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File: Lana Del Rey
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (born June 21, 1986), better known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, is an American singer-songwriter.
She has been described as a "self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra", and cites Britney Spears, Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain amongst her musical influences. Del Rey possesses a contralto vocal range.
Del Rey's major-label debut album, Born to Die, debuted at number one in seven countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, and at number two in six countries, including the United States. It has sold 900,000 copies worldwide since its release. The album has spawned two worldwide top 10 hits: "Video Games" and "Born to Die".
Grant was born in New York City and grew up in Lake Placid, New York. When she was 15, she attended Kent School, a boarding school in Connecticut. She is the daughter of domain investor Rob Grant, who supported her in her early career as a singer. Del Rey attended Fordham University in New York City. Lana said in a Vogue interview, "I wanted a name I could shape the music towards I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba - Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue."
Del Rey first released a three-track EP titled Kill Kill in October 2008 under the name Lizzy Grant, featuring the tracks "Kill Kill", "Yayo" and "Gramma (Blue Ribbon Sparkler Trailer Heaven)".
Later in June 2011, Del Rey was signed with Stranger Records, to release her debut single "Video Games"; in October 2011, she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and Polydor. While being interviewed by Rosie Swash of The Observer, Del Rey revealed, "I just put that song online a few months ago because it was my favorite. To be honest, it wasn't going to be the single but people have really responded to it. I get very sad when I play that song. I still cry sometimes when I sing it." On October 24th 2011, it was announced that Del Rey had won the Q award for "Next Big Thing". Del Rey's song "Video Games" was featured for the first time on The CW's TV-Series Ringer on September 27 2011, during a pivotal scene, propelling Del Rey into the mainstream. Del Rey also promoted the album in a number of live appearances, including for MTV Push, and at the Bowery Ballroom, where, according to Eliot Glazer of New York, "the polarizing indie hipstress brought her 'gangsta Nancy Sinatra' swagu." Rolling Stone commented that, despite Del Rey being nervous and anxious while performing her songs live, she "sang with considerable confidence", although they noted that "her transitions ...could be rather jarring." Del Rey also performed "Video Games" on Dutch television program De Wereld Draait Door, on British music television show Later... with Jools Holland, and on an intimate show at Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, California. Del Rey also gave several interviews for newspapers and online magazines such as The Quietus, The Observer, and Pitchfork Media, while creating her own music videos for several tracks such as "Blue Jeans" and "Diet Mountain Dew".
It was later reported that the singer would release her debut album under the labels in January 2012. During an interview with French TV show Taratata, Del Rey revealed that the album would be named Born to Die. Born to Die was released on January 27, 2012 in Ireland, January 30, 2012, in the UK, and on January 31, 2012 worldwide.
Del Rey performed two songs on Saturday Night Live on January 14, 2012 to a warm reception from the audience, but mixed reviews from critics and the general public. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called Del Rey's performance "one of the worst outings in SNL history". Del Rey's performance was defended by the evening's program guest host, actor Daniel Radcliffe, despite not having seen her perfomance. He said in part: "It was unfortunate that people seemed to turn on her so quickly I don't think warranted anywhere near that reaction." Del Rey had earlier defended her spot on the program, saying: "I'm a good musician I have been singing for a long time, and I think that Lorne Michaels knows that it's not a fluke decision." On February 4, 2012, Kristen Wiig appeared on Weekend Update—a sketch on Saturday Night Live—parodying Del Rey, alongside Seth Meyers.
The second single and title track "Born to Die" was released on December 30, 2011. The music video for it leaked on December 14, 2011, and was based on a concept created by the singer, while being directed by Yoann Lemoine. In January 2012, Del Rey revealed that she recently bought back the rights to her 2010 album Lana Del Ray A.K.A. Lizzy Grant and will re-release it in the Summer of 2012 under Interscope Records and Polydor. On January 4, 2012, it was reported she had signed a deal with NEXT Model Management agency.
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