It's a shame she is getting all these criticism for her SNL performances. They definitely were not her best. I think her performances show the lack of experiences Lana has. In no way am I trying to defending her poor performances, but her instant rise to fame is rather unsettling and I can imagine how unnerving it could be going from small performances to one of the biggest platforms on television.
Lana is capable of so much more and it is evident in her smaller gigs and on her tour. I wish people could hear the voice Lana truly has by watching her performance at the Chateau Marmont. She can control her voice, but she needs to build consistency and control it better. She tends to be rather spontaneous by changing her key and lyrics.
Her nerves may or may not have gotten the best of her. Whatever it is, Lana will definitely grow and improve with time. She has the talent, she just needs to hone it in.
How Lana Del Rey changed the rules of pop culture's fame game
Lana Del Rey has been through the whole cycle of huge acclaim and a vitriolic backlash – all before her first album has come out
You can still find traces of Lizzy Grant online. There is a video, dated 8 June 2009, that shows a young, casually dressed blonde woman in a green T-shirt and jeans singing alone on stage at a New York music show called The Variety Box. Grant's voice was strong, but she seemed shy and spoke quietly to the audience to a smattering of applause.
Grant looked like any one of hundreds of young artists trying to make it in the clubs and bars of New York, singing their hearts out in the hope that one day they will be spotted. After all, that's how big names from Bob Dylan to Lady Gaga got their breaks. But success never happened to Lizzy Grant. Her one and only album sank virtually without trace.
However, fame did happen to someone called Lana Del Rey, a 25-year-old sultry, seductive songstress who is the current hottest name in US music and whose debut album is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the industry this year. It comes out on 31 January.
Del Rey's image is nothing like Grant's. The video for her new song, provocatively called Born To Die, is slick and lavishly produced. The short film begins with her posing half-naked with a tattooed, shirtless man in front of the stars and stripes, then shows her sitting on a throne in a figure-hugging white dress flanked by two tigers. By the end of the video, she is covered in blood, wearing only a red bra. It is over-the-top and wildly eccentric.
But that suits Del Rey's sound. Her soaring vocals and melodies, reflecting genres as diverse as hip hop and indie music, have won millions of fans. And Del Rey has quite a story to tell. After first appearing on the internet last year with an apparently home-produced video of a song called Video Games, she became a cult hit. She married her music to a mysterious image, self-styled as a "gangster Nancy Sinatra", that paid homage to 1960s fashions and seedy showbiz glamour. In an interview recently shot poolside at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, Del Rey explained her attraction to the notorious celebrity haunt. "It's a place that has inspired so many of my videos and influenced a lot of my visuals," she said through a mouth now framed by pouting, bee-stung lips.
Of course, Lana Del Rey and Lizzy Grant are the same person.
That revelation has made Grant/Del Rey one of the most controversial figures to emerge in US music for years. Some people feel victims of an immense confidence trick. When Video Games first went viral it became an underground sensation praised for its authentic feel. Del Rey's amazing voice crooned the haunting song against a backdrop of grainy out-takes of home movies and Hollywood scenes. It currently has a staggering 20 million views on YouTube. The follow-up, Blue Jeans, with a similar feel, netted 6 million views. Del Rey's few live gigs suddenly sold out. She won the Next Big Thing prize at the Q awards. She seemed set for the big time. But then questions were asked. A few critics began to wonder if, far from being some organic wunderkind, the transformation from Grant to Del Rey had been planned all along. Her stage name was chosen by her management. Rather than being an outsider struggling for recognition, Del Rey is in fact the daughter of a millionaire father who has backed her career. People were suspicious of the way Grant's failed album, and all her social media websites, appeared to have been scrubbed from the internet just before Del Rey appeared. There has been much speculation as to exactly when Del Rey teamed up with her current label Interscope and how much influence their savvy marketers might have put into her original emergence.
"There are a lot of things that don't seem organic about it," said Steven Horowitz, who wrote a cover story about Del Rey for Billboard magazine . "She's putting on a show. She's here to entertain us."
Suddenly, many of the fans that had boosted Del Rey turned on her in spectacular fashion. Music blogs poured vitriol on her talents. Some influential music websites, such as Hipster Runoff, have turned insulting Del Rey into an art form. Celebrities have got in on the act. Last weekend Del Rey appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. She gave a hesitant, uncertain performance – suddenly more Lizzy Grant than Del Rey – that triggered brutal criticism.
Celebrities even got in on the act. Actress and musician Juliette Lewis tweeted: "Watching this 'singer' on SNL is like watching a 12-year-old in their bedroom when they're pretending to sing and perform." Even news anchor Brian Williams weighed in sending an email that was later published on gossip website Gawker that called Del Rey's performance one of the "worst outings in SNL history".
But it is not just Del Rey's music and SNL performance that is being hauled over the coals. It is also her appearance.
Pictures of Lizzy Grant when contrasted to Del Rey have led many to speculate that she has had collagen injections in her lips and perhaps even plastic surgery. It is a charge she vehemently denied in a recent interview. "I haven't had anything done at all… I'm quite pouty. That's just how I look when I sing," she insisted.
Del Rey has many defenders too. "She is just a gorgeous creature," said Noah Levy, senior news editor at In Touch Weekly magazine. Horowitz said that whatever the truth of her emergence there is little doubt about her talent or commitment. "I think she cares about the art that she is creating. I don't think that is fake at all," he said.
