[artist id="1240040"]Akon[/artist] is releasing a new album this year, but the singer seems more excited about his Kon Live imprint artist Lady Gaga's success than his own.
"She's pretty much retired me," Akon told The Associated Press. "She was definitely a blessing. She came at the right moment. I'm glad I believed in her, boy. That goes to show you, if you believe in something strong enough, it will pay off."
Lady Gaga was initially signed to Def Jam Records, where she was dropped several months later. Then Akon signed her as a free agent as he was finalizing his Kon Live deal with Interscope Records and label head Jimmy Iovine. Fast-forward a few years and Lady Gaga has become an internationally known pop star, winning two awards at the 2010 Grammys: Best Dance Recording for "Poker Face" and Best Electronic/Dance Album for The Fame.
"She just blossomed into a super megastar," said Akon.
As for his own upcoming album, Akon says that in addition to Lady Gaga, he's also working with Dutch dance DJ/producer Chuckie, DJ David Guetta, who recently collaborated with Akon on "Sexy Bitch," and hip-hop heavyweight Dr. Dre.
"You've got some straight hard-core hip-hop guys actually moving into the dance realm," Akon said. "And that's shocking. When you've got someone like Dr. Dre about to do a dance record ... that's crazy."
Akon didn't divulge much about the Dr. Dre collaboration, except to say the record "actually sounds great. He played it for me. I was shocked. So I was like, 'Wow, that's dope. When the world hears this, they might go crazy.' ... When you've got the two worlds mixed together, clashing, it's going to be a monster."
Akon's as-yet-untitled forthcoming CD is slated to hit shelves toward the end of 2010.