Lana del Rey is on the bubble after her spotty performance on “Saturday Night Live,” but seemed to redeem herself on David Letterman last night (Feb. 2). She recaptured the haunting melodic sound of “Video Games” that was missing on SNL.
Del Rey, 25, real name Elizabeth Grant, followed in the footsteps of Justin Bieber. She became an Internet phenomenon before she came to the attention of the music industry. That may be a strike against her.
Industry types and music critics don’t want to look like they can’t spot talent. And del Rey escaped their attention until she was pulling down 25 million views for her YouTube video. Her fans clamored for an album.
It was also probably a blessing and a curse that she has drop-dead supermodel looks and a very rich daddy. Rob Grant was a real estate broker before he invested early in Internet domain names. He now owns more than 8,000.
Elizabeth was born in New York City, grew up in tony Lake Placid, NY and attended exclusive Kent School, a private boarding school in Connecticut. She dropped out of Fordham to pursue a music career, thanks to underwriting from daddy.
She released an album on her own under the name Lizzie Grant, and finally last October, Interscope Records and Polydor scooped her up. She started working on a new album Born to Die, and SNL was supposed to be her big coming out party.
She was the musical guest in mid-January. The hype was so high she was the first artist to perform on “SNL” before releasing a major label album since Australian indie rocker Natalie Imbruglia in 1998.
But the music establishment seemed to be betting against her. Del Rey’s performance was called everything from pitchy to guttural. She was listless and flat on both “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans,” her two top songs.
That she fell flat on the show probably has less to do with her talent and more to do with her lack of professional singing experience. The show was her television debut and she definitely lacked polish.
Her album was released on iTunes Jan. 27 and as a CD on Jan. 31. Again, the music establishment trashed it. Rolling Stone gave it only two stars out of five.
But out of the gate, it sold 100,000 copies in the UK, guaranteeing it a No. 1 debut. It topped iTunes in 11 different countries, and within an hour of its US release, it was No. 1 on the charts.
On Letterman, the pressure was clearly lower, and Del Rey seemed more like herself. Check out the performance below and let us know what you think.