Despite the outrage directed at her, Del Rey is employing one of the oldest tricks in the book: the creation of a stage persona. Some of the greatest names have done it. David Bowie and Madonna are notorious shape-shifters. So is Lady Gaga. Changing from Lizzy Grant to Lana Del Rey is not unusual when you consider that Bob Dylan's real name was Robert Zimmerman and Iggy Pop was born James Osterberg. "I think Lana Del Rey is manufactured. But when Lizzy Grant came out with music it failed. So she reinvented herself and it worked," said Levy.
In fact, Lana Del Rey's rise says much about the nature of modern fame in the US. The internet has allowed figures like her to come rapidly to the fore of the cultural landscape, whether or not their emergence is planned by a record executive or happens spontaneously from someone's bedroom. It has speeded up the fame cycle. It is worth noting that the huge backlash to Del Rey is happening before her first album has even been released. This reveals a cultural obsession with the "authenticity" that fans, artists and corporations all prize above all else.
Cultural critics say genuine authenticity is almost impossible to achieve. "The whole idea of authenticity is elusive. It is in many ways a complete illusion," said Professor Robert Thompson, a pop culture expert at Syracuse University. Others have simpler explanations for the stir Del Rey has caused, seeing misogyny against a female artist so willing to use sexuality as a way of selling her music. "There is a "mean girls" attitude to some of it," said Horowitz.
Either way it does not seem likely that Del Rey will be leaving the music scene any time soon. Sales of her new album are set to be astronomical. It has crept into Amazon's top 25 in the US on pre-sales alone. She is booked for appearances on major talk shows. "Lana Del Rey can go anywhere that she wants to," said Levy. "She's going to one day be the cover of Rolling Stone." Lizzy Grant may have failed to make it. But her next creation seems ready for stardom. POP CHAMELEONS
Creators of successful stage personas: LADY GAGA
Stefani Germanotta was born in New York and grew up on the Upper West Side, going to a private all- girls school. But, in creating a post-modern diva of dance and pop music, there seems not too much of Stefani left (on stage anyway). IGGY POP This icon of punk music was born James Newell Osterberg in Muskegon, Michigan. His got his nickname from playing in a band called the Iguanas and made it his own. His outrageous stage antics were apparently inspired by seeing the Doors. DAVID BOWIE
Few modern performers have played with stage personas more effectively than David Bowie (real name David Robert Jones). His influential creations such as Ziggy Stardustand the Thin White Duke were classic inventions of pop culture. MADONNA
Madonna Louise Ciccone arrived in New York from her home state of Michigan in search of stardom and – like David Bowie – became adept at evolving her stage image, achieving considerable success. She cycled through virginal pop princess to sex dominatrix to dance music icon.
Laugh and the world laughs with you
Weep and you weep alone
^ So, basically, she changed nothing, people just realized she was a total fake a lot quicker than they normally do.
And complete lol at the writer actually comparing the lana del rey persona to iggy pop or david bowie. She fits right in with madonna and lady gaga though: the complete triumph of style over any sort of substance.
It will be interesting to how the album actually sells when it drops soon. I don't think Interscope will get the payout they're expecting. I imagine she'll debut near the top of the chart based on the pushing they've done, but quite quickly, Born to Die will slide down the charts. The sales will probably equate to the equivalent of respectable figures for a new indie artist (oh, the irony), but not the major sales of a pop star they're so clearly gunning for.
Fake? Ok... so she is faking her voice... someone is secretly singing for her? Or someone else is writing her lyrics is that it?
What someone does to their appearance does not make them a fake in terms of talent or humanism. It's not so black and white, I truly believe that.
I personally got sick of all the 'THIS IS ME! JANE DOE! LOVE ME IN MY NATURALISM AND SIMPLICITY! LOVE ME! I AM ME! JUST ME SOME JEANS AND A GUITAR!'
I miss Jim Morrison and his wild philosophy and stage presence, MR Mojo Risin...
I miss Ziggy Stardust....
This isnt a matter of me putting her up with them as the same artist or with the same calibre, but I find nothing wrong with stars being stars. They're not regulars we meet on the trains; they should have a mystery, an illusion to them. They should embrace alter egos and alternate names so we can all dabble in some fantasy. Have more than the norm on our screen and in our imaginations. An artist like Lana Del Rey gives me room to embrace her creation more personally; she can be anyone I need her to be to feel deeply from her music. Lizzie Grant would be Lizzie Grant... too shy, too unstirring. I want someone strange and flawed and edgy, someone that causes debate and walks an edge whether they realize or not. Kudos to Lana, for at least she is making us all think think think about so much just because of how she presents herself! And not even 'herself', her musical pseudonym. And I dig her style! The way she moves! She's so much fun to watch!
Maybe comparing Lana to Iggy or Bowie is a stretch but roy don't you at least agree that if there was internet back in the 60's and 70's there would be hundreds of blogs accusing them of selling out and being fake? I'm sure of it.
I love her music, I love her style, can't wait for the album!
..And in these situations I always remember this line from ''All About My Mother'' by Almodovar: ''Well, as I was saying, it costs a lot to be authentic. And one can't be stingy with these things because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you've dreamed of being. ''