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Interview:
Identity festival brings White Shadow back to his roots
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

White Shadow attended his first concert when he was 14 years old at the DTE Energy Music Theatre — when it was still known as Pine Knob.



“I saw Lenny Kravitz,” recalls the electronic music artist, who returns to the amphitheater as part of this weekend’s inaugural Identity festival lineup. “I begged my dad for it, and my mom and dad dropped me off and waited in the Pontiac.



“So coming back there to play will be pretty cool.”



White Shadow — real name Paul Blair — comes back home as a hot commodity. Born in Ohio, raised in Warren and Utica, and a Western Michigan University graduate who now lives in Chicago, he co-wrote and/or co-produced nine tracks on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album, including the title track. It’s an experience he says has “ruined” him for other potential pop artists who may come his way.



“She’s 100 percent involved in the creative process — always writing like crazy and really into collaborating,” says White Shadow, 34. He was referred to Gaga by the dancers in her stage show, who heard him spinning at a club in Hollywood. “It’s made it difficult for me to figure out how to work with other people that just want to get a beat or something and go their own way afterwards.



“To me the idea of two people coming together and loving something and making it the best it can possibly be is a cool thing. I wouldn’t want to work any other way.”



White Shadow continues to write new material with Gaga, and he’s also dropped his own EP, “I’m Killing Me,” online. And even though he no longer lives in the area, he still waves the flag for Detroit techno music; the EP’s final song, “Born in Detroit,” pays tribute to his roots



“Detroit has this revival kind of thing going, which is cool,” says White Shadow, who plans to release a full album of his own in 2012. “Young kids all over the world are discovering techno again, re-making techno and falling in love with the idea of Detroit again, which is cool for me. I think that as much as anything else is the reason to keep doing it.”



Identity, featuring Kaskade, the Crystal Method, Steve Akoi, Disco Biscuits, DJ Shadow, White Shadow and more, takes place at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $50 general admission. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.



Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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