At the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore, Lana Del Rey, dressed in a simple yellow dress and red Vans shoes, welcomed me with open arms as I entered the room. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter shook my hands with a sweet smile. “Hey, how are you again?” she asked. She remembered me as I first met her when she played a show in Sydney three months ago. “Have you been busy? I hope you have been coping well.” smiled Del Rey as she sat down on the vacant couch. I really admire how down-to-earth she is despite being so successful. She made me feel calm and at ease, like a longtime friend of hers during the entire interview where she revealed that music is not her first passion and that the interview questions posed were 'interesting'! (Thanks to our Twitter followers). Check out the full interview below!
How did you get the name Lana Del Rey?
LDR: When I was younger I felt like I wasn’t the person I was supposed to become yet. I had a vision for myself that was as beautiful as I wanted the music to be. I generally don’t deny my creative impulses so that was just one of those creative impulses that I had.
What can we expect after the release of Born To Die: The Paradise Edition, will you still be releasing another album?
LDR: The only thing I have really been working on is helping two directors score two different movies. It’s not too in-depth, just writing songs for two different films. Actually I have to call Universal to ask if I’m supposed to reveal the movies. One of the movies is coming out in June next year. What I really like to do is start writing music for films, it’s a really natural place for me. Most of the people I work with are already composers so it’s a good fit. That’s really the only ambition that I have.
You posed nude in British GQ magazine recently, what makes you do that?
LDR: I just like how beautiful naked women are. I love seeing girls’ skin in pictures. I have all the old Playboy magazines from the 60s and 70s. I love the look of girls with red lips and shiny skin. I am a big fan of the female form. So for me, it wasn’t uncomfortable.
Why did you decide for your latest music video Ride to be so lengthy like a 10 full minutes?
LDR: I really love movies as much as I love music. When I made my first record, I felt like I have to tell my stories through words and now I wanna wrap it up by telling my stories through pictures.
How were your teenage years like?
LDR: They were interesting. I stopped drinking 10 years ago just because I felt like a person who like trying new things and feel different. You do things so fast, you end up having so many different lifestyles all in one short time. Aside from that, I always felt like I have been around for a long time. My mother said that when I was seven, I used to think that I was an adult. When I was at all the parties, I talk to people like they were my friends.
Did you expect Born To Die to have so much success?
LDR: When I made that record, I brought it to a lot of different record labels and they weren’t interested in it because it was sort of weird. It wasn’t party music, my music was more down beat. People who got involved in it kind of got involved with it as a passion project. My photographer was my sister and my little brother was helping me. I was making my own movie stills from videos I took from YouTube. I have been doing that for a long time so I felt like if it was gonna work, it would have worked a long time ago. So no, I didn’t expect the success at all.
How do you feel when you feel like you got the attention of people?
LDR: I think the attention came with such a negative spin on the other side. It never really felt like it was something I could sit back and enjoy. I felt more like I have to guard the songs and protect them to make sure their future was protected. I really believed in the record, the music and the producers who have worked on it. I felt like I have no idea what is going to happen now.
How did you find this lush sound?
LDR: I found this young guy named Justin Parker and he always brought me different chords that he really likes. Originally when I started, I was just recording songs in my room and sending it to people to put music to. But then I found Justin, he started bringing me chords for Video Games and I started free styling. Eventually, I started free styling on all my songs like Video Games, Born To Die and Ride were all done on the spot in one take. But other songs like Summertime Sadness and Blue Jeans, I worked slowly with different composers.
What was it like working with ASAP Rocky on the National Anthem video?
LDR: I love him! When I told him I wanted him to play JFK in the video, he was totally down for it. ASAP Rocky and Azealia Banks are the only people I relate to these days.
What was the quirkiest item you received from a fan?
LDR: A crucifix necklace that is also a help whistle. I wore it for one of my videos although it was weird.
Do you have any special name for your fans?
LDR: No because all the other girls have such good names for their fans. I don’t have any names for them but they do run the show. They know they are in charge. (laughs)
How do you cope with fame?
LDR: I really hope I still feel inspired to write the way I used to a few years ago. When I first found writing, it was really new. I felt like I was doing something no one has ever done before. In California, I take a lot of walks and I drive on my own. No one ever said anything to me and I have my brother and sister with me there. When I leave America, it gets a little crazier. To be honest, when I’m talking to people with interesting questions like this interview, that is really good. And then the rest of it, I’m not sure about…
Some of your videos are controversial, what’s your take on controversy?
LDR: That’s a really good question! I think I wanted respect more than I wanted anything else. I considered myself a writer because writing is my passion. I hope I would have respect from journalists. I don’t welcome controversy as much as I welcome more creative collaboration with amazing people. When I wrote the record, it seemed more like I was trying to capture a moment in time. But with Ride was a little different, that would seem really fucking weird to people. The rest of it I don’t think it is that controversial.
Who is Lana Del Rey beyond music and all these attention from the public? Who are you really?
LDR: Although I love music, it is not my first passion. When I decided to stop drinking 10 years ago, my passion was working with homeless outreach, drugs and alcohol rehabilitation. I lived in New York for 10 years so that’s my job for real. I would say music doesn’t really feel like my true calling.
What are your all time three favourite movies?
LDR: Don’t Look Back by D.A. Pennebaker that covers Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour in the UK. It’s fucking crazy! I love American Beauty and The Godfather part one and two.
You wrote a song called Ghetto Baby for Cheryl Cole, how did that come about?
LDR: We have the same boss at Polydor and they thought Cheryl would like the song so they played it to her. She loved it and decided to record it.
Many people tried to define your music, what will you personally call it?
LDR: I would say it is film-made, really visual and reflective.
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