Lana Del Rey
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant
June 21, 1985 (age 29)
New York City, New York
Robert Grant Jr., father
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (born June 21, 1985 in New York City, New York), known by her stage name Lana Del Rey or previous stage names Lizzy Grant, and May Jailer, is an American singer-songwriter, model, artist, and musician. She was born to her mother Patricia Grant, and father Robert Grant. Though born in New York City, she was raised in Lake Placid. She has two younger siblings: Caroline "Chuck" Grant, her sister, and Charlie Grant, her brother. She has been performing as Lana Del Rey since 2011.
Lana Del Rey was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant to her mother and father in New York City, New York on June 21, 1985. Her father, a former Grey Group executive copywriter turned web developer, and her mother Patricia Grant, a former Grey Group account executive raised her in Lake Placid, New York for the majority of her youth, along with sister Chuck and brother Charlie. Her father, who worked as a major executive, began investment in web domains in the late 90s, and as a result became a self-made entrepreneur. Though her family was well off, Del Rey has stated that her father was never a millionaire and that they never lived a wealthy lifestyle.
Career beginnings and Sirens
After returning to New York at age 18, Del Rey began studying metaphysics at Fordham College. It was around this time when she quit drinking due to an incident where she lost her parents car, however, without drinking, she felt "out of sync" with campus life. She began making social connections to other musicians who encouraged her to experiment with music. After learning six chords on guitar from her uncle, she began writing music. On learning guitar, she said "I realized I could probably write a million songs with those six chords". The result of her writing was the production of her first album, Sirens. The acoustic album, written entirely by Del Rey under the stage name "May Jailer", was the beginning roots of her musical life and showcased a more fragile and peaceful take on her voice and sound.
She began playing songs in various underground clubs in New York in 2005, and continued writing and performing for the next few years. Her stage name changed many times through this period, beginning with "May Jailer", evolving into "Lizzy Grant & The Phenomena", shortly becoming "Sparkle Jump Rope Queen", and eventually becoming Lizzy Grant. She graduted from Fordham College with a BA in philosophy. Halfway through college, Del Rey recieved a $10,000 record contract, with the money she rented a $400 a month trailer in New Jersey and began her music career.
Lizzy Grant era
- Main article: Lana Del Ray (album)
Soon, after recording a demo EP, No Kung Fu, Del Rey began work on her first studio album. She sent the EP to various producers, asking them to become producers for her first album, and after listening to her tracks, David Kahne agreed to produce the entirety of the album. The two began recording in 2008 and recorded every day for three months. Her first EP was released after they begun their sessions, Kill Kill, which included three tracks - "Kill Kill", "Gramma", and "Yayo". The three songs off the EP would later be included in her debut LP, Lana Del Ray. The album was released by 5 Points Records on January 5, 2010, to iTunes and Amazon. Shortly after this, it was removed and Del Rey bought the rights to the album back from her label after deciding to proceed with a different musical aim. The album was removed from all circulation, but a re-recording of the song Yayo appeared later on Paradise.
Born to Die era
- Main article: Born to Die (album)
Later in 2010, Del Rey began work on her major-label debut album Born to Die. She and Justin Parker began working with each other at this time. She dyed her naturally blonde hair auburn in 2010, and began releasing self-made videos featuring noir cinema clips interlaced with her own videos, made on her Apple computer, in mid-2010. She posted Video Games to her Youtube channel on August 19, 2011. The song and video immediately began to garner attention from music critics, who hailed the fragility of her voice and the songs production, and she was signed to Stranger Records the next month. The song was released as a double A-side along with Blue Jeans on October 16, 2011. Soon, Del Rey signed on to Interscope Records and Polydor Records to begin recording of Born to Die for release in early 2012.
