Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (born June 21, 1985), known professionally as Lana Del Rey, is an American actress, singer-songwriter, poet, model. The music has been noted for its stylized and cinematic aesthetic, its preoccupation with themes of tragic romance, glamour, and melancholia, and its references to pop culture, particularly 1950s and 1960s Americana.
Raised in northern New York state, Del Rey embarked on a music career in 2005 after moving to New York City. Del Rey has contributed to a variety of film soundtracks, most notably "Young and Beautiful" forThe Great Gatsby (2013) and the eponymous theme for Big Eyes (2014), which garnered her a Grammy and Golden Globe nomination, respectively. Del Rey wrote and starred in the musical film Tropico (2013) and in short films to accompany her work including Ride (2012), National Anthem (2012), and Freak (2015). Her official YouTube channel has accumulated over 3.1 billion views as of November 9, 2018, with 12 of her videos surpassing 100 million views on Vevo.
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was born in New York City on June 21, 1985, to Robert England Grant, Jr., a Grey Group copywriter turned entrepreneur, and Patricia Ann "Pat" (Hill), a former Grey account executive turned high school teacher. She has one younger sister, Caroline Grant, and one brother, Charlie. Her paternal grandfather, Robert England Grant, Sr. was a Kidder, Peabody & Co. investment banker, a vice president for Plough, Inc and Textron, and venture capitalist. She is of Scottish descent.
Del Rey grew up in rural Lake Placid, New York, and was raised Roman Catholic. She attended a Catholic elementary school and for one year, a high school where her mother taught. She began singing in her church choir when she was a child, where she was the cantor. At age fifteen, she was sent to Kent School by her parents to deal with her rampant alcohol abuse; her uncle, an admissions officer at the school, secured her financial aid to attend.
Before becoming a singer, Del Rey wanted to be a poet. As a child, her father wrote country songs for personal enjoyment, while her mother was interested in singing; the former introduced her to The Beach Boys, while the latter was a fan of Carly Simon.
The following fall, she enrolled at Fordham University where she majored in philosophy, with an emphasis on metaphysics. Del Rey said she chose to study the subject because it "bridged the gap between God and science... I was interested in God and how technology could bring us closer to finding out where we came from and why". According to Del Rey, she had trouble making friends in boarding school and college, and said, "that was when my musical experience began. I kind of found people for myself". She lived in The Bronx and later moved to New Jersey while in college, and volunteered at homeless youth and drug and alcohol outreach programs, as well as helping paint and rebuild houses on an Indian reservation in the western United States.
2005–2007: Career beginnings and Sirens
After returning to New York at 18 years old, 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 and the Phenomena", shortly becoming "Sparkle Jump Rope Queen", and eventually becoming Lizzy Grant. She graduated from Fordham College with a BA in philosophy. Halfway through college, Del Rey received a $10,000 record contract, with the money she rented a $400 a month trailer in New Jersey and began her music career.
2007–2010: Lana Del Ray era
After recording a demo EP in 2007 titled No Kung Fu, Del Rey began work on her first studio album. She sent the EP to various producers with the intent on finding someone to work with her, and after listening to her tracks, David Kahne agreed to collaborate with her. 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. Del Rey had recorded the album previously with her then-boyfriend Steven Mertens, but his contributions were ultimately scrapped. The album was released by 5 Points Records on January 5, 2010, to iTunes and Amazon. Shortly after this, it was removed from all services and Del Rey bought the rights to the album back from her label after deciding to proceed with a different musical aim. The record was removed from all circulation, but a re-recording of the song "Yayo" appeared later on Paradise.
2010–2012: Born to Die era
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 with Interscope Records and Polydor Records and began preparing Born to Die for release in early 2012.
Despite the mixed reception of the album, it performed well commercially, especially in European territories. The record was the 3rd best selling of the year in the United Kingdom. As of June 2014, the record has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, it is recognized Del Rey's most impactful work.
