Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was born on June 21st, 1985. After surrounding herself by musical influences such as Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, and a personal favourite, Nancy Sinatra, Lana Del Rey was born.
Calling her music “self-styled gansta Nancy Sinatra”, Elizabeth Grant began her musical debut under the stage name Lizzy Grant, but later changed it to Lana Del Rey when she released her first smash hit Video Games on her YouTube channel.
So what is it about Lana Del Rey that has us all so captivated? For me it begins and ends with her lyrics. There’s something so dark and fundamentally sad about what she’s saying, that I can’t help but get lost in her words. Plus bonus! Most of her music comes from personal experience. I can’t help but love that Lana is able to share such personal and sad moments from her life. I’m going to look at the 3 big events that have shaped Lana’s music, transforming her into my favourite artist out there!
1. Journey As a Bad Girl
When Lana was 15, she was sent away to deal with her alcohol abuse and partying. This entire chapter of her life can be seen in her songs Driving In Cars With Boys and This Is What Makes Us Girls. Lana has stated that her music focuses on the main loves in her life, and alcohol was her first real love, first real heart break, and first real problem.
Go out every night whenever I feel sad. Oh, this drive by love got me crazy like a drug
I spent my whole life wasted in bars with boys. Playing rock’n’roll dancing in the loud noise
That’s where the beginning of the end begun
Everybody knew that we had too much fun
We were skippin’ school and drinkin’ on the job
We got into trouble and when stuff got bad
I got sent away, I was waving on the train platform
Crying ’cause I know I’m never comin’ back
2. Heart Break, Death, and Depression
Lana’s music is so emotional because she is an emotional woman. She’s dealt with love on the open road (like in Ride), she’s battled the idea of killing herself and having someone she loves help her (like in Dark Paradise) and, like many, she’s had her heart broken (like in Born To Die).
Your soul is haunting me
And telling me
That everything is fine
But I wish I was dead
I was in the winter of my life, and the men I met along the road were my only summer.
At night I fell asleep with visions of myself, dancing and laughing and crying with them.
Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour, and my memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times.
Born To Die:
Oh my heart it breaks every step that I take
But I’m hoping at the gates,
They’ll tell me that you’re mine Walking through the city streets
Is it by mistake or design?
I feel so alone on the Friday nights
3. Obsession with freedom
This is something that has been weighing on my mind lately, I just want to be free to experience life without constrictions of work, parents, and everything in between. Lana feels me on this particular point, especially with her song Ride. The entire thing is a letter to living fast and free; it’s probably easier to explain if you just watch the video: