An avid music fan, singer-songwriter Alisa Apps grew up in Cleveland and has aspirations of becoming a pop star. But when her parents didn’t support that dream, she packed her bags and left town, moving first to Miami and then to Los Angeles to pursue a career.
“Music was my number one love, but my family wasn’t supportive of it,” she says, adding that she didn’t speak to her father for eight years because he didn’t support her passion.
First, she moved to Miami, where she started songwriting. After that, she moved to Los Angeles and worked with Richard Perry (Barbra Streisand, Rod Stewart, Ray Charles, Tina Turner). “He had me under his wing for half a year,” she says of Perry. “I’m very proud of every song I wrote. I don’t have songwriting teams.”
In 2007, she wrote the tune “Need to Know” and uploaded the song to YouTube in 2008, making it available for sale online. She says she took out a copyright on the tune.
“I copyright all my music because I don’t trust anyone,” she says.
In 2009, she says she met recording artist Jay-Z at the Sports Club in Beverly Hills, where they had “a long conversation” about “working together.” She says she played him a music video and gave him her album.
She saw Jay-Z again at a party with music business bigwigs but says he wasn’t welcoming. “He acted very strange when I met him again — now I know why,” she adds.
According to Apps' lawyers, Philip P. Mann and Tim Billick from Mann Law Group, Jay-Z stole her song and passed it on to British pop star John Newman, who took the melody and retitled it “Love Me Again,” turning it into a smash hit. The tune debuted at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in July of 2013 and was nominated for the British Single of the Year at the 2014 BRIT Awards, and nominated for the 2014 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song
“It’s sad that major labels resort to stealing music,” Apps says. “There are so many cases of major labels stealing music from other artists to profit.”
Earlier this year, Apps officially filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group as well as Newman and Jay-Z.
Apps says that by “unlawful copying, use and distribution,” Universal, Jay-Z and Newman have violated her rights.
She says Universal has been served notice but has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
No stranger to controversy, Apps once challenged Lady Gaga to a million-dollar sing-off challenge.
“I straight called her out,” she says of the 2010 incident that stemmed from the "pop star challenge" she’s posted on YouTube. “Her and her label ran like a dog. They were chicken. I heard from people in my camp that she was scared shitless.”
She has plans to stage "knockouts" of pop stars and says she has patrons who will pay "upwards of $10,000 per ticket" to see her fight someone like bad boy pop singer Justin Bieber.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.