A Closer Look at Lana Del Ray

Written by: Nicholas Sarysz

Lana Del Rey is an American singer, songwriter and record producer, whose real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. Del Rey rose to fame in 2011 with her debut single “Video Games” and, shortly after, the album “Born to Die.” She is most well known for her melancholic style of pop music.

The artist was born into an upper-middle-class family in upstate New York in the 1980s. Growing up singing in church, Del Rey was later sent to a boarding school as a teenager for her deviant behavior. It wasn’t until a couple of years after she finished school that she started her music career.

Del Rey has received both critical acclaim and criticism throughout her career. Many dislike her because of her image and persona — which they view as inauthentic or manufactured. Others take issue with her lyrics and the themes she often explores, such as Hollywood glamor, sadness and drug use.

Del Rey’s  biggest criticism early  in her career came from many questioning her authenticity. Despite being labeled as an indie artist, her 2008 debut EP, released under the name “Lizzy Grant,” was produced by well-known figure David Kane. When she later changed her stage name to Lana Del Rey and moved to London after a failed album in 2010, the internet quickly flooded with claims of her new persona being fabricated by label executives.

Despite the criticism, Lana Del Rey has grown to become an incredibly successful and influential artist. Her music has been praised for its haunting beauty, melancholic lyrics and vintage aesthetic. Her albums have topped the charts in multiple countries and sold millions of records worldwide. She has won several awards and has gone multi-platinum with many of her albums — solidifying her place in the music industry. 

Whether or not Lana Del Rey’s image and persona are authentic is irrelevant. What matters is the impact she has had on the music industry and the emotions her music evokes in her listeners. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Lana Del Rey is a unique and impactful artist.

Contact the author at howlstaffwriter@wou.edu