NEW YORK (AP) – A songwriter and music producer who claims he helped launch pop star Lady Gaga said she squeezed him out of her lucrative career after he co-wrote some of her songs, came up with her stage name, and helped get her record deal.
Rob Fusari filed a $35 million lawsuit against the Grammy Award-winning pop star, saying his protege and former girlfriend ditched him as her career soared.
“All business is personal,” said the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in a Manhattan state court.
Lady Gaga’s spokesman, Dave Tomberlin, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail Thursday.
Fusari had credits on such hits as Will Smith’s “Wild, Wild West” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” when a friend steered the piano-playing singer – then known by her real name, Stefani Germanotta – to him in March 2006, according to his lawsuit.
Though he initially dismissed her, he realized she had star potential after hearing her play in his Livingston, N.J., studio, the lawsuit said. He spent the next several months working with her every day and “radically reshaping her approach,” persuading her to drop rock riffs for dance beats, it said.
As they co-wrote songs such as “Paparazzi” and “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich,” which would appear on her debut album, “The Fame,” he transformed Germanotta into Lady Gaga, a name adapted from Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga,” the lawsuit said.