Because you’ve gotta love Lana, here’s a tonne of trivia about the star, from her Kurt Cobain fascination to her apparent love for former Liverpool player Luis Suarez…
Lana – real name Lizzy Grant – moved to New York City at the age of 18 to study Metaphysics at Fordham University. Metaphysics for the uninitiated is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being. You know, existentialism and shit. All that deep stuff.
It was while at Fordham University that she says her “musical experience began.”
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was born in Lake Placid, in upstate New York. She moved back to New York City aged 18 after three years at a boarding school in Connecticut.
Del Rey has she was sent to Connecticut partially to deal with her alcohol addiction. “Thinking about not drinking forever was very scary,” she said later, “but once I did it wasn’t hard anymore because I had all of these miracles happen that let me know I was on exactly the right path.”
Although dry for 11 years, she says a lack of respect from some quarters sometimes makes her want to get sloshed again. “When I feel like people don’t like [my] music and that the 10 years I spent making what I made was not for a good reason, that makes me want to drink again,” she said recently.
Before she became LRD, Elizabeth Grant made an album called ‘Sirens’ under the name May Jailer.
When Lizzy Grant made the name change for the first time she named herself Lana Del Ray with an ‘a’, like Man Ray. ‘Ray’ became ‘Rey’ fairly quickly following the release of her first album, much to the annoyance of her first record company.
The unreleased demos from 2006’s ‘Sirens’ were leaked onto YouTube in the summer of 2012. Seek it out to trace the evolution of a superstar if you want, and admire the lack of production qualities.
The singer told Vogue the name came when she was frequently visiting Spanish speaking Cuban friends in Miami. “Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside.,” she said. “It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.”
Lizzy Grant assumed a number of names before deciding on Lana Del Rey, and the best amongst them (aside from her stage name of course) is quite probably Sparkle Jump Rope Queen.
Sparkle Jump Rope Queen uploaded a song called ‘Elvis’ to her MySpace profile back in 2008, and that’s where it lies dormant in the virtual Pompei of the internet, alongside ‘Blue Ribbon’ and ‘Axl Rose Husband’.
Lana was rumoured to be dating Axl Rose in 2012. She gamely turned up at a low key show at the Jazz Cafe in London in a Guns ‘n’ Roses t-shirt when speculation was at its most rife.
Ms Grant is of Scottish descent, as is Axl Rose (which probably gave them something to talk about when they were or weren’t dating).
‘Video Games’ not only became a viral sensation when it was uploaded to YouTube, it also garnered an Ivor Novello award for best single that year.
Video Games has now been viewed nearly 60 million times.
Chuck Grant, Lana Del Rey’s sister, makes a cameo appearance in ‘Ride’; that’s right, the scary one with all the Hell’s Angels. Lana’s kid sister is a photographer who graduated from Parsons School of Design, and she’s responsible for a fair few promo pics of her famous older sibling.
‘Born To Die’ – technically Lana Del Rey’s second studio album – topped the charts in 11 countries, including the UK, Australia, France and Germany. It topped the chart in 18 countries on the iTunes store charts.
‘Born To Die’ sold its one millionth copy in the US in March 2014.
The video for the title track was directed by Yoann Lemoine, and was the first pop video the French ever allowed to be filmed at the Fontainebleau; “the only royal and imperial château to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries.”
‘Ride’ was the first single released from her ‘Born to Die: Paradise Edition’ – it has an extended monologue at the beginning: “I was in the winter of my life and the men I met along the road were my only summer…” Gloriously dramatic as ever.
Rob Grant – Del Rey’s father – is an internet entrepreneur and millionaire. He made his cash from canny investment in domain names.
Following success came unprecedented trolling. Some fans claimed they’d been led to believe Lana Del Rey was an organic wunderkind who’d made the home-made movie for ‘Video Games’ herself, and they now felt she was less than authentic.
Lana Del Rey made the home-made movie for ‘Video Games’ herself on her MacBook.
Her friend and sometime mentor Princess Superstar had this to say: “I’ve never understood this controversy about whether she’s real or fake. All artists have a persona. She’s not put together by some company. These are her songs, her melodies, her singing – she’s always had this Sixties aesthetic.”
Del Rey’s first label 5 Points Records refute any suggestion the singer was bankrolled. “That whole thing that she was backed by her millionaire dad is a bunch of crap, basically,” label boss David Nichtern told MTV. “Her father never had anything to do financially with supporting her creativity.”
She describes her look as ‘Gangster Nancy Sinatra’. Or does she? It turns out Del Rey’s manager was responsible. “As soon as it flew out of his mouth, it fucking stuck like glue,” she said. “I spend eight fucking years writing gorgeous songs and someone in a meeting says ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ and that’s that. It’s brutal.”
Lana quotes the fictional Humbert Humbert – the main protagonist in Nabokov’s Lolita – in the song ‘Off to the Races’, lifting the line ‘light of my life, fire of my loins’.
Lolita is something of a motif in her work, not least of all inspiring the song, er, ‘Lolita’.
Her literary influences are vast, with her first major inspiration coming from the beat poet Allen Ginsberg when she stumbled upon the poem ‘Howl’ aged 15.
Fans of Anthony Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ will recognise the title Ultraviolence immediately.
Lana signed up with the major modelling agency Next Model Management in January 2012, becoming part of the “talent wing” of the company alongside Jane Birkin, Alexa Chung, Kelis and Ellie Goulding.
Lana Del Rey, if you weren’t aware, is the most recent Queen of Sadcore. The neologism was first coined for Cat Power in 2006, but Del Rey stepped up to the breach when ‘Video Games’ dominated the blogosphere six years later.
She’s since been labelled Hollywood Sadcore, a genre that pretty much includes Lana Del Rey and nobody else.
The tracklisting for ‘Ultraviolence’ was recently sent out to press, and within minutes eyebrows were being raised in the Twittersphere at a song called “Fucked My Way To The Top”.
West Coast has been remixed by a number of artists already, including Four Tet and Camo & Krooked.
Tattooed on Del Rey’s left hand are the words “paradise” and the initial “M”, for grandmother Madeleine. And ‘trust no one’ on the other hand.
To date (these figures are from March), she had 387 million views on her official YouTube account and over one million subscribers.
According to Next Big Sound, her SoundCloud account has received 22.6 million plays (again, figures from March). Right now she has 4,814,531 followers.
Her main musical inspiration – as unlikely as it might sound – was Kurt Cobain. She says watching ‘Heart Shaped Box’ in MTV aged 11 stopped her in her tracks: “I thought he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Even at a young age, I really related to his sadness.”
Lana Del Rey has been asked to perform by Kanye West at his wedding to Kim Kardashian – or at least that’s what the Hollywood gossip mags are reporting. Say it’s so!
Lana is a Liverpool FC fan. “I love watching Luis Suárez play,” she has said.
Last year Lana contributed to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby soundtrack (inspired by the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald), and ‘Young and Beautiful’ did a cool million in downloads.