A Star Is Born: Lady Gaga Denies Claim She Stole ‘Shallow’ From Unknown Artist

Lady Gaga on stage in Star is Born
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

Bradley Cooper’s actor-turned-director debut A Star is Born dazzled audiences and critics alike, particularly for Cooper and Lady Gaga’s on-screen chemistry singing the movie’s original songs. “Shallow” became a massive hit, nabbing Best Original Song at the Oscars after the pair’s steamy performance, a Golden Globe and two Grammys. Now the song is being threatened with a multimillion dollar lawsuit over its familiar three-note progression.

Unheard of artist Steve Ronsen has claimed the melody to “Shallow” was stolen from his own 2012 work titled “Almost”, since they both implement notes G, A, B in progression. The song has fewer than 300 streams on Soundcloud since its release over five years ago, per Page Six. Ronsen and his attorney Mark D. Shirian are looking for “millions and millions” of dollars from the settlement and cautioning they’ll go public with their findings.

Lady Gaga is fighting back with New York attorney Orin Snyder. Her legal team say the chord progression is common and has been used in many song melodies over the years, such as Kansas’ 1978 song “Dust in the Wind”.

Conversely, Ronsen’s team has apparently provided Gaga’s side with an official report from a “renowned and respected musicologist” showing “there are significant tempo, melodic, rhythmic and harmonic similarities between the two ‘hooks’ of the songs at issue”. They have requested an opposing report which they “have requested multiple times”.

Gaga’s lawyer said this of the case:

Mr. Ronsen and his lawyer are trying to make easy money off the back of a successful artist. It is shameful and wrong. I applaud Lady Gaga for having the courage and integrity to stand up on behalf of successful artists who find themselves on the receiving end of such [claims]. Should Mr. Shirian proceed with this case, Lady Gaga will fight it vigorously and will prevail.

Take a listen to the Steve Ronsen song in question:

The song does share the same three-note progression in a couple parts but the rest of the song is vastly different from Star is Born hit “Shallow”. Objectively, there are only so many combinations in songwriting and the odds of Lady Gaga and the other writers Mark Ronson (no relation), Dirty Pretty Things member Anthony Rossomando and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt hearing “Almost” and copying it for the best-selling track is rather slim.

“Shallow” is one of Gaga’s biggest accomplishments to date, and compliments her praised acting performance in A Star is Born. She said she wrote the song as a conversation between a man and a woman, one where the man actually listens to her. The song comes at a pivotal point in the film when the struggling songwriter takes the stage during Jackson Maine’s set.

The popstar certainly looks ready to protect her music in court if it comes to it. What do you think about the case? Do you think Steve Ronsen has a chance to cash in on his lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.