By Krystal Sidzyik, Senior Staff Writer
Her name is Elizabeth Grant, better known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, and she’s the latest American singer-songwriter taking the music scene by storm. Her debut album, “Born to Die,” is set to release today.
Del Rey was born in New York, but now she spends most of her time in London. The 25-year-old singer has been working to become a successful musician since 2008. Del Rey released a studio album under the name Lizzy Grant in 2010, but after a brief period of time the album was withdrawn from iTunes for unknown reasons. After Del Rey released her debut single “Video Games” last October under her current stage name, she was signed with Interscope Records. Del Rey currently has an EP available for download on iTunes that includes four songs: “Video Games,” “Born to Die,” “Blue Jeans” and “Off to the Races.”
Del Rey’s sound is unlike anything the American music scene has heard in recent years. On her official Facebook page, she describes her sound as Hollywood pop mixed with sadcore, a subgenre of music characterized by gloomy lyrics and slower tempos and melodies. It describes Del Rey’s sound perfectly. Del Rey is sultry and sinister. Her deep alto voice is refreshing and hypnotizing, but is it enough?
Del Rey has been widely criticized for her recent live performances on Saturday Night Live (SNL), where she sang “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans.” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called Del Rey’s performance “one of the worst outings in SNL history.” Actress and musician Juliette Lewis also chimed in on Del Rey’s performance through a tweet, “Wow, watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12-year-old in their bedroom when they’re pretending to sing and perform.” Lewis eventually deleted the tweet and called Del Rey “delicious” and “yummy” instead.
Her stage presence was weak and at times she seemed disconnected, but in her defense she told MTV in an interview before her SNL performance that live performance isn’t really her thing and not to expect too much from her show. Del Rey also has her share of defenders of her performance, including the SNL host that night, “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe.
“It was unfortunate that people seemed to turn on her so quickly,” Radcliffe said in an interview with MTV. “I also think people are making it about things other than the performance. If you read what people are saying about her online, it’s all about her past and her family and stuff that’s nobody else’s business. I don’t think [the performance] warranted anywhere near that reaction.”
Del Rey has yet to respond to the critics, but she told MTV she would like to put the performance behind her and focus on the release of her debut album. She is currently planning a U.S. tour, to begin in late October, which should give her plenty of time to rehearse and develop her stage presence. Del Rey is also scheduled to perform at the annual music festival SXSW in Austin, Texas. The festival runs March 13 to 18.