2012–2013: Paradise era
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", "In the Land of Gods and Monsters" and the other track titled "I Sing the Body Electric", which was performed at BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend that month. 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".
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 premiere, Del Rey announced the title of her second full length major label album Ultraviolence. The short film received mixed reviews.
2014–2015: Ultraviolence era
Del Rey had been working on her Born to Die follow up album since its release, 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 November, 2014, rumours circulated about Del Rey's involvement with Tim Burton's Big Eyes, culminating in the revelation that she had recorded two songs for the film, a titular track, "Big Eyes" and another called "I Can Fly" written with Dan Heath and Rick Nowels respectively, the latter song of which earned Del Rey a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Original Song". During early 2015, Del Rey was featured in Emile Haynie's album We Fall, co-writing and providing vocals for "Wait for Life".
On December 1, 2014, a concert tour supporting the album was announced as the Endless Summer Tour with multiple dates across North America select dates on the tour were supported by one of Del Rey's inspirations, Courtney Love, while others were supported by Grimes. The tour began on May 7, 2015, and concluded on June 16, 2015.
2015–2016: Honeymoon era
The successor to Ultraviolence was first mentioned in a radio interview in June, 2014, by Del Rey who explained she had a concept for an album titled Music to Watch Boys To that she was developing. In October of the same year, she expressed interest in working with Giorgio Moroder, an influencial disco producer. In an interview with Grazia magazine in December, 2014, she announced she had already written 10 tracks for the album, was working with Mark Ronson and expected the album to be out after her Endless Summer Tour in late August, 2015.
On July 14, 2015, Del Rey uploaded the audio of the song "Honeymoon", the title track from the record, on her personal YouTube account. The video shows Del Rey relaxing in the hills of California for approximately 30 seconds, then transitioning into to the lyrics of the song. Despite it's early release, "Honeymoon" was not available for purchase on iTunes until September 9, 2015, when it was released as the second promotional single from the record.
On August 20, 2015, Del Rey announced the track listing of Honeymoon via social media. The album went up for pre-order the next day, and it included "High by the Beach" and the first promotional single, "Terrence Loves You".
The last single from the record was called "Music to Watch Boys To". On June 4, 2015, model Jake Mast tweeted that the music video for the song he had filmed with Del Rey earlier in the year was for the track and would be released in June, however, by the end of the month, no song or video had been released and they were instead released in September. On September 1, 2015, Del Rey posted a photo depicting the behind-the-scenes of the music video for the track on Instagram. A snippet of the song was featured alongside excerpts from "Terrence Loves You", "Freak" and "High by the Beach" in an album sampler released September 8, 2015. On September 9, 2015, Del Rey posted the official artwork of "Music to Watch Boys To" on social media sites along with an announcement that the track would premier later that day on Beats 1 Radio. On September 11, 2015, the single's official audio was uploaded to Del Rey's Vevo channel, and the song was also on iTunes. On September 30, 2015, the official music video for the song was uploaded to Del Rey's Vevo channel.
Honeymoon was officially released worldwide on September 18, 2015. The record was written and produced solely by Del Rey with long-time collaborators Rick Nowels and Kieron Menzies, and it was met with positive critical reception. Although the the record was not heavily promoted, it debuted at number two in the United States and United Kingdom as well as reached the top 10 of almost every country it charted in.
On February 9, 2016, Del Rey hosted a premiere for the music video of her song "Freak". It was located at The Wiltern, in Los Angeles, California. The video debuted via Del Rey's Vevo channel on the same date.
Starting in December 2015, Del Rey began announcing festival performance dates across Europe, Canada, the United States, and Mexico to further promote Honeymoon, despite there being no official concert tour to support the album.
