Who is Lana Del Rey? Context and Interpretation of a Woman Most Known For the SNL Fiasco.

Before we begin, you have to understand why searches for Lana Del Rey has surged to an extent.

Lana Del Rey performing Born To Die live on Saturday Night Live, Jan. 14th . It’s a little painful to watch to be truthful.

So it’s awkward to watch, a little hard to listen to at several points, and if this is the kind of performance an artist gives to the national audience (despite only releasing less than five songs at the time)…the results and feedback ain’t pretty. Hell it got so bad that the mild-mannered anchor for NBC Nightly News, Brain Williams got in on the act, writing  a personal email to Gawker’s Nick Denton saying Lana Del Rey “had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night.” Man she got a thrashing, which brings up the point, why on Earth did some musical online upstart get such publicity so early in her career? Sure she had widespread love from blogs (her songs are the rage on hypemachine), but why is the self proclaimed “gangster Nancy Sinatra” so deserving of such a lofty…umm…national exposure?

From Tricia Romano’s article “Lana Del Rey’s Hipster Problem”, she comments that:

“Part of the reason Del Rey inspires so much ire is that her persona is somewhat made up. Three minutes of Internet browsing will tell you a few things: She had once been a struggling singer-songwriter named Lizzy Grant. Her self-produced videos as Grant—a pastiche of nostalgic Americana imagery—were remarkably similar to that of “Video Games.” She is from Lake Placid, in upstate New York, where her father was in the domain-name business. It is not clear whether she was a trust-fund baby or she really lived in a trailer park, which is what she later told Complex magazine.

But, most controversially, she looked quite different as Lizzy Grant. She used to wear her hair short and bleached it blonde. She did not wear ball gowns. Her lips were considerably thinner. (She has denied getting lip injections.) She did not look like the gangsta Nancy Sinatra—which is how she describes herself. She looked more Mary Ann than Ginger.

But then her new music, now produced by Emile Haynie of Kid Cudi fame, stole a dash of Mazzy Star’s heroin slumber, fused it with so-called sad core soul, and paired it with mournful, poignant lyrics about a lovelorn girl. And her vocals were being sung several octaves lower. The result: Lizzy Grant had turned herself from sweet and airy to sultry and dark.

Or someone had turned her into that.”

There’s a paradox that arises from this situation. Why is there a difference between Lizzy Grant and Lana Del Rey? The Internet discovered this difference and some have condemned Lana for this, but it has also helped her out in that there’s a whole sense of intrigue and mystery to it. Perhaps that’s the curiosity that gets people to just youtube her and then find out that she’s a pretty damn good singer (at least in production). We’ll see how it shakes out now that Lana has entered the “mainstream” consciousness. Will she make the crossover? Or will the SNL experience be the definite image of her? Either way, I’m excited to see how it shakes out in her music.

3 responses to “Who is Lana Del Rey? Context and Interpretation of a Woman Most Known For the SNL Fiasco.

  • dylanv

    We had a timeshare in Lake Placid when I was a kid, we went there every summer. There’s no trailer parks anywhere near there to my knowledge.

  • eline

    You have to know very little about music in order to claim that “her vocals were being sung several octaves lower…” Do you know how much one octave is?

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