Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

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About Lana Del Rey

Though she’s got the name and look of a ’60s-era Hollywood star, Lana Del Rey could only have emerged in the internet era. At a time when social media was giving people the power to curate their identities and present idealized versions of themselves online, the struggling singer-songwriter once known as Lizzy Grant (born in New York in 1985) reinvented herself as Lana Del Rey for her epochal 2011 single “Video Games.” The wistful orchestral ballad (and an accompanying Super 8-style video that heralded the ubiquity of soft-focus Instagram filters) introduced an artist who delighted in breaking hearts and the internet alike, knowingly using coquettish sex-kitten cliches as a means to probe male behavior and, by extension, the American id itself. Not only did the song prove it was possible to cultivate genuine mystique in the age of oversharing, but it also carved out a space for languid, Twin Peaks-worthy arty pop amid a Top 40 normally reserved for jacked-up pop anthems. Since then, Lana has always kept listeners guessing. Informed equally by classic-rock mythology and modern hip-hop attitude, she can casually name-drop Lou Reed in a dream-pop serenade (2014’s “Brooklyn Baby”) as effortlessly as she communes with R&B futurist The Weeknd (2017’s “Lust for Life”). More than a mere retro stylist, Lana embraces nostalgic all-American imagery only to corrupt it through subversive—sometimes profane—anti-love songs while elevating pop-cultural detritus into high art: On 2019’s Norman F*****g Rockwell!—an epic masterwork that scales the heights of Elton John’s early-'70s classics—she makes room for a cover of Sublime’s ’90s stoner-funk anthem “Doin’ Time.” In the 2020s, she’s remained effortlessly provocative at every gripping turn—with the sweeping, self-referential yearning of 2021’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club and Blue Banisters and the sprawling, unfiltered intimacy of 2023’s Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd, in which she dubbed her candid, stream-of-conscious process “meditative automatic singing.” As she continues to build the mythology of Lana Del Rey, she seems to be slowly, gradually blurring the line between her art and her Self.

United States of America
June 21, 1985
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