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Gaga addresses woes at SXSW ‘Tha Carter V’ will be last solo LP: Lil Wayne

AUSTIN, Texas, March 15, (AP): Lady Gaga vowed to quit pop music rather than compromise, detailing a difficult year that included an underperforming new album during her much-anticipated keynote session at South By Southwest on Friday. Dressed in a gown made of plastic sheeting and wearing blond dreadlocks, Gaga spent an hour in a wide-ranging question-and-answer session that shed some light on obstacles that included hip surgery, a split from manager Troy Carter and widespread questions about her popularity. “I refuse to compromise and allow my talents to be monetized to the point that I don’t want to be here anymore,” she said. “I will stop, I will quit, I will retire from the commercial market if I have to do something other than be myself because if I can’t be myself in this moment than everything I have said to my friends since the beginning will be a total lie. Then what? I’ll be myself until I have to make money to sustain a luxurious lifestyle, and then I change, right? No, I’ll be myself till they (expletive) close the coffin so that you can all be yourselves.”

The 27-year-old singer briefly discussed her 2013 tour-canceling hip surgery — she was in a wheelchair for four months and has three screws in her hip — and her messages to fans regarding difficulties she’s had with the release of “ARTPOP,” which has only sold 673,773 units since its November release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (In 2011, Gaga’s “Born This Way” sold 1.1 million copies in its first week; 660,000 copies were sold regularly, and the rest through a 99 cents deal with Amazon). She reached a low point, she said, when those around her began to encourage her to abandon her instincts and go for a less polarizing image.

“That’s the thing that poisoned me ... (people saying) ‘We want you to be beautiful’ over and over and over in my head until I just wanted to look ugly all the time because I’m rebellious,” Lady Gaga said. “Don’t tell me not to do anything because it’s going to happen. That really crushed me. I’ve won Grammys now. I’ve written albums. I’ve toured the world four times. You’re telling me to be beautiful? That’s what this is all about? Is it all about tits and a—? That’s so sad.” While Gaga is known for her odd looks — including dressing in drag and wearing false teeth — she’s also been known to shed her clothing onstage; at the MTV Video Music Awards last year, she stripped down to a seashell bra top and a thong during her performance.

Lil Wayne said during an appearance at South By Southwest that he plans to make “Tha Carter V” his last solo album and that the first single from the still-in-progress LP will be out in the next week. The New Orleans rapper made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with Elliott Wilson as part of the CRWN series on Friday during the annual music conference and festival. “I’m approaching it like it is my last project, and I think that’s why it’s a lot different than everything else,” Wayne said. “That’s why I think the grind is different. I’m working harder. I’m approaching it a whole lot different. I’m approaching it as if you don’t have tomorrow.” “Tha Carter V” is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. “Tha Carter IV” sold nearly 1 million albums the first week of release in 2011.

Wayne, 31, said he’s been taking his time with the album, trying to diversify his subject matter after Wilson joked that most of his songs center around one thing: sex. “What you want me to talk about? The world?” he said, drawing laughter from the audience. Wayne said he once wanted to be known as the greatest rapper in the world, but has softened his stance with age and perspective. Of Kendrick Lamar, he said, “Ain’t nobody touch that dude.” And he praised the artists on his own Young Money label. He called Drake “a wonderful person” and said Nicki Minaj is not just the best female rapper out there, but the best rapper. “I am not going to be jumping out here talking about, ‘I’m the best,’” Wayne said. “I don’t need anybody jumping at my neck.”

It’s been nearly three decades since Spandau Ballet played in the United States. After a successful return to America at South By Southwest, members of the influential British pop group now wonder why they stayed away for so long. “We’re sorry we left it 28 years,” band member Gary Kemp said. “That’s a long time. It is amazing how fast it went.” The recently reunited band played their SXSW show Wednesday at Vulcan Gas Company. It was a sweaty, close affair, and one that left the band — who in the 1980s had a hit record and single both titled “True” — excited about its future reunion prospects.
“The reaction was phenomenal,” Kemp said. “I don’t think we really realized how much love there was for Spandau and knowledge really of our catalog here in the states. It’s the first time we’ve played in a club proper since playing in New York the first time in 1981 ...

“This is a club town, and we wanted to be part of the atmosphere. The vibe was phenomenal. We felt like we took our arena skills and compressed them down and contained that energy on the festival stage.” The group, which also includes Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Martin Kemp and Steve Norman, also debuted a new career-spanning documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World” at the festival. The George Hencken-directed film filters the vibrant London 1980s music scene through the band’s story. “I think it was a golden age really,” lead singer Hadley said. “It was kind of a golden age where only music was available to kids. It’s how they found their identity, who they were. ... I think there’s a nostalgia about that.
 

For a guy who got his start in the ’90s British rock ’n’ roll scene, Damon Albarn sure knows how to throw a hip-hop party. Albarn invited De La Soul and Del The Funky Homosapien to join him during his performance Friday night at South By Southwest, pulling off one of the bigger surprises so far at the annual music conference and festival. De La Soul joined Albarn for their Gorillaz collaboration “Feed Good Inc.,” before Del came on stage to perform initial Gorillaz single “Clint Eastwood” for the first time since its release 13 years ago. “What can I say about them? They’re very dear friends of mine,” Albarn said of De La Soul before the performance. “But it’s Del The Funky Homosapien I’m most excited about. It is literally the first time that not only have I met him, but he’s going to sing ‘Clint Eastwood.’ It’s actually quite a momentous moment.”

And not just for Albarn, who also debuted songs from his new solo album “Everyday Robots,” out April 29. Those who bothered to stick around after De La Soul’s high-spirited appearance got a double surprise. Snoop Dogg took the stage at the Fader Fort, where the magazine is celebrating its 15th anniversary by inviting artists to perform who have appeared on its cover, contributing a surprise verse as well. Albarn said Snoop’s appearance was meant to add “a little cayenne” to the set. Albarn’s music has increasingly featured hip-hop and bass-inflected electronic music, and he says he finds inspiration working with diverse artists from different musical worlds.

“I’m more of a fan of making it than listening to it,” Albarn said of hip-hop. “I’ve got my favorites, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, and I suppose that first wave really. Mind you, I love Kendrick Lamar. That sort of excited me again. Of course I love hip-hop but I’m not hip hop. It’s another aspect of the spectrum that I kind of can hear the spirit of music in.” Dave Jolicoeur of De La Soul said Albarn’s open-mindedness has led to a great friendship. “He’s a cool dude who just likes to have fun and create music,” Jolicoeur said of the Blur frontman. “For us, that’s been our MO ever since Day 1, goofing around, having a good time. There’s no real rules at all, but hopefully we get something out of this. That’s been the person that I’ve known, a guy who just likes to create. There are no embarrassing moments where you say, ‘You can’t do that, you can’t say that.’ Just do what you’re doing, and be free.”

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