Lana Del Rey, that beautiful little songbird that everyone loves to hate, is on the cover of Complex magazine! This girl is getting big, huh? I guess all it takes is giving the most awkward SNL performance of all time to shoot you right into superstardom. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lana’s music, I think she’s wonderful and I am beyond excited to hear her full album, which will be released at the end of the month, by the way. But she seems a little off in this interview.
Here are some excerpts from the piece in Complex:
A glimpse of a Lana concert: The microphone worked, but the band’s sound failed. So she stood and waited.
“Where’s the music?” an impatient fan blurted out.
“It’s coming, bitch,” Lana snapped in a playfully bratty way. “F*cking technical difficulties up here.”
Lana on her shows: “My real fans know I’m not a showstopper on stage,” she’ll explain later. “I don’t have f*cking circus lights. I just don’t care. My fans are there because they want to hear the record live. Everyone else is just there to see what happens.”
More on her concert: “Shut up, shut up,” she said when the crowd’s applause seemed to last too long, as if unwilling to let the cheers wash over her.
“Lana, I love you,” screamed a fan, pronouncing her name wrong. “It’s Lon-ah,” she corrected, sounding like a girl telling a guy to slow down on the first date. “You keep telling me you love me and you don’t even know me.”
After the show, while she was greeting Interscope execs and staff, Lana was asked whether her “Aw shucks” persona was tongue in cheek. Did she really feel like the performance wasn’t worthy of all the love she got? “If I was dope I wouldn’t have said, ‘Shut up,’” she answered flatly.
She doesn’t read reviews: “I’m pretty much switched off from it,” Lana says between puffs of a cigarette. “What other people have been saying doesn’t have anything to do with me because I never gave any long interviews to anyone. Ever. Everything is basically fiction. If you don’t know me,” she adds offhandedly, “you don’t know anything.”
She wasn’t always going to be a singer: “It wasn’t sing or die,” she says. “I was also passionate about my community. I felt like I could have gone in several different directions.”
One of those possible directions might have led to a career in social work. While living in NYC, Lana says she worked with people who are “f*cked up in the head” helping them get their lives together, get jobs, and “transition into being normal, functional members of society.”
Her interest in people’s mental health was no coincidence. “I think it was because the way my head was when I was younger,” she explains. “I was dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil. So I understood what it’s like to be at war with yourself.”
She’s authentic: “If you consider the definition of authenticity,” Lana says, “it’s saying something and actually doing it. I write my own songs. I made my own videos. I pick my producers. Nothing goes out without my permission. It’s all authentic. Why would it be a different thing?” she asks, sounding genuinely confused. “I never changed my sound. I never stopped writing about what was actually going on in my life. There’s nothing to hide.”
On hope: “You get to a point where you run out of everything. You’ve gone through everyone. You have no money, you’ve done everything you could do. The last thing you can do is start over.” Suddenly Lana apologizes for being a downer. “Sorry, this is really f*cking depressing.”
On her favorite rappers: “Eminem is sick and unbeatable. 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Biggie Smalls—the way he talked stuff out was inspiring to me. It made me feel like music could be autobiographical and more of an art form than just rhyming over sugary chords.”
On her past: “I went through different experiences when I was younger,” she says. “I know how to go from being a non-functioning member of society to a functioning one.” These days she seems totally normal, but eight years ago—not so much. “I was crazy,” she says. “I won’t go into it. It’s not helpful to know.” Lana’s laughing now, but they’re nervous chuckles. “I was just reckless,” she adds. “But that was a long time ago. Being human is difficult. Some people make it more difficult than others. I was one of those people.”
On her goals: “I have a personal ambition to live my life honestly and honor the true love that I’ve had and also the people I’ve had around me. I want to stay hopeful, even though I get scared about why we’re even alive at all.”
On happiness: “It’s a happy ending,” Lana assures. “It was a happy ending a long time ago. It was a happy ending when I found peace with myself. This is the good life. What a gift.”
Wow. It’s pretty clear that this girl has been through some stuff, isn’t it? It seems like all of her anxiety, the anxiety that was so obvious in her SNL performances and the anxiety that causes her to tell fans to stop clapping for her, comes from, in her words, being f*cked up in the head.
Should we make a care package for her now?