About Lana Del Rey
Born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant on June 21, 1985, Lana Del Rey was raised in the upstate New York town of Lake Placid. She attended a Roman Catholic elementary school and, for one year, a high school where her mother taught, before being sent to the private boarding academy Kent School at age 15, to address her relationship with alcohol.
By the time she graduated, Del Rey was sober and had been offered a place at the State University of New York at Geneseo, but decided instead to live with her aunt and uncle on Long Island for a year. Learning to play guitar from her uncle, she began to write songs and perform around local bars, coffee shops and nightclubs under a variety of monikers, including "Sparkle Jump Rope Queen" and "Lizzy Grant and the Phenomena".
2005-2010: Career beginnings and shelved projects
When she was 19, in the fall of 2004, Del Rey began attending Fordham University in The Bronx, majoring in philosophy, particularly metaphysics.
During her time at college, she recorded several demo tapes under the name May Jailer, including the acoustic album Sirens, which was later leaked online in 2012.
In 2006, she met Van Wilson, an A&R representative for independent label 5 Points Records, at the Williamsburg Live Songwriting Competition. The following year, she was offered a $10,000 records deal with 5 Points, after submitting an acoustic demo tape, titled No Kung Fu, to the label.
With the money, Del Rey relocated to a trailer park in North Bergen, New Jersey and started writing and recording with producer David Kahne.
She graduated Fordham in 2008 and that October, under the name Lizzy Grant, released a three-track EP titled Kill Kill, which she had made with Kahne. It was around this time thatshe settled on her stage name, inspired by actress Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey sedan, although with the alternative spelling Lana Del Ray.
Her self-titled debut album was released in January 2010, but was withdrawn three months later when Del Rey bought back the distribution rights from 5 Points and left the label. She was helped to leave the label by her managers Ben Mawson and Ed Millett, and soon moved to London, England, to live with Mawson.
2011-2013: Born to Die and breakthrough
Del Rey uploaded two music videos that she had directed and edited herself to YouTube in 2011 – the songs "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans". "Video Games" soon became a viral sensation and caught the attention of Stranger Records, who signed her and released the song as her debut single that October. The same month, Del Rey won the Q Award for "Next Big Thing", and the song went on to win an Ivor Novello for "Best Contemporary Song" in 2012. October 2011 also saw Del Rey sign a joint deal with Interscope Records and Polydor.
Her major-label debut album, Born to Die, was released in January 2012 and reached number one in 11 countries. It was the fifth best-selling album of 2012 globally, and is one of only three albums released by a female artist to have spent more than 300 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, as well as the second longest charting album on the chart for a female artist. The album launched six singles, including the song "Summertime Sadness", which became a sleeper hit when Cedric Gervais' remix of the tune peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2013, becoming Del Rey's first top ten single. The remix also won the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical in 2014.
In September 2012, she released a music video for her cover of the song "Blue Velvet", which was released as a promotional single for the H&M 2012 autumn campaign, for which she also modelled. That month she also released "Ride" – the first single from her upcoming EP, Paradise. Paradise was released in November, both as a stand-alone release and as a part of Born to Die: The Paradise Edition – a special edition combined release of Born to Die and Paradise. The album debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200, marking her second top 10 album in the US, and was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
2013 saw Del Rey release several music videos, including two cover songs: Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel#2", and Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra's "Summer Wine" (a duet with her then-boyfriend, Barrie-James O'Neil), followed by the original song, "Young and Beautiful", which was recorded for the soundtrack of the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The song peaked at 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
In December 2013, Del Rey released Tropico, a musical short film accompanied by tracks from Paradise that was written by and stars Del Rey, and was directed by Anthony Mandler.
2014-2015: Ultraviolence, Honeymoon and film projects
Del Rey covered the song "Once Upon a Dream" for the 2014 dark fantasy film Maleficent, and it was released in January that year.
Her second major-label album, Ultraviolence, was released in June 2014 and debuted at number one in 12 countries, including the United States and United Kingdom. The album launched five singles: "West Coast", "Shades of Cool", "Ultraviolence", "Brooklyn Baby" and "Black Beauty".
"Big Eyes" and "I Can Fly", two new Del Rey songs, were featured in Tim Burton's 2014 biographical film Big Eyes.
In January 2015, Del Rey received a BRIT Award nomination for International Female Solo Artist, her second nomination in the category and third overall.
Her Endless Summer tour, featuring Grimes and Courtney Love as support acts, took place in the summer of 2015. That August, she featured on the track "Prisoner" from The Weeknd's Beauty Behind the Madness.
Honeymoon, her third major-label album, was released in September 2015 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. The album was well-received critically and by year's end, appeared on several 2015 best albums lists, as well as being named the second-best pop album of the year by Rolling Stone.
That November, she executive produced a short film Hi, How Are You Daniel Johnston, documenting the life of singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, and won the Trailblazer Award at the Billboard Women in Music ceremony, and the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Alternative.
2016-2017: Lust for Life and collaborations
In December 2016, Del Rey provided backing vocals on "Party Monster" and lead vocals on "Stargirl Interlude" from The Weeknd's album Starboy. She also co-wrote "Party Monster", which was released as a single and subsequently reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, going double-platinum in the US.
She released "Love", the lead single from her fourth major-label album, Lust for Life, in February 2017, followed by the title track, which features The Weeknd, in April. The album itself was released in June, and also featured collaborations with ASAP Rocky, Stevie Nicks, Sean Lennon, and Playboi Carti. Lust for Life became Del Rey's third number-one album in the United Kingdom, and second number-one album in the United States, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Pop Vocal Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
2018 – present: Norman F***ing Rockwell!
Del Rey appeared as a guest vocalist on several tracks by other musicians in early-2018, including on "Living with Myself" by Jonathan Wilson for Rare Birds, and on the songs "God Save Our Young Blood" and "Blue Madonna" by Børns for Blue Madonna. That August, she was also featured on Cat Power's song "Woman" from her album Wanderer, which was released in October.
Her fifth major-label album, Norman F***ing Rockwell!, was released in August 2019, preceeded by the singles "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch", which were released in September 2018, and followed by "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It", "Doin' Time", and "The Greatest" in 2019. The album was met with universal critical acclaim and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and number one on the UK Albums Chart.
"Don't Call Me Angel", a collaboration with Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande that serves as the lead single off the soundtrack for Charlie's Angels (2019), was released in September 2019.