Laurieann Gibson may be known to Canadians as one of the judges on "Canada Sings!" but in the U.S. the Toronto-born dancer is a multi-talented. Best known as Lady Gaga's creative director at Interscope for the past five years (they split in November 2011 amid rumors of a fight), she has also worked extensively as a choreographer and the creative force behind a number of other A-list musicians, including recently Nicki Minaj on her Pink Friday tour.
Not only that, but the 42-year-old also directed Lady Gaga's "You and I" music video and the singer's "Monster Ball" HBO Special (for which Gibson earned an Emmy nod in 2010), starred in "Honey" opposite Jessica Alba in 2003, and will soon release her second album. If that weren't enough, Gibson also has a history on reality television, notably as the star of MTV's "Making the Band" and, more recently, on P. Diddy's "Starkmaker" series.
On the second season of "Canada Sings!," in which Canadians form glee clubs in efforts to win $25,000 for charity, she sits behind the judges' table with Vanilla Ice (she calls him "Ice") and "incredible woman" Jann Arden. Gibson, who flies back and forth from Los Angeles to Toronto for the show (as well as "eat Harvey's and Swiss Chalet and ketchup chips"), recently spoke to omg! Canada about her new gig.
How did you end up on "Canada Sings!"?
The host, Matte Babel, suggested that they contact me and, when they did, I was like, "Oh, no, another reality show." But then when they told me it was about regular people singing, dancing and acting to help a charity, I was like, "Sign me up." And I'm Canadian, I get to go home and be on a Canadian show.
What is Vanilla Ice really like?
When I first met him, I was like, "I'm a fan! You'll have to forgive me, 'cause I know every one of your steps from the 'Ice Ice Baby' routine." He was so sweet! I started doing the routine and he started doing it with me. So we had an instant connection.
You started out as a Fly Girl on "In Living Color" in the early '90s. What was that like?
It was one of my first real jobs. I was on the last two seasons and I was very young and very shy and just kind of stuck to myself and did the best job I could.
You worked with Lady Gaga until you guys split in November of last year. There was talk that your comparison of her to Madonna may have led to a fissure.
I never compared Lady Gaga to Madonna. I'm sure that was a misprint, you can't really compare such an iconic artist to someone who's just starting out. I didn't do it then and I wouldn't compare them now.
There have been a lot of rumours about your split. Can you clarify the reason?
Lady Gaga wanted to take more control of creating and I wished her well. I wanted to stay true to my process without jeopardizing what I stand for -- how I operate and the level of execution and rehearsal time, things that people don't really understand go into putting on a television show or a performance or choreographing, creative directing and directing a video like [Lady Gaga's music videos] "Judas" or "You and I."
You're about to release your second album. As a musician, did you find inspiration from the artists you have worked with in the past?
The inspiration for the album is something that solely comes from me as an artist and the songwriters that I work with. It's a completely different approach from the artists I worked with as a choreographer and a creative director and a director. I come from a dancer's perspective, the artists that I've worked with don't have that passion, that calling.
"Canada Sings!" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Global.