Interscope and Polydor introduced Del Rey to various producers, including Rick Nowels and Emile Haynie. She began recording both older songs and new material for the album, and Born to Die was released on December 30, 2011, as the second single from the then-untitled album. Del Rey began promotion of the material soon after being signed, and performed in many intimate venues and shows. She made her U.S. television debut on January 14, 2012, alongside Daniel Radcliffe on the comedy show Saturday Night Live. The performance received polarized reviews, with some calling it the "worst performance in SNL history", while some attributed Lana's stage presence to stage-jitters, due to the fact that it was her first performance on American television.
Despite the mixed reception of the album, it performed well commercially, especially in non-US territories. The record was the 3rd best selling of the year in the UK.
- Main article: Paradise (album)
In an interview with RTVE on June 15, 2012, Del Rey announced she has been working on a new album due in November, and that five tracks have already been written, two of them being "Will You Still Love Me When I'm No Longer Young and Beautiful" and "In the Land of Gods and Monsters" and the other track titled "I Sing the Body Electric", which was performed and announced as one of her songs at the BBC Radio1's Hackney Weekend. In an interview with Tim Blackwell for Nova FM in Melbourne, Australia, Del Rey added that her upcoming November release would not be a new album but an EP, which she described as the Paradise Edition of Born to Die. On September 25, 2012, Del Rey released the lead single "Ride" to critical acclaim. The EP was released November 9, 2012 with 8 tracks and one bonus iTunes exclusive track, "Burning Desire".
In June 2013, Del Rey began filming the Anthony Mandler directed short film Tropico, which she called a "farewell" to the Born to Die era. The short film was premiered at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California on December 4, 2013, and released to YouTube and VEVO on the following day. At the premier, Del Rey announced the title of her second full length major label album Ultraviolence. The short film received mixed reception.
- Main article: Ultraviolence (album)
Del Rey had been working on her Born to Die follow up album since the release of Born to Die, but felt there was no real substance until November 2013 when she sat down with melodies and lyrics she had been working on and wrote the album. Over three weeks in Electric Lady Studios in New York, Del Rey recorded the album with Rick Nowels. By the end of the session the album was complete. However, shortly after Dan Auerbach and Del Rey met in a club and decided to work together. A week later Del Rey rerecorded the entire album with Auerbach using a Shure SM-58 microphone and a live band.
In interviews around this time, Del Rey talked about the development of her album, playing tracks, such as "Black Beauty" and describing the album as dark and spiritual. After "Black Beauty" leaked, Del Rey said "I do feel discouraged, yeah. I don't really know what to put on the record. But I guess I could just put them on and see what happens" leaving the fate of the song on the album uncertain. She added, she was working on Ultraviolence "until my record got leaked last week, 'cause my life is like completely invaded. But yeah, I'm writing songs that I really like right now. They're really low-key and stripped back, all sort of West Coast inspired."
On February 20, 2014 Del Rey posted a picture of herself and Auerbach on Twitter with the caption "Me and Dan Auerbach are excited to present you Ultraviolence".
"West Coast" was released as the album's lead single on April 14, 2014. It recieved critical acclaim and performed modestly on the charts, entering the Top 40 in many countries. A music video was released on May 7. "Shades of Cool" was announced to be the album's first promotional single and was released on May 26. The music video for the track premiered on June 17. "Ultraviolence" was the next promotional single followed "Brooklyn Baby" which was released on June 4 and June 8 respectively. A snippet of a music video for the song "Pretty When You Cry" was released through Del Rey's Instagram on June 16.
From an early age, Del Rey had alcohol dependance issues. At the age of fifteen, Del Rey was sent to Kent School, a boarding school in Connecticut after conflict with her teachers and mother back at home. While at Kent School, she met recent Georgetown University graduate and teacher Gene Campbell, who introduced her to various artists and writers such as Tupac, Walt Whitman and Vladimir Nabokov and would be a major influence in her music later on in life.
- Main article: Lana Del Rey discography
- Young Like Me (2005)
- From the End (2005)
- No Kung Fu (2006)
- Kill Kill (2008)
- Lana Del Rey (2010)
- Paradise (2012)
- Tropico (2013)