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LA Reid regrets dropping Gaga

By | Published on Friday 30 September 2011

La Reid

One time Universal exec, now Sony man and ‘X-Factor USA’ judge, LA Reid has admitted that dropping Lady Gaga from his label was the “worst thing” he’d ever done in his music business career. Reid signed Gaga to his Island Def Jam label in 2006, initially believing her to be a pop superstar in the making, but subsequently disregarding her initial work on an album, seemingly because he was having a bad day.

He told Access Hollywood: “This artist came to my office… she played piano, she had on white go-go boots – like, all the way up to here, thigh high boots – she sat down at that piano, she played and she sang. When she was done, I said: ‘You are an amazing artist, a true star, and you will change music’, and I signed her. Her name was Lady Gaga. Then, a few months later, I got her demos, and it was a work in progress, and I was having a bad day. I’m telling you, I was having a bad day. And I said: ‘You know what? I really don’t like it. Let her have her freedom, let her go find her career’. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done”.

Gaga subsequently signed to an imprint of another Universal Music division, Interscope, and the rest, as they sometimes say, is history. Reid says that, while he may have failed to bring the Gaga to his former employer, he “redeemed” himself by bagging them a Bieber. He added: “I felt bad, but I swear to you, like a month later Justin Bieber came and redeemed me, so, you know, I survived it all. But I’m a little bit jealous, because the Twitter following, for example, the biggest ones are Bieber and Lady Gaga, so I would have felt like the king of the world! Instead I felt like half the king”.

As previously reported, Reid left Universal after various rejigs by the major’s new CEO Lucian Grainge, subsequently following Universal’s former boss Doug Morris to Sony where he is now heading up an expanded Epic Records while appearing on Sony’s ‘X-Factor’ franchise Stateside.