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Lana Del Rey (born June 21, 1985) is the stage and performing name of American indie-pop singer and songwriter Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, from New York City, New York, U.S.
Grant’s first musical excursions were singing in her local church where she was the cantor on the girls choir, before being taught how to play the guitar by here uncle at age 18. During her undergraduate study of metaphysics at Fordham University, Grant would play various clubs and bars around New York City, before performing at the 2006 Williamsburg Live Songwriting Competition. At the competition she met A&R representative Van Wilson of 5 Points Records who ended up signing Grant while she was still a senior at university. Grant released a three-track EP entitled “Kill Kill” in 2008 however her planned album was shelved by the label and the singer focused her efforts on homeless outreach and supporting those in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
2010 brought the alter-ego Lana Del Rey and her debut album, alternatively spelled “Lana Del Ray”. The album was released in January 2010 although was soon pulled from the shelves by the singer who didn’t believe the label were doing enough to publicise it.
After making a name for herself via various uploads to her YouTube channel, Grant was discovered and signed by Stranger Records through which she released her debut single “Video Games”. In support of her second album “Born to Die” Grant made high-profile appearances at the Bowery Ballroom and the Chateau Marmount, and on the TV shows Later… with Jools Holland, and Saturday Night Live. “Born to Die” released in January 2012 sold 3.4 million copies in that year making it the fifth-best-selling album and even held on to No. 76 on the Billboard 200 after 36 weeks in the chart.
Following the release the singer won a number of awards including an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Alternative Act and a 2013 Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist. In 2012 Grant released the mini-album “Paradise” of which the singles comprised the soundtrack for her 2013 short film entitled “Tropico” directed by Anthony Mandler.
Grant’s follow-up album arrived in 2014 entitled “Ultraviolence” named after Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange. The album was produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and featured the singles “West Coast”, “Shades of Cool” and “Ultraviolence”. The album was seen as much darker and stripped back than its predecessor, though has nevertheless garnered quite the same popular appeal; debuting at No. 1 in twelve countries and selling over 880,000 copies in its first week.