The next big thing, erm, according to some. But her song Video Games, which catapulted her to the fore, sure is a thing of beauty. I’ve been listening to it on a loop for a good while now, and what a gorgeously haunting song it is. My pick for Best Song of 2011. Her sort of debut album, Born to Die, was released into the world last week and has already shot to No.1 in 13 countries. Sounds peachy? Far from it; she’s got tongues lashing wagging, read on to know Why This Kolaveri Di for Lana Del Rey.
Okay, take a deep breath. She was born as Elizabeth Grant in 1986 to *minted parents* (her dad’s a millionaire, just saying) in New York City, and grew up in another rich men’s playground Lake Placid, New York. While studying metaphysics (which is working out whether it’s possible to mathematically prove God’s existence, if you didn’t know!) at Fordham University in NYC, she trawled bars in Brooklyn for a singing gig. Persistence pays as they say, ‘cos she bagged a recording contract with New York indie label 5 Points Records. Under her own name, Lizzy Grant, she released an EP titled Kill, Kill in October, 2008 and a full-length album in *January, 2010* titled Lana Del Ray, both of which tanked. In *March, 2010*, bizarrely, that album, along with footage/recordings/anything to do with Lizzy Grant, was scrubbed from the Internet. That is, there was no trace of Lizzy Grant to be found in the virtual world, and she even decamped… to London.
Skip to July, 2011, and enters Lana Del Rey, the pillow-lipped pouty, sultry, seductive version of Lizzy Grant to be known as of now, to sign a recording contract with Interscope Records (did daddy bribe the record execs?). Suspiciously, that deal was not made public.
Then, the supposedly self-made video for Video Games surfaced on the internet, and, just like that, it went on to become crazily viral (did Interscope seed and viralize it? Cynical git you’re for thinking so…), making her the poster child for indie kids along the way.
In September, 2011, noted indie music and meme interpreter Carles, of Hipster Runoff, posted a bunch of old photos of Lizzy Grant LDR in which she had smaller lips, and with it started the storm about her authenticity altogether. Then in an attempt to refute allegations of cosmetic surgery through an interview with Complex, she accidentally (ha!) muddled with her cushty background: “I haven’t had anything done at all. Anyone who’s known me will tell you that. I’m sorry, but I was living in a trailer park for a few years. I didn’t even have enough money to buy Cocoa Puffs. ”
All very petty and irrelevant, I know. But can she actually sing ‒ live? Her TV debut, on 11th October, 2011, at Britain’s Later… with Jools Holland implied that, erm, she couldn’t. She made a few more live performances and unfortunately, none of them suggested otherwise.
But what really opened the floodgates was her performance on her U.S. television debut at Saturday Night Live on 14th January, 2012, which, in all honesty, was shambles. Somewhere amidst it all ‒ and adding fuel to the fire ‒ Billboard confirmed the rumoured Interscope deal, and that her album would be coming out in early 2012. Which it did on 31st of January ‒ to mixed reviews.
So, yeah, some people feel victims of an immense confidence trick: far from being an organic wunderkind, her transformation from Lizzy to Lana was plotted all along by shrewd record execs ‒ and backed by her wealthy father. Is she actually talented; if so, why didn’t she take off when she was Lizzy Grant? SO, friends, would you give LDR a listen; or, has her spot of airbrushing the past backstory made you all too sceptical to give her any credibility as an artist? I’m yet to listen to the whole album but the three songs that I’ve heard so far, the misanthropic me loved ‒ think I’ll go for it.