Gaga scout nets $7.3 million

December 2014



Wendy Starland has won $7.3 million from Lady Gaga’s former producer Rob Fusari after a US court ruled yesterday that Fusari had broken an agreement to split his earnings from Gaga with Starland, the talent scout who discovered the Poker Face star. Starland was tasked by Fusari to find “the female equivalent to the lead singer of The Strokes” in 2005. She eventually discovered 20 year old singer Stefani Germanotta and introduced her to him. The singer and producer then began working together, eventually developing her into Lady Gaga.. Fusari himself sued Gaga in 2010, claiming that he was due a bigger cut of her income than what he was already receiving for production credits on her first album. The pair eventually reached an out-of-court settlement.

Some of the details from the current case and Fusari’s own case have been kept confidential by the courts after Gaga asserted that information in papers relating to the case was “sensitive, private and personal” and would “inflict significant personal and professional harm upon” her if it was made public and whilst a partial seal was granted, details of the singer’s deposition in the current case, given in September, were made4 public and according to reports, Gaga said: “My understanding was that Wendy and him had initially agreed upon 50/50 perhaps before Wendy ever found me, and after I was signed to Rob and made music, Rob began to change his mind”. The singer added that Starland had pushed Fusari to sign a contract to put their verbal agreement in writing, but that he had continually delayed this, which had in turn put a strain on the friendship that had grown between Gaga and Starland. Speaking to Billboard following the ruling, Starland said: “Fusari asked me to find an artist under the age of 25 who could be the female equivalent to the lead singer of The Strokes. I had attended about 50 live performances and searched for countless hours online before finding an artist who fit the bill. Someone who was edgy and bold. Someone you couldn’t take you eyes off of. These were the specific characteristics of the ‘Strokes girl’ Fusari identified that he would need to approve before signing her to a production deal. I only brought Rob Fusari one artist for us to work with and that artist became Lady Gaga”.

She added: “The original deal we made was in 2005. Rob had made several promises to honour our agreement before attempting to alter it in late 2008/early 2009. I was incredibly surprised when he did that”. A representative for Fusari told Billboard: “We are very disappointed with the verdict and are in the process of analysing our options”.

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