It doesn’t happen for most artists like it did for Lana Del Rey. One day she was presenting her self-made songs at British record labels, and the next, her name was booked for Saturday Night Live.
A very organic approach to her early self-made hits like “Born To Die” made them instant underground hits. Del Rey worked with only a composer to produce the music she wrote and even put together her own music videos which she released on YouTube. It was like a word-of-mouth secret that was passed so far that eventually everyone had heard about it. Then she got signed to Interscope. And on January 14th, she’ll play on SNL, an experience most young musicians only dream of.
Del Rey’s sound is much like the vocals of Sia or Christina Perri, hounding in a lower register, not showing any strain in order to produce great music but also letting emotions fuel their content overwhelmingly. This woman isn’t like the others in her field, though. She may have borrowed here and there, but her style is completely her own (though her Winehouse eyes may mislead). It seems that her old-fashioned edge sets her apart from others in her field and already her unique voice will be easy for pop music fans to pick out from the rest. This is an asset that will ensure her longevity in the field, which is make-it-or-break-it all too often.
Although she is full of life and great potential, some are weary about this young woman’s quick rise to fame. Critics see her as a product of the big machine that is the music industry, claiming that she “sold herself” to the contracts that made her name known. But often, a record contract is the only way of achieving some sort of name in such a selective system such as the one she’s involved with. Although she submitted herself to the money-making business, Del Rey should be applauded for having worked so hard on her own for so long. After all, how many musicians even get credit for producing their own videos or songs?
When they forget about the politics, people will jive with Lana Del Rey’s sound as it reaches mainstream airwaves for two reasons: her talent is incredibly obvious and her sound is futuristic in the best way. She can surely belt if she needs to, but instead she keeps it mellow as the best way of contributing to her style. Plus she’s just weird enough – with her personal narration and taste for pop culture imagery in her videos – to intrigue the public without throwing them off. She is a pioneer of her own form, mastering the antique sort of 50s or 60s femininity but infusing new mixes with class. In songs like “Blue Jeans” and “Video Games“, Del Rey shows off the best of her abilities in the artfully mastered crafts by her own hands. Even the fonts on her website are exciting and trendy.
Mixes like the ones on Lana Del Rey’s personal YouTube channel are sure to generate some serious steam as they are featured on her debut album, due out January 27th. “Off To The Races” has already been featured in many outlets of American media. So if the SNL promotion doesn’t do it, the success of Born To Die will depend on the 25-year-old’s convincing charm, which will hopefully jive with British and American pop music fanatics. Let it be known: 2012 will be this girl’s year.
It’s kind of like a Cinderella story that unfolded before America’s eyes. Plus, it’s like it happened in the blink of an eye. Let’s hope Lana Del Rey’s new-found fame isn’t short-lived, because she’s a promising, dazzling diamond in the rough.