Mega pop star Lady Gaga--or Lady Meat Wearer, as I call her--has landed in this part of the world this week to kick off her Asian tour.
Her manager, Troy Carter, was in Singapore yesterday as the keynote interview at Music Matters 2012, where the American discussed a range of issues including why Lady Gaga was a "200-pound toddler" and the importance of social media tools and need for today's artists to be tech-savvy.
Despite the success of Gaga, which has seen worldwide success with hits like Poker Face, Bad Romance and Born This Way, Carter said the lady still has some ways to go. "She's a 200-pound toddler...I don't feel as though she's made it yet. It's a long long way to go," he said.
He described Gaga as still a developing act, stressing it was important--even with her overnight success--the singer didn't skip the necessary steps all artists needed to take to nurture a loyal audience and develop their skills. For instance, she continued to play in nightclubs and while world tours required tremendous amount of time and effort, he said they were necessary for the artist to reach out to local audiences and soak in the local culture.
Asked if he was concerned about the piracy problem in Asia, Carter replied music wasn't just about selling records. It's about building long-term relationships with the audience, and doing tours and performing shows to establish that relationship, he said.
He also underscored the importance of social media tools in expanding a talent's reach and why it's necessary for artists to be tech-savvy. He talked about how artists would tweet about being at a certain place at a certain time and later show up to a few hundreds screaming fans. "You don't have to be super tech-savvy but at least know how to tweet!"
Carter, who is in his late-30s, said the rise of consumer tech had made it so much easier now for talent to be discovered and broken down barriers for them to reach out to a global audience.
On whether he would consider using technology to auto-translate Gaga's songs, so she could appeal to a wider global audience in multiple languages, he dismissed the possibility: "You can't fake it... It has to be an authentic experience [or] the audience will smell it a mile away."
Carter's resolve to embrace the new--of using tech to widen his artists' reach--while adhering to the old--of putting in the necessary hard work and time--as the formula to success, is such a rare sight these days.
It could have been so easy to direct Gaga to take the shortcuts and tap technology to cut out the sweat and blood those before her had to take to achieve success. Instead, he chose to steer his talent toward how it had always been done, through good old-fashioned hard work.
I find this extremely refreshing.