LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Think of it as a musical “Rocky.” That comparison springs to mind as singer-songwriter Alisa Apps explains the bold challenge she threw down via press release on October 12: a televised live sing-off between her and Lady Gaga for a cash prize of $1 million.
“I’m not saying she doesn’t have a lot of talent; that’s not the issue,” Apps says. “The issue is bringing the heart, soul and realness back to music, which has become more of a machine. This would be a friendly competition based around a traditional American value: the underdog going up against the established act.”
Or is it simply a publicity stunt? That’s the overall sentiment expressed in online comments about the proposed challenge. These range from moderate — “you have a nice voice ... but in the music industry you need allies. And you just made one of the world’s most famous artists your enemy” — to profane — “She must be out of her f***ing mind if she thinks she could ever beat Gaga!!!!!”
Apps adamantly denies it’s a publicity stunt. “For me, it’s more of an intellectual competition. (Gaga’s) fans, in particular, are making this into an ego thing.”
She says the idea stems from the “Pop Star Challenge” underdog/top dog skits she began posting on YouTube two years ago. “It was a fun, comedic thing to see how the general public felt,” Apps says. “But (the Gaga challenge) is serious for me.”
The Cleveland native has been pursuing a professional writing/singing career for the past four years. After meeting manager and East London native Terence William of Global Enterprises, she relocated first to Miami and then to Los Angeles.
A clip of the singer performing “How Do I Make Right,” a 2008 song about reconnecting with her estranged father, has garnered more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. Apps’ online electronic press kit features five songs from her forthcoming album that reflect her pop and R&B influences. Manager William says the album is completed: “We’re just deciding on a release date.”
While Apps was vague as to who would post the prize money (“sponsors, private individuals”), her website notes that she’s 27 and a “regular live performer for bebe stores chairman/founder Mr. (Manny) Mashouf” and that “her patrons include real estate developer Mohamed Hadid,” one of whose projects “was the house the legendary Michael Jackson last lived in.”
Thus far, there hasn’t been any response from Lady Gaga’s camp. The challenge notwithstanding, William insists that Apps is the real deal talent-wise. “Coming out and being underestimated is sometimes a good thing,” he says. “People will realize she’s a serious star.”