Akon Says Lady Gaga’s Success Has Him Ready To Retire

AkonThere's no doubt that Lady Gaga has become a huge star. Since dropping her 2008 debut, The Fame, she's blossomed into an international mega-star.

Before she shot to fame with hits like "Just Dance" and "Poker Face," Gaga spent years struggling to make it. After several failed deals, she finally found a home at Akon's Kon Live label and the rest is history.

"I think what everybody else didn't," Akon said of what he saw in Lady Gaga initially, in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "She had went through like four or five labels. When I closed my deal at Interscope, she was getting dropped that week ... they was dropping her again. I was like 'Yo, I wanna sign that right there.'

"Jimmy [Iovine] was like 'Yea, whatever you want, take her. Let's get it done.' She's blossomed into a super-mega star," he continued.

It was a smart move for Akon. He says Gaga's been so successful, he's on the cusp of retiring from music altogether. Maybe to focus on the business side of his label?

"She's pretty much retired me," Akon said with a grin. "She was definitely a blessing. She came at the right moment. I'm glad I believed in her boy. That goes to show, if you believe in something good ... you know, strong enough, it will pay off."

According to Akon, Gaga's style of dance-infused pop music has influenced the entire industry ... even hip-hop.

He says when "hardcore" hip-hop artists are choosing dance genre styled beats, he knows he's done something right with Lady Gaga.

"That's what excited me more about her, because you got some straight hardcore guys actually moving into the dance realm. That's shocking," Akon said. "You got someone like Dr. Dre about to do a dance record. ... that's my point. That's crazy.

"In a way, it's so exciting for me, because that just shows that out industry is so open-minded to everything now. Believe it or not, with that openness we can create magic."

Since the release of The Fame, Gaga has gone on to win multiple awards -- including MTV VMAs for Video of the Year and Artist of the Year -- and made high profile appearances on Oprah, and even performed before Queen Elizabeth.

So yes, Akon definitely made the right decision when he decided to sign her.