Lana Del Rey spoke to ELLE Canada last month about her upcoming album ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’, her poetry book and her campaign work with Gucci.
Lana said she hopes to have her poetry book finished in around six months time. However, she is unsure when she will release her album as she is taking a much more relaxed approach to her music.
Lana added that she feels releasing her favourite songs whenever she wants is more fun and less worrisome, but she does plan to have more singles out before the album is released.
Lana Del Rey has an impressive following within the ASMR community. Thanks to the singer’s signature breathy speaking voice, her recorded interviews have been spliced together to make ASMR compilations that are admittedly difficult to turn off. So should you ever find yourself on the phone with her, prepare to enter a state of total, uninterrupted Zen.
“I was going to create my own fragrance just for fun,” says Del Rey in her characteristically captivating tone when we reach her in L.A. “Literally the next week, Gucci asked me to be the face of theirs, so I took it as a sign.” The new iteration of Gucci Guilty, called Pour Femme, is more complex than the original while still maintaining the sense of playfulness the Italian brand is known for. (Jared Leto fronts the male version of the scent, Pour Homme.) “It reminds me of something I’d have worn in high school,” she tells us—and means it as a compliment, explaining that it’s the type of fragrance that makes its wearer feel adventurous, thanks to a bold blend of citrus, pink pepper, lilac and patchouli.
Below, thirty-three-year-old Del Rey discusses filming the campaign video, her upcoming album and living like a YouTuber.
What does Forever Guilty mean to you?
“When I was talking to everybody while we were filming the commercial, we were [saying] how fun it is to have a fragrance that makes you feel adventurous and bold. I also think it’s important to have something that makes you feel feminine. A spirit of adventure comes to mind.”
Is scent is a big part of your day?
“Scent is a big part of my day. Living in California, I love when I can tell that it’s spring and you can smell the flowers in the air. You can tell what season it is by what the flowers are doing. I kind of have a process when I write: If I’m writing at night, I take a bath, I put on my favourite lotion and my favourite perfume. I have a process for getting ready for the day too. You take a shower, wash your hair, put on your daytime perfume. For me it’s part of my routine. It symbolizes like, ‘Ok we’re getting the day started.'”
How did you first meet Alessandro [Michele, creative director of Gucci]?
“He got my phone number and we started talking on the phone a couple times a week. This was before the perfume. He was friends with a couple of people I knew and he was telling me that he really loved the music and that he played it while he was doing little renderings and drawings of new collections. I told my manager that I was so amazed to have someone like him, who’s endlessly putting out collections, listen to my music on repeat. I was just really honoured about that. Then we started talking about inspirations in general. It’s funny, we’re similar but we’re different. We both have a fantastical point of reference. But I do when I’m actually going out, he’s more day to day. He’s like ‘more is more’ and I’m like ‘less and less…until I become invisible.’ [Laughs] Then we started talking about him making me something for the Grammys and the Met Ball, and then we shot the video like last January. At this point we just kind of chat about whatever.”
What was the direction Alessandro gave you for the video?
“He story-boarded out the entire commercial. From 0 to 60 seconds. He had everything he wanted down to a T. So I knew what we were going to do. He told me his inspiration for the shoot was his strange idea of Hollywood, coming from Rome where he works. I just thought that was really cute because like, who doesn’t need a bit of Hollyweird in their life?”
What was it like working on set with Jared [Leto] and Courtney [Love]?
“Well I couldn’t believe Courtney was there. She called me like four days before to tell me she was going to be there and I just got such a kick out of that because I really love Courtney. I’d met Jared a couple times before but I didn’t really know what that was going to be like. I definitely grew up watching him on My So Called Life. I was excited. He was pretty quiet for most of it, until I freaked out because we had to slow dance. And then he came to life. He was funny. Alessandro wanted us to do a choreographed slow dance, and I don’t really ballroom dance. [Laughs] So [the final cut] is like an eighth grade sway.”
How is your resolution to live like a YouTube vlogger coming along? What inspired that resolution and what appeals to you about that lifestyle?
“Oh my god, my resolution is going so well. So much better than I thought. I was like partially kidding, but not really. Yeah, it’s actually going excellently. I’ve been working out every morning at 10am. That was one of my lame little resolutions. Seeing my girlfriends a lot more, cooking in an Instant Pot. Everything’s great, it’s going swimmingly. I’m a pretty cerebral person and I find I write better when I keep it simple. It takes a lot for me to keep my feet on the ground and left to my own devices, I would just be working out melodies or sitting at home, contemplating the reality of things. So I like to bring everything back down to earth, go to the gym, all that stuff.”
Tell us what we can expect from your upcoming album.
“Well the three songs I have out now, they’re my favourites. That’s why I put them out. I don’t have any big plans to like, have a mega record launch. It’s done, I just don’t know when I’m going to put it out. My process was really easy-going. I wasn’t actually planning on writing [an album]. I only had two songs written and then I met Jack [Antonoff] last December. We started sitting down and I’d sing him a couple bars and he would play a couple bars. Eventually we just started making song after song. It’s a really thoughtful album. It’s not too bombastic, sonically. It’s very easy-going and I have a couple more songs I’m gonna release before [the album is out]. It’s very pretty. I’m just happy it came out easily with no pressure. Jack is really good in that way. He’s the most easy-going producer I’ve ever met. I think sometimes it’s hard if you’re trying to go for a really big song because I just don’t really work that way. He was good at just leaning back and letting whatever came out of each session come out. It’s really important to work with somebody who says yes a lot and is open to more experimental sounds. I got lucky with him.”
How did the making of this album compare to the others? Was there any change to your creative process? How did working with Jack influence that process?
“It was my most chill recording process. Born To Die was like, an on-fire recording process. I was living in London and going to see a different producer in Brighton or Glasgow or Ireland every day. Just everywhere trying to put all my thoughts down. This time we were recording just a few miles from my house. So I felt really spoiled to be able to go grab my own coffee and spend a couple hours [in the studio]. I think for that reason I really like the tone of this record. But Ultraviolence, that was a pretty chill record-making process too. I usually try to make videos for my favourite songs. Like last year I put out a video for a song called “White Mustang,” which I’m pretty sure nobody heard. But I loved that song and video. I like to just put out my favourites and not worry too much about how far it’s going to travel. I think with this record I have the least like, plan, I’ve ever had. I definitely don’t feel like there’s a plan. Or that there needs to be, which is kind of fun. I feel like the music goes where it’s supposed to when it’s not shoved in any direction. I’m a little bit of a purist that way, much to the dismay of everybody I work with.”
What inspired you?
“Even though I record close to home, I write a little further away. I always go like 80 miles north or south of LA and just have my own thing going on there. I had a couple of towns in mind when I’m writing, a laid back vibe, some of my friends. A lot of the songs are just a day in the life. There’s a little bit of a nod to cultural things but not really in a big way. I think the melodies are some of my best, which is good because that’s something you can’t force.”
What can you tell us about the book of poetry you have coming out? What type of poetry is it? How did you come to the decision to put this out there?
“I wasn’t going to but I actually started writing without even planning on putting anything out. I’m always a little hesitant when people do crossover things. But I had a lot of time this summer where I was just sitting down and writing these longform, seven-page poems and I was a little bit surprised. I felt like they were coming from a different source of inspiration. I don’t know if it’s because it was so unstressful, those few months, but as I was looking at them in October, I was like, ‘These are really good’ so I decided I was either going to put them into a book or do a spoken word type thing. A two hour like, not an audiobook, but basically an audiobook. I think the people who like my music would really like the words. It’s interesting because you can tell it’s written by the same person. I wouldn’t say it’s better [than the songs] but there’s definitely more layers to it. I’m interested to see where it goes. I’ll have to figure out whether I want to do it in a big way or like a soft release.”
How is it different than writing a song?
“Usually when I’m writing music, it always feels the same. It’s always felt the same, since I was young. But when I was writing these poems, it kind of felt like it was coming from either a different place of wisdom or experience. Even the phrasing is really different. Like it’s more classic. I’m even trying to remember how I learned different stanzas and ways of phrasing things. I’m like, ‘Did I learn that in my 11th grade poetry class?’ And then I realized when I was younger I always wanted to put together a book of poems and I’d forgotten that I ever wanted to do that. I’m hoping that it happens in the next six months or so.”
Lana Del Rey was recently interviewed by Vanity Fair about the beauty-blogger phenomenon, her Gucci perfume campaign and what her biggest form of self-care is.
Here is a snippet from the interview:
Vanity Fair: The title of your new album brings to mind a certain classic vision of America. What was your headspace like for this record?
Lana Del Rey: It was weird how that actual title came to me. I was riffing over a couple of chords that Jack [Antonoff] was playing for the title track, which ended up being called “Norman Fucking Rockwell.” It was kind of an exclamation mark: so this is the American dream, right now. This is where we’re at—Norman fucking Rockwell. We’re going to go to Mars, and [Donald] Trump is president, all right. Me and Jack, we just joke around constantly about all the random headlines we might see that week, so it’s a slight cultural reference. But it’s not a cynical thing, really. To me, it’s hopeful, to see everything as a little bit funnier. The chaos of the culture is interesting, and I’m hopeful that there’s room for there to be some movement and excitement within it.
There’s a line in “Video Games” about “[putting] his favorite perfume on”—a reminder that scent is as much a public performance as a private gesture. Do you have a relationship to it?
I love fragrance. I was always hesitant about being a crossover person, like a singer-slash-whatever. But if I had had less reservations, I [might have created] my own fragrance before I became the face of one. I didn’t want to do it in a big way—just for my own fans to enjoy. But I really do like fragrance. Being in L.A., you can tell the change of seasons depending on what flowers you can smell in the air. And I like the pink pepper and the peach [in Gucci Guilty]—very light, but a little spicy, which I think makes it easier to wear every day. In that way, it kind of reminds me of something I would have liked when I was a little bit younger. When I was in middle school, me and [my] cousins would go down to Bath & Body Works and get an apple perfume, with one note, or a vanilla roller. It was thrilling. I still like a one-note perfume. Even if I’m putting on a Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion, I like the smell of a little coconut. Or a rosewater spray.
Was there chemistry between you and Jared Leto, as subjects in this strange fantasy world in the Gucci campaign?
We work pretty differently. He’s been acting for so long that it’s very easy for him to just come in and off the set, but I like to hang out with the crew and Alessandro and see if they were shooting an ostrich [laughs]. So no, I didn’t get to pretend that I was with my old crush from My So-Called Life—although I did have one moment where we were supposed to be slow-dancing in the laundromat. I freaked out because I forgot how to do that for some reason. He was really nice and taught me how to dance again, so that was our most couple-ish moment.
The old-school hair salon appears in so many classic movie scenes. Did it bring up certain associations for you?
I spent years putting my hair into wet sets, so I’ve sat under those giant hoods myself. I’m sure I loved them at one point, but I just hate them now! I’d put my hair into rollers, dry them into curls, and then brush them out, so it was like a big Texas triangle. I would do that like every four days, if I was playing shows or for little appearances. Now I put it into braids and hope for the best!
Lana Del Rey spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about her upcoming album ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’, which she revealed will have 13 tracks. She explained that it’s “like a mood album” with an organic, old-LA feel and “rock undertones”.
Harper’s BAZAAR: Your Gucci Guilty campaign with Jared Leto looks awesome. What was it like making that?
Lana Del Rey: It was really fun. We were shooting for five days in L.A. last year, and we got to shut down all the big locations. Alessandro wanted to shoot at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, so we shutdown that big cemetery, which is really famous here, and we had a grocery store that we were filming in the next day, and then we went to the valley and shot in an old laundromat there.
It was kind of funny, because all these places that I would normally go to by myself, or with friends just to hang out, we were closing down and putting ostriches in and tigers. It was definitely a trip, and when I met Alessandro to talk about this concept of “Hollyweird” and he wanted these two people to be doing all these regular everyday things, but with their diamonds on and their Gucci jumpsuits on, I thought it was cute, for sure.
HB: You’ve been wearing Gucci for a while now on the red carpet.
LDR: When we were kids, [Gucci] just almost seemed like out-of-this-world glamorous. So, to be wearing stuff for them now is really such a cool little experience, especially because some of the stuff I wore for the Grammys was custom. Alessandro sent a few sketches over, and even for me it was very dramatic with the halo and stars everywhere. I was like, “Oh my gosh. I was don’t know if I can pull this off.”
It’s been really fun, going to the Met Gala with a headpiece on that weighed 25 pounds, and poking everyone’s eye out if I did all my turns. He’s definitely very much “more is more” on the red carpet, so it’s been funny to step into that world because I think, left to my own devices, I’m really creative, but I’m a little more quiet, so it’s been a fun collaboration.
HB: In addition to being involved with Gucci you also have an album coming out soon. Is there anything you can tease about it, or how it might be different from Lust for Life?
LDR: I am excited about this album. I finished it for the most part at the beginning of January, and I think it’s a little bit different from maybe the last two records in the way that I just don’t really have a plan for it. It sort of came about because I met Jack Antonoff last year up at the Clive Davis party before the Grammys and he said that we should get in the studio, and I told him I only had a few songs that I had already written.
If we hadn’t sat down, I don’t know if I would have planned to make an entire 13-track record. One thing I like about it is it has a really organic, I don’t want to say an acoustic feel, but it has a kind of old L.A.—a little bit of, I don’t want to say rock, but some of those rock undertones on the last songs on the record. It’s like a mood album. There’s not really any big bangers on it, it’s just day-in-the-life mood music, which is some of my favorite stuff to drive to and listen to.
Lana Del Rey recently spoke to i-D about working on the Gucci Guilty campaign alongside Courtney Love and Jared Leto, as well as her upcoming album ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’.
How was shooting the campaign with Glen and Jared?
It was fun. I didn’t know what to expect or how much it would really look like a movie set – I grew up watching Jared and being on site with him was a trip. Also Glen was fantastic.
Did you feel like you were playing an archetypal LA character?
Yes! Even for me it was a lot. It felt very Lynchian, which is always fun to explore in Los Angeles in these dramatic settings like the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Why do you think Alessandro felt you encapsulated the fragrance?
He told me he felt like it was a scent for a woman who did whatever she wanted and I’m very much that person. I’m a little bit eclectic, a little different, and definitely on my own path, but at the same time I have a lot of feminine sensibilities and this particular fragrance is on the lighter side and a little bit younger because of that, so I think he thought I had the right spirit for it. Also he wanted to have a campaign that was centred around this concept of ‘Hollyweird,’ so I guess he thought I was just weird enough for it.
Occasionally, we must praise Lana Del Rey‘s managers, Ben Mawson and Ed Millet.
Mawson, then a practicing lawyer at SSB, first met Lana when he was helping her get out of recording and publishing deals she’d signed early in her career. They built a personal and professional relationship and he eventually ended up managing her. He teamed up with Millet and they developed Tap Management in 2009.
Whilst the company has only been in existence for seven years, it “steered the career of the international star”, and they have since been developing major UK breakthrough artist (and double-BRIT award dinner) Dua Lipa.
Tap Management started as a London-based publishing firm – which now has offices in the US, Australia and Germany – and will soon branch out into its very own record label.
Mawson and Millett were crowned ‘Managers of the Year’ at the UK Artist and Manager Awards in 2017, which Lana spoke at.
The pair recently gave an interview with Music Business Worldwide, where they spoke about Lana and how she’s got another album in the works. Below are the interview highlights.
You’ve got offices around the world – how does that impact what you offer artists independently?
Ed: We’ve always had an eye on the global nature of music and we don’t want to be a ‘UK company’. Now more than ever it’s so important to start America at the same time as everything because it drives all your Spotify numbers.
We also sign quite a lot of things direct in Germany because it’s a great market, they can take stuff to radio and make it work and don’t have to wait for the UK to drive things.
That worked for Dua, for Lana and for Grace Carter, who is directly signed to Sony out there and signed to Universal everywhere else.
Ben: Lana got her record deal in Germany first – it’s such a huge market. You can have a career just in Germany and be very successful. Everyone used to be kind of obsessed with the Radio 1 playlist but we’ve always tried to be as global as possible and put an emphasis on all of the important territories.
During Lana’s speech at the A&M Awards in London last year, she praised you both for having shared principes and gave a bod to the #MeToo movement. As managers of two leading female artists, do you have conversation about sexism and equality, and do those tie into marketing decisions?
Ed: The way we look after artists is a partnership and the whole point is to empower someone, to finesse them and help them get even better. Everything they do is coming from them. We’ve never put Dua or Lana in a position where they’re told, ‘You need to be sexy.’
Ben: We look after them, but they are strong-willed and opinionated females. Dua won’t let anyone over-sexualise her. Lana was shot nude for GQ and there was outcry from some people saying it was in some way demeaning, but she was like, I’m having a laugh! Lana is a very strong woman – she doesn’t let anyone walk all over her, and Dua is the same. They are totally in charge of their creative.
What are your ambitions for Tap and the artists you look after?
Ed: We want to work with more artists and break more artists. We’re not really set up to do small independent stuff, we want global success with everybody. But we don’t have the objective to become a massive corporate management company, it’s always going to be relatively boutique.
Ben: Lana is going to keep putting music out. She’s got another album in the works and her fanbase is as rabid as ever. For Dua, the sky is the limit; she wants to end up performing in stadiums.
Read the full interview here. This was written for LanaDelReyFan.com with information and quotes taken directly from the full interview on Music Business Worldwide.