Lady Gaga’s worldwide influence


Express July 27, 2010

Given the influence Lady Gaga wields on every sphere of pop culture today, it is hard to believe that just three years ago, no one had heard of her.

Her theatrical over-the-top performances, attention-grabbing wardrobe and headline-ready interviews have only fuelled a musical career that would have been successful regardless of who she was. Synthesised pop ala 1980s Madonna always sells, as the parade of Britneys and Christinas has proved over the past two decades.

Gaga’s influence spills over into fashion as well. Her penchant for just performing in lingerie appears to have inspired the likes of Rihanna’s on-stage wardrobe, and a plethora of designers showed similar looks, including Miuccia Prada in 2009. The hit American musical TV show “Glee” had an episode entirely dedicated to Gaga’s music and costumes, which was one of its most popular. She also appeared on an episode of “Gossip Girl”, performing her hit single “Bad Romance”.

Gaga has fans everywhere, including in the US military.

A video of US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan performing a dance routine from her “Telephone” video went viral earlier this year, and according to the New York Times, the soldier accused of having leaked intelligence data to Wikileaks.org, disguised the CDs as Lady Gaga’s.

Adrian Lamo, a hacker who exchanged e-mails with the accused soldier, Bradley Manning, told the NYT that Manning had described how he had used compact discs capable of storing data, but tucked inside recognisable music CD cases, “to bring the data out of the secure room.”

“He indicated he disguised one as a Lady Gaga CD. He said he lip-synched to blend in.”

Lady Gaga also wields considerable influence online, with millions of fans on Facebook and Twitter. The musician earned $62 million in the last year and was fourth on Forbes magazine’s list of the most powerful celebrities in the world.

The Recording Academy changed eligibility rules for a Grammy award this month after Lady Gaga was found ineligible to be nominated in the Best New Artist category. Lady Gaga was excluded because she had been nominated for “Just Dance” in 2008. The Associated Press reported Recording Academy President Neil Portnow as saying: “There will be some changes so that particular situation won’t repeat itself.” According to the report, “The rule change allows previous Grammy nominees to be eligible, as long as the artist hasn’t released an entire album and doesn’t win.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2010.

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