Lily Allen

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About Lily Allen

Lily Allen was born in 1985 into London showbiz royalty—her dad, Keith, is a veteran actor—but her family connections by no means guaranteed her stardom. Sure, by the time she was 20, Allen had already landed a deal with major UK imprint Regal Recordings (Coldplay, Gorillaz), but but wanting to take the speed of her ascent into her own hands, she turned to the only outlet available to enterprising artists at the time: MySpace. After Allen posted demos to the nascent site and became one of pop’s first social-media sensations, Regal put the full weight of their promotional machine behind her. The arrival of Allen’s 2006 debut, Alright, Still, couldn’t have been better timed. Her reggae-infused rhythms and rap-schooled swagger provided a sun-kissed antidote to the aloof garage-rock lads filling up the pages of the NME, while her acid tongue—whether nonchalantly describing an old lady getting mugged on “LDN” or reveling in an ex’s misfortune on “Smile”—introduced a new level of candor and rancor to British pop. As Allen explains to Apple Music, “Because I don’t play instruments live, I’ve always felt like the singing and writing is my part of the band. And if that’s your bit, then why would you not do it properly?” Allen’s combination of eloquence and attitude has made her a natural foil for hip-hop artists, as she’s supplied the deceptively sweet hooks to T-Pain’s 2011 hit “5 O’Clock” and Stormzy’s 2017 single “Cigarettes & Cush.” And while struggles with fame, addiction, and relationships have limited her output to roughly two albums per decade, each one has been a Top 10 event, with 2018’s post-divorce/post-sobriety salvo No Shame reaffirming Allen’s reputation as one of UK pop’s savviest synthesists and fearlessly blunt lyricists.

Hammersmith, London, England
May 2, 1985
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