her debut album. On the flight, she listened to The Beatles' “Abbey Road” album. It influenced her to write “Just Dance” and that became a big part of her career to date.

The book moves on as Lady Gaga established her credentials as a songwriter and performer, heavily influenced by fashion and lifestyle. She played with NKOTB, performed brilliantly at the 2008 Miss Universe pageant, released her debut album “The Fame” in late 2008, and opened for the Pussycat Dolls (which we saw in Australia on their World Domination tour), There were the aspects of her private life which saw her gain much publicity and notoriety, e.g. her feud with Christina Aguilera and her own sexual preferences.

There is much more to come in the Lady Gaga story and this unauthorised biography will suit her fans. It's a shame that the credibility of the book suffers because there are no one-on-one interviews by the author - the author has never met Gaga - and simply drags quotes from others.