Sometime around 2006, Lady Gaga wasn’t Lady Gaga. Sure, she was using the name back then, but she was still little more than a Lower East Side oddity, not the iconic, globe-spanning superstar she has since become. And so, she was understandably elated to score a meeting — and a subsequent deal — with Island Def Jam impresario L.A. Reid.
But after a few months, for reasons never really explained, her phone calls stopped being returned and she was summarily dropped from the label. In hindsight, it was just a minor bump on her road to stardom, but at the time, Gaga was crushed. It’s a pain she’s never quite forgotten, as she explained in the just-premiered “Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside” documentary.
“I remember when I got dropped from my first record label, I just said, ‘Mommy, let’s go see Grandma,’ ” Gaga recalled. “And I cried on my grandmother’s couch. She looked at me, and she goes, ‘I’m going to let you cry for the rest of the day, and then you have to stop crying, and you have to go kick some ass.’ ”
Devastated, but determined, Gaga set forth to do just that. And in addition to her grandmother’s words, she drew inspiration from a rather unlikely source — one that would also prove oddly prescient in the years to come.
“You know, I’ve never told Beyoncé this, but I remember laying on my grandmother’s couch crying, and a Destiny’s Child video came on,” she said. “I remember watching Beyoncé thinking, ‘Oh, she’s a star. I want that. I want to be on MTV.’ And now I’m in music videos with Beyoncé.”
It’s because of those early rejections that Gaga has learned to savor her success. After all, she’s certainly proved her naysayers wrong.
“The commercial success that I’ve had has been mind-blowing,” she said. “I’m the girl that everyone said ‘No’ and shook their head and said ‘I don’t get it.’ ”
Well, it seems that millions of people around the world “get it” now.
What was the most interesting thing you learned from watching “Inside the Outside”? Let us know in the comments!