Tamar Braxton visited Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club earlier this week with her husband/music mogul, Vincent Herbert. As ever, Tamar’s over-the-top and immature antics sparked controversy surrounding Lady Gaga’s discovery. She blatantly says Akon is lying when proclaiming he discovered the now-global superstar because she was there to witness her husband discover the “Born This Way” singer. Vincent, who served as A&R and Executive Producer of all of Gaga’s albums, obliges with his wife by respectfully insinuating that Akon did not discover her and she is not signed to his record label.
I was introduced to Lady Gaga after Beyoncé collaborated with her on “Video Phone,” which was over a year after she came into prominence. I wasn’t privy on who discovered her, nor was I intrigued to find out. However, I remember watching an old interview where Akon slyly bragged about being at a place of financial stability where he could retire off the money he made from Gaga. I assumed he discovered and signed her and have thought that ever since. However, after some research, I soon learned that my assumption was only partially correct.
When Gaga hit the scene in 2008, many were under the impression that she was signed to Akon’s Konvict label because Akon practically made his name synonymous with hers and never debunked such assertions. However, she has (or had) a distribution deal with his Kon Live distribution company, which he describes as an “international label where they blow up acts worldwide.”
Many media outlets, including B96 Chicago, referred to her as his “protégé,” and neither of them (Gaga or Akon) gave a rebuttal. In the same interview, they collectively explained how they became associated–producer RedOne introduced Gaga to Akon, and after many email blasts, he subsequently invited her to write for the Pussycat Dolls. He quickly noticed her talents and “signed” her as a solo artist. He later appeared in her debut video for “Just Dance.”
FUSE and Wild 94.9 spoke with Gaga and Akon in other 2008 interviews, and they gave the same recount from the B96 interview. Never did Akon ever take credit for discovering Stefani Germanotta in a pub; he only says that he signed her after other labels passed up on her.
In a 2010 AP interview, Akon said Gaga, the artist he believed in when others didn’t, has him at a place financially where he can retire. In the same year, Akon spoke with RealTalkNY and VladTV about striking gold with Gaga, and he shouts out Vincent for doing the “day-to-day stuff up to this point.”
It should be noted that in all of the mentioned interviews, Akon never said he discovered Lady Gaga. He only takes credit for signing her.
During the final show of the U.S. leg of her 2009 “Fame Ball” tour, Vincent presented Gaga with a gold plaque for her debut album, The Fame, where Akon lent background vocals. She accepted and recognized him as her discoverer.
Earlier this year, Skorpion Show attended Vincent’s birthday party, where Gaga said: “I wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for Vince. Well I would have one, but no one would know who I was and I wouldn’t be as successful. As Vince knows, I’d be somewhere in New York. I remember very much when you weren’t feeling well last year–I didn’t think I could continue making music without you. I didn’t’ think I could continue because I would never trust anyone in the business but you.”
The controversy surrounding Gaga’s discovery seems like the product of serious miscommunication between all parties involved and unprofessionalism on Tamar’s part. Akon never takes credit for discovering her and she never credits him as her discoverer.
Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP is due out next year. The linear notes/credits will surely be an interesting read.
Breakfast Club Interview
Wild 94.9 Interview
The Skorpion Show Footage (Skip to 15:26)
Vincent Presents Gaga With A Gold Plaque