When Lana Del Rey first hit our radar last year we were obsessed. Her anthemic music, 60s movie star style and pouty lips made her an instant internet star. But in the click of a mouse and tap of an iPhone her authenticity was scrutinised and promptly dismissed. In the few short months after her debut single, Video Games hit YouTube, she ran the gamut of public response, from adored to reviled.
It emerged that Del Rey started life as Lizzy Grant and at 23 was doing the rounds on the New York music scene searching for her big break. Sadly it wasn't to be, but two years later Twitter went crazy for the now perfectly coiffed girl with bee stung lips. Suddenly Lana Del Rey was the Next Big Thing and her haunting love song Video Games catapulted her onto magazine covers across the globe.
But when news of her 'dirty' past surfaced – namely the fact that she hadn't entered the world looking like Nancy Sinatra – the internet went crazy. Fans were outraged that a record label could have had a hand at moulding their new idol. Then it emerged that Guy Chambers, famous for co-writing Robbie Williams' hits, was involved with writing her album. Del Rey had tricked people! Surely only Britney Spears and boy bands were prettied-up and styled by agents and managers.
I think you'd have to be a fool to think Lana Del Rey had just strolled onto the scene untouched and untainted by A&R and the people who pull the money strings. Unfortunately, the songstress didn't do herself any favours. Shoddy live performances on Saturday Night Live led to more doubts about her credibility as a 'real' artist. But it's also worth remembering that the most iconic of stars were tweaked on their ascent.
Take the transformation of brunette Norma Jean who morphed into the beloved bombshell we know as Marilyn Monroe – just because she didn't start out as the curvaceous, polished blonde we recognise today, it doesn't make her any less adored. Like it or not, everyone in the music business – and it is a business after all - is targeted to a particular crowd, and that's the way it has always been.
The question is, does it really matter? Del Rey might not be all she appears but her songs are dreamy, captivating paeans to an age of America that is disappearing. So, for every Tweeter who is outraged by her misrepresentation there's another ten people who will buy the song.
After all, if the music is good, who cares if it comes out of collagen-filled lips?
By Kira Agass
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