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EMBRACING ATTENTION


While Adele has shied away from the public attention that comes with being a pop superstar, Taylor Swift has embraced it. The American singer/songwriter has shown a sense of humor about the public's interest in her love life. After breaking up with her latest beau, Harry Styles of One Direction, Swift told her followers in a tweet: "Back in the studio. Uh oh..."

No doubt her followers know what it might mean: She's writing and recording another song about another romantic misfire. She's done it before and it's been a hugely successful strategy, with albums flying off the shelves. Swift's last album, "Red," instantly became an undisputed blockbuster when it was released last October.

Swift rules the music charts but she's not had as much success with her various famous boyfriends, including singer John Mayer and actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who are believed to have inspired some of her hits. But rather than allowing these setbacks to negatively affect her image, Swift has harnessed them to increase her appeal. By embracing her life in the public spotlight, she has increased fan interest in her music and propelled herself to the top of the charts.

A PUBLIC PERSONA

One pop superstar who is much quieter on the love-life front is Lady Gaga. The American singer is a fascinating case. She is more expressive and flamboyant than any other pop icon today, but has managed to keep many details of her private life secret.

Lady Gaga has embraced social media in a way that no other singer has, spawning a legion of online followers who are enamored with the public persona she has created. Yet few people know who the real Lady Gaga is. "I am a real family girl. When it comes to love and loyalty, I am very old-fashioned. And I am quite down-to-earth for such an eccentric person," Lady Gaga once insisted in an interview.

The singer is set to release her new album "ARTPOP" in two volumes in spring. And this will no doubt mean that the star will be making more controversial pop videos and appearing in public in a fresh set of bizarre fashion creations.

On the outside, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Adele are very different people and they have achieved success in very different ways. But when you look deeper, you can see that they have one crucial thing in common: They don't try to be something that they're not. In the past decade, record companies have struggled to identify the new template for success. But in the Internet age, maybe there is no set template that works. In the 21st century, it seems that the best rule is to be yourself, and surely that is a good thing.

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