So, Little Monsters: Bet you've been wondering just how Lady Gaga got her signature claw grab hand move? And just who taught Diddy and Mary J. Blige to strut their stuff? It all comes back to star creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson, who made her name making moves for artists including those stars plus Katy Perry, The Dixie Chicks, Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj (and remember her whipping Danity Kane into shape with Puff on Making The Band?). Well, now she’s got her own Ryan Seacrest-produced reality show hitting the tube on E! in January. She stopped by my office last week to chat up her incredible new goings on -- and shoot down some rumors about her biggest pop collaborator.
UsMagazine.com: First of all, tell Us about the show!
Laurieann Gibson: I have this new show with Ryan Seacrest who is amazing. He actually followed me because I've known him from doing American Idol and he saw my Grammy performance with Lady Gaga. It's a docu-drama and it follows the creative director, choreographer, artist development, and arts development at Interscope Records it follows the reality of being both behind and in front of the scenes.
US: I'm sure it shows you working with all of your stars…
LG: I'm going to have some interactions with my famous stars, but basically they are already done. What is going to be amazing are the new ones. Three years ago, if you could have seen what I went through with Gaga you know that journey would have been amazing. You will see the maintenance of the A-list artists.
US: So tell me your story…
LG: I was born in Toronto, and studied with the National Ballet of Canada, I went to school to study dance, slept on the floor, ate nothing, waitressed - and then there was a Mary J. Blidge audition. Basically they paid so much more, and it became all about the music industry stuff and that's when I met Puffy. I’ve gone on to work with everyone from The Dixie Chicks to Dido to Puffy to Gaga to Nicki Manaj.
US: Gaga is so huge!
LG: She is so fantastical! I love her!
US: So take me back to when you first met her and how that happened and how you got involved with her.
LG: Basically, the label sent me an early CD and it was early versions of "Paparazzi" and "Beautiful, Dirty Rich," and that's where I started forming everything you see today. It was incredibly special for me because there was no limitation at a label, or with a manager -- there was nobody. It was freedom, just me and Gag… And then of course later came the styling and the clothes and all of that, but you can still strip everything away and you will see what we started doing in the beginning.
US: Was it hard training her because she wasn't a trained dancer?
LG: Yeah, absolutely, but the thing that was great is her fearlessness. She did the work and, it was very difficult, but being number one is. When they say, 'you are so tough,' I'm like, 'well that's why she's number one!'
US: What do you think of the book and reports out there saying she has an eating disorder?
LG: I just want to say it's all foolishness. Why would anyone say that? Clearly you have nothing to do with these dynamics, creatively or really with the people that are working so hard. She doesn’t have an eating disorder, and whoever is saying that is an asshole. Quote me! We are fighting for our dreams. There’s no hocus pocus there. The guy saying it has absolutely nothing to do with Lady Gaga.
US: Any fun stories from the road?
LG: One time, we were in Germany and we went out to a club. All of a sudden "Bad Romance" comes on, and we both just look at each other and jumped on the table and for the first time we danced to it in public. It was amazing.
US: How did her claw dance move come about?
LG: I was obsessed with Chubby Checker and old dances, like the twist. So when I heard "Bad Romance," we just twisted it out and then we added the hand. It's based on the twist.
US: What about your newest star client, Nicki Minaj?
LG: Her talent as a rapper and as a singer is first of all phenomenal, and in the same way as Gaga, her records speak to me. She's free to express the records visually and have that effect when you go to her concert. She’s free to engage the experience, so there’s no box. She's like, 'I don't want to be cute!' She's like a Barbie, then she wants to be a superhero, or coming out of a spaceship and everything's pink. She makes a certain move that's ghetto hood mixed with a little robot so its like I'm evolving Nicki Manaj and developing her style. She's fearless, and I love her.
US: And you helped discover The Jonas Brothers?
LG: They didn’t have a manager and I was like 'how can I give them a fighting chance?' I was shooting Making the Band with Johnny Wright at the time. I begged Johnny to come down and see the boys, so he came, and the rest is history.
US: Is there anyone else you really want to work with that you haven’t been able to yet?
LG: Chris Brown. He is the closest thing that I've seen to what we loved about Michael Jackson. If there is a synch between music and singer, that magic, he’s there. But I think at this point he's still so young and hasn't gotten the right guidance.
US: Well that leads into a good question. What are you and Gaga doing next?
LG: The music that she’s making is incredible! It's liberating, and I think visually and dance-wise, I’m at my best. I really, really believe that this one will ignite a different change.
US: Have you hung out with her boyfriend, Luc Carl?
LG: I knew him before any of this stuff was happening. It's a great love story. I love him and he’s so much fun.