Innovation Blog

Get On the Lady Gaga Bus – Now!   What We Can All Learn from Stefani Germanotta

By Shlomo Maital

  Lady Gaga’s ‘meat’ dress

   If you believe the phenomenon known as Lady Gaga is not serious – think again!  We can all learn a great deal from her.  [See Jon Parels, “Lady Gaga’s Roaring Retort”, NYT May 21/22/2011, p. 17]. 

    Most albums are recorded in soundproof high-tech studios, where electronic wizardry shapes
songs to perfection. This is how it is done. This is the rule.  Rent time in a studio and make your
album. 

   But not Lady Gaga.  She has just released her new album, “Born This Way”. Released in February, reached No. 1.  She made it while on tour, in her Studio Bus.  This is an extra bus filled with equipment and comprising a recording studio on wheels.  Her engineer and two producers travelled with her on tour for a whole year.  “Basically, after the shows [back-breaking energy-draining two-hour shows], I would go on the Studio Bus and I would work all night.  Then we would pull the buses over and I would get back on my bus and go to sleep.” 

    Of course all the experts argued with her.  “We can’t do your vocals now!”, because of the sound of the bus and the reverberations.  Said Lady Gaga:  “turn on the mike and let’s do this!  I get so inspired and ready to go and I’m not the kind of person that can hold in my creativity. … Because of the thrill of the show and the crowd’s energy…I get so many ideas looking out into the crowd, like:  I know what you want to hear. I know what you need.” 

    Lady Gaga is a powerful innovator.  Have you noticed that music videos are choreographed to move on the 2nd and 4th beats of 4/4 time?  Like – da DAH, da DAH…   Not Lady Gaga. She moves on the 1st and 3rd beats,  DAH da,  DAH da.  Partly for that reason, radio stations refused for six months to playher first single, Just Dance.  But she
won. 

    Make no mistake.  Stefani Germanotta is a 24-7 performer.  She says her very life is “performance
art”.  But at bottom she is an innovative musician.  She never lip-syncs.  And she writes her songs to meet what she understands her fans want and need – and she knows what they want, because she interacts with them almost every single night.
    For innovators, a major lesson from Lady Gaga is to create the equivalent of her Studio Bus.  Get your R&D people out of their sterile labs and into the real world.  Get them to interact with the people who might or will use the stuff they create.  Get them on the Lady Gaga bus.  And, for a start, play one of her albums for your innovators.  Despite what you think when you look at her fantastic costumes (like the famous ‘meat’ dress), beneath them there is the heart of a true passionate musician.        

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