2017–2018: Lust for Life era
In October 2015, Del Rey announced that she planned writing material for her new record.She stated that she wanted the upcoming record to have a "pop-friendly" and "New York style" sound, and to be a little harder, faster, more upbeat, and less dreamy. In January 2016, Del Rey was nominated with the "Favorite Female Artist" award at the People's Choice Awards, and she also received a BRIT Award nomination for International Female Solo Artist, her third nomination in the category and fourth BRIT Award nomination overall. Del Rey began recording her fourth major-label studio album, Lust for Life, just six months after releasing her third. During November 2016, The Weeknd released his album Starboy, which featured two songs that had contributions from Del Rey. She was credited as a featured artist on "Stargirl Interlude", as well as co-wrote and provided background vocals for "Party Monster".
On March 29, 2017, Del Rey announced the that the official title of the album was Lust for Life by releasing an album trailer on her official VEVO channel. About the album, Del Rey stated "I made my first 4 albums for me, but this one is for my fans and about where I hope we are all headed."
2018–2020: Norman Fucking Rockwell era
On September 12th and 18th of 2018, Del Rey released the singles "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch" to precede her upcoming sixth studio album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, slated for a 2019 release. In December 4, 2018. Del Rey to join Jodie Whittaker's Pop Out Get as a sister. In March 2, 2019. Del Rey join 2021 James Bond spinoff movie Blood Stone to play villain bond girl Nicole Hunter. directed by David Leitch.
Del Rey currently lives in the Los Angeles area of California, United States. Del Rey was in a relationship with photographer Francesco Carrozzini from June 2014 to November 2015, but due to disagreements on settling down together, the two broke up. She was also in a relationship with Barrie James O'Neill from 2011 to June 2014, but they ultimately decided to end their romance (because they had a "dark" relationship, Del Rey claimed). She previously had a relationship with Steven Mertens who produced her first record Lana Del Ray prior to David Kahne's involvement, as well as an alleged relationship with a music industry executive. During July 2017, Del Rey stated that she had a boyfriend, but his name was never revealed. Although, it is speculated to have been rapper G-Eazy.
In 2010, Del Rey acted in a short film called Poolside, which she made with several friends on a reported budget of $400.
On January 4, 2012, it was reported she had signed a deal with Next Model Management agency. H&Mconfirmed that Del Rey would be modeling and recording a cover version of the popular 1950s prom anthem "Blue Velvet" for their 2012 Autumn Campaign. H&M's 2012 Winter campaign, featuring Lana Del Rey, was released on October 12. This is the second H&M campaign Lana Del Rey is featured in.
In May 2012, British fashion house Mulberry released the "Del Rey" bag, inspired by its namesake's signature style. On August 22, 2012, executives announced that Del Rey would endorse their new Jaguar F-Type which was unveiled by Del Rey at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012. Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director, explained their choice, saying Del Rey had "a unique blend of authenticity and modernity".
The song "Burning Desire", which was initially available for immediate digital download upon pre-ordering Del Rey's third EP, Paradise, was later made available for purchase on Amazon.com and 7digital as a stand-alone download on March 19, 2013, one month after its music video hit YouTube. The song serves as the title track to a 13-minute promotional short film for the Jaguar F-Type, called Desire. The film, directed by Adam Smith, was produced by Ridley Scott and stars Damian Lewis.
In 2014, James Franco announced his plans to release Flip-Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations with Lana Del Rey, which was slated for release in February 2015, but left unreleased for unknown reasons.
In 2015, Del Rey donated funds to help produce Hi, How Are You Daniel Johnston?, a short documentary on singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston. Upon attending the film's premiere with Johnston and director Gabe Sunday, she said: "The one thing I hoped is that he [Johnston] understood that while he's home alone doing his art still – he says he writes every day – that he knows that he really did make a difference in people's lives. He made a difference in mine."
In an interview for L'Officiel's first American edition in early 2018, when asked about Del Rey's interest in making a movie she responded that she had been approached to write a Broadway musical and had recently begun work on it. When asked how long it would be until completion of the work, Del Rey coyly replied, "I may finish in two or three years."
On November 3, 2018, Del Rey was announced to be the face for Gucci's Guilty Fragrances, alongside Jared Leto. The duo are expected to star in a print-and-television campaign, slated to debut in January 2019.