[pullquote quote="What people have to say about me--the really amazing things and the really terrible things--none of them are true. "]“You’re so nice. Why is everyone so mean to you?,” posed Kevin and Bean to the flaxen-haired Lana Del Rey who donned “lots of extensions”–which they complimented.
“It’s not everyone. It’s not everyone,” repeated the “polarizing” singer in a rare radio interview this morning.
Decked out in cool, urban New York chic, Del Rey evoked the “gangster” side of her “gangster Nancy Sinatra,” a label which has followed her since the internet explosion of “Video Games” in 2011.
In fact, the sultry-voiced Del Rey’s career has been nothing but appropriated labels since she became one of the biggest indie memes of a generation.
Her name change from Lizzy Grant has garnered criticism, despite multitudes of other stars like Lady Gaga doing the same. Her face and body have been snarked upon for what seems like radical changes, but in person seems as minor as a change in hair color. Her initial fame floated tenuously on a cloud of Internet approval–making her the prime target for anonymous cyber attacks.
Which, as Kevin and Bean mentioned, is probably one of the first blatant examples of such in the music sphere. Throughout all this, Del Rey has kept herself shrouded in an aura of mystery, an innate gift that actually points to her strength in the face of criticism and not her perceived fragility.
[pullquote quote="The internet right now is creating their own person for themselves to play with. "]But, maybe it’s that exact elusive nature mixed with an eloquent self-confidence that makes Del Rey so hated and, yet, so loved by fellow “artists” at the same time.
While the “Video Games” singer told Kevin and Bean she’s not a “polarizing” personality, her contradictory nature, and her embracing of such as “normal,” is what makes her art so special.
“Mine is an unusual situation because I’m not naturally a polarizing or controversial person,” Del Rey elucidated. “And what I sing about is actually pretty balanced, pretty normal. What people have to say about me–the really amazing things and the really terrible things–none of them are true. I have nothing to do with what people say.”
So when Del Rey replies in what could be perceived as a snobbish way, that Kevin and Bean “probably can’t imagine” what she has gone through, she’s right: No one artist has immediately been torn apart piece by piece while subsequently rising to success as fast as Lana Del Rey. And all through the medium of the internet.
[pullquote quote="I have nothing to do with what people say."]“The internet right now is creating their own person for themselves to play with. And that’s their prerogative. But, for me, I’ve been an artist for a long time; I’ve been a writer since I was seven…I can’t do much else.”
Del Rey’s album, Born To Die, which came out at the end of January, has sold about 900,000 copies and the star has spent her last months “focusing on a trilogy of videos,” touring Europe, and finishing the record “quickly” with her composers and “production team.”
“I wrote every word on my album,” Del Rey asserts. “There isn’t nothing that I didn’t write.”
None of which fit any specific musical format on American radio. Del Rey claimed that she “never had too much luck with radio,” but that in Europe they play songs that wouldn’t seem radio ready–like the longest track on her album–”all day, every day.”
[pullquote quote="I wrote every word on my album...There is nothing that I didn't write."]“Europe is completely different than America,” said the singer. “You can have a whole different life there–which I do around the world. I mean, when I go to Paris and Milan and when I’m in London, you know, I live a really different life.”
Which, according to Del Rey, is how Lorne Michaels from Saturday Night Live first heard her–from her fame overseas.
Despite having a number one track in “eleven countries” and being involved in music since a young age, Del Rey was perceived as the delicate new girl on the block.
In fact, she told Kevin and Bean that she is completely ready for success, live performances, and that she likes her highly-criticized Saturday Night Live performance. Del Rey has no regrets.
[pullquote quote="I personally liked my performance. I like what I do. I like how I sing. I'm just a little bit freaky."]“For me, it’s not like it’s something somebody pushed me into and I’m not ready for whatever,” elaborated Del Rey. “I personally liked my performance. I like what I do. I like how I sing. I’m just a little bit freaky…I learned in my, what seems like a very long life, I make really good decisions. I made a good decision to say yes to that show because I was ready and I don’t usually regret anything I do. I liked my performance.”
[pullquote quote="If you don't like how I sing onstage, it's just not your thing. "]“I’ve never really had it easy in that regard in terms of people just letting things fly. So this is nothing new to me,”said Del Rey, earlier saying, “If you don’t like how I sing onstage, it’s just not your thing.”
But there are people who truly love Del Rey, to the point of tearful obsession. Del Rey said she “thinks” it’s her authenticity that resonates with her fans.
[pullquote quote="I never compromise with anything that I do in my life--not lyrically, not in reality."]“I think maybe what people who like me like about me is the fact that I really believe in myself and what I do and I never compromise with anything that I do in my life–not lyrically, not in reality,” explained Del Rey.
“I think the people who sort of feel like they know me, know me from my lyrics, and I think that they feel what I write about is what really went down and how I really feel about it,” the singer continued. “I never say anything just to rhyme over sugary pop songs. I really care about documenting my life in a musical fashion. So, I think, people that like me are actually artists.”
An “artist” that can easily create the identity of their “make-believe” idols in their head? Whether intentionally or not, Del Rey seemed to be pointing at the concept of “art for art’s sake” rather than as a definitive representation of reality, a reality that people can comfortably understand.
[pullquote quote="And I really have done everything that I said I did do. I think the kids know that. The rest is just a story that somebody else made up. "]Within the acknowledged artifice of the entertainment world, there is an intrinsic reality to Del Rey’s art. Even if it makes people feel uncomfortable.
“By the very definition of authentic, it means you are real,” said Del Rey. “And I really have done everything that I said I did do. I think the kids know that. The rest is just a story that somebody else made up.”
Buy Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die on iTunes.