Yesterday, Lana Del Rey‘s newest album, ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’ was released. However, in a new interview The Times, she revealed she’s already working on her next album which is called ‘White Hot Forever.’
She said: “I’ve already written parts of it. It’s called White Hot Forever. I feel like it probably will be a surprise release sometime within the next 12 or 13 months.” Read the full interview below:
Lana Del Rey and the Chateau Marmont have history. The Los Angeles hotel, where Tinseltown’s rich and famous have partied since 1929, featured in the singer’s first music video. “Singing in the old bars, swinging with the old stars, living for the fame,” an elegant voice sang over grainy footage of the Beverly Hills hotspot, and an instant pop sensation was born.
Eight years after Video Games, that breakout hit, Del Rey drives her shiny black pick-up truck past the place regularly; her management has just set up an office overlooking the hotel, a house nestled in the hills. It’s fitting. Since blasting directly to the top table of pop with that dreamy, devastating debut single, the songwriter has doubled down on those ideals of faded Hollywood glamour and romance across four bestselling albums. Her latest, Norman F***ing Rockwell!, is similarly threaded with tortured tales of doomed love and unavailable men, the sort who would stalk the corridors of the Marmont and drink themselves into oblivion by its pool. Where better for her management to set up shop than in view of the notorious hangout? Del Rey, after all, has created a pop empire singing about the Chateau; the glitz and tragedy it represents and the type of lost souls who once wandered it.
We meet at her management’s new pad on a scorching hot August afternoon. The walls are adorned with platinum records and other emblems of her seismic success: her 3.2 million album sales in the US alone, her glossy magazine covers, her Billboard, MTV, Ivor Novello and Brit awards. Del Rey, 34, is indisputably one of the biggest artists on the planet, a stadium-packing superstar adored by everyone from Adele to Stevie Nicks (with whom she collaborated with on her last album). She has 13.7 million fans following her every move on Instagram and 9.4 million Twitter followers. Her quintessentially Californian sound has made her as synonymous with LA as the Santa Monica pier or Sunset Boulevard. However, these accolades apparently don’t matter much to her.
“It’s not that I don’t care what happens,” she says, curled up on a sofa in the living room, dressed in denim shorts and a black jumper, “but by the time [an album] is done and gone to vinyl, it’s kinda over for me.” The real reward for her is in the writing. “Of course I love when people like my songs, but I get a lot of value from just knowing that I’ve found a special little melody. You know?”
“Special little melodies” are evidently not in short supply for Del Rey. Norman F***ing Rockwell! — named after the American author and painter whom Del Rey has described as “this genius artist [who] thinks he’s the shit and won’t shut up about it” — is her fifth album in seven years, a prolific output for an artist regularly on the road. This record, however, is a little different from the others. There are musical differences, for a start. Working with Jack Antonoff, a close collaborator with Taylor Swift and Lorde, Del Rey has stripped her sound down to bare, folky essentials on songs such as the lead single Venice Bitch, which blossoms from gentle guitar chords into an enveloping eight-minute psychedelic jam (“I wanted it longer. Urgh,” she jokes). It’s the