EXCLUSIVE!: Is Lady GaGa Faking Her Persona? Her First Booking Manager, Frankie Fredericks Spills Juicy Details to Chaos

Aug 29th, 2009

In the beginning of the summer, I had the chance to speak with Frankie Fredericks. Many of you may not know who he is, but you do know the one girl he helped early in her career as her booking manager: Lady GaGa. He even has a top secret song he recorded with her that unfortunately we cannot share, but trust us, it's so far from the Gaga we know now.

Is Gaga faking it to make it? Does selling out really make or break an artist? Does Frankie think she has what it takes to become a music legend? Does he still talk to the girl he invested so much of his time in to help her get to the top? Read our juicy Q&A to find out!

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HOLLYWOOD CHAOS: How has her music changed? Is this how she's always been or was she secretly into other genres?

FRANKIE FREDERICKS: It was no secret how much she was into different genres. I never once heard her praise Britney Spears or those people. Maybe she owned their albums, but the only cover song I heard her perform was Dyer Maker by Led Zeppelin. She was as much rock as she was pop. She also has the brilliant mind of a jazz composer, so complicated chords and rhythms were fluent in her compositions.

HC: Can you describe the song you recorded with her a little bit?

FF: The song I sent you is a perfect example of of her brilliance as a composer. All her songs are co-written with Rob Fusari and I don't see her talent shine through it.

HC: How do you feel that she hasn't acknowledged you?

FF: She was the first artist I managed, produced recordings for, and booked shows for. I was 20 and she was 19, so needless to say, there were no contracts. She was my beginning.

But I was her's too. I booked her first paid gig, put together her band, her first real demo, etc. I probably booked over 20 shows for her over the course of two years. By the time we stopped working together she had over 100 people coming to her shows, attracted Rob Fusari as a producer, which is huge. This is what landed her first record deal (Island Def Jam), which she was dropped from, and her second, her current.

I was not paid for any of this, there was just a certain unspoken understanding about it. For me it wasn't even about money as much as the credibility to get for breaking an artist. However, not getting a thank you on the album was insult to injury. I read the credits twice over to see.

HC: She claims GAGA is who she is even when she's not in front of the camera's...is that true?

FF: I don't know now, but I definitely don't buy it. While there is nothing morally wrong with image marketing, trying to sell it as reality is bullshit. I doubt that a major record producer inspired her to find her inner person. The conversation was probably more like, "we need you to stand out to market you, here's some hair dye and hot pants, talk about fashion in your interviews." Once again, this is a business about making money, which I am a part of, so I can't hate. But someone has got to call a spade a spade.

HC: How did she come up with her stage name?

FF: This was between her and Rob Fusari. I wasn't a part of the conversation... I have never met Rob. When I heard the name I thought, "really?" but went along with it.

Lady GaGa isn't just a name though, it's a package. Its the hair dye and glitter. She went from natural hair color, singing intensely while pounding on her keyboard, with a super talented band, to playing Lollapalooza in a bikini, backed up only by a DJ, Lady Starlight, whose day job literally was as a stripper, striking poses on stage as if at a photo shoot. For an Upper East Side native from a well-to-do family, it was pretty shocking.

HC: How did you two meet?

FF: We both went to NYU and we competed against each other in a talent show. She played two of her songs, and my friend who fronts the big underground Ippazzi, Greg Petronzi, performed Cry me a River as a cover. We f**king rocked that! [laughs]

I recognized that Stefani has three important qualities: she is extremely gifted, she has developed her skill to performance level, and she REALLY WANTED IT. No one can say she doesn't deserve it because she worked as hard or harder than any act I have ever done work with.

We also became friends through the whole process and sort of were soundboards to each other for life decisions and relationships, etc. Unfortunately we fell out of touch when she hit it big. I called her dad (her dad was her biggest supporter pre-gaga, but really didn't like the whole image change), and told him to parlay my congratulations to Stefani for making it. Don't know if it ever got through.

HC: How do you feel about all of her fame?

FF: I wonder what she will be remembered for. Artists have to be smart, and I know that as music is my business. John Mayer gets to play Blues with the best players around the world because he got a Grammy for Daughters. "Selling out" can really mean making it possible to play only what you want to play and get paid to do it. Eric Clapton is another great example: made money by pop, performed whatever he wanted to. However, there is a line somewhere out there, when you aren't being true to yourself. Alicia Keys walked away from her first record contract because they told her she had to play what they wanted her to. She was freaking out wondering if she made a mistake. Love her or hate her, Alicia Keys is not a one-hit-wonder, and she is definitely herself.

With Stefani, I don't know how much of Lady GaGa is Ms. Germanotta. I don't think it's for me to judge. I hope that people will remember her as a talented artist who created a lasting career by pushing the boundaries of music. She could end up on future episodes to "What Ever Happened to..." One glimmer of hope is Madonna. She started off as an image-ridden sex icon. She released her 11th studio album last year, at age 50. Madonna isn't a fad, she is an institution.

On a personal level, I don't have to agree with what she does in order to be happy for her success. She deserves it and I will always be rooting for her, even when her latest single is on my playlist.

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A native of Portland, OR, Frank Fredericks began a life of journey by moving to New York City at age 18. After living, studying, and working in five countries and studying Music Business and International Politics at New York University, Frank decided to pursue his two life goals, one his passion, and one his calling. His passion for music led him to producing, engineering, and management. Frank has been working as a booking agent for three years, with both unsigned and signed artists spanning rock, pop, soul, and jazz. In 2007, Frank started Conar Records, which currently has four signed artists and is launching its marketing campaign.

After independent research on Christian-Islam relations in Egypt, and the experience of working as a volunteer in the US State Department's Lebanon evacuation during the Hizbollah-Israeli War in 2006, he realized the great need of dialogue between the faith traditions of the World. This inspired him to start World Faith. He rarely travels anywhere without a guitar, is learning two languages at any given time, and is perfecting his culinary skills in Italian cuisine. Frank lives in the East Village of Manhattan, New York, NY.


To learn more about Frankie and his projects, visit:

http://www.worldfaith.org/ -and- http://www.conarrecords.com/

You can also follow him on TWITTER: http://twitter.com/frankiefreds

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1 comments

Babs on 10/23/2009 @ 00:30

IMO she copied Chiki after Lollapalooza and she got a record deal and became a 'real artist'. She knows who Chiki is. Period. The End. I don't think she's as original as she claims to be.

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