A songwriter and music producer who claims he helped launch pop star Lady Gaga says she squeezed him out of her lucrative career after he co-wrote some of her songs, came up with her stage name and helped get her record deal.
Rob Fusari filed a $35 million lawsuit against the pop star, saying his protege and former girlfriend ditched him as her career soared, The Associated Press reports.
Lady Gaga's spokesman, Dave Tomberlin, didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
A friend steered the piano-playing singer - then known by her real name, Stefani Germanotta - to Fusari in March 2006, according to his lawsuit. He spent the next several months "radically reshaping her approach," persuading her to drop rock riffs for dance beats, the lawsuit said.
As they co-wrote songs such as "Paparazzi" which appeared on her debut album, "The Fame," he transformed Germanotta into Lady Gaga, a name adapted from Queen's "Radio Ga Ga," the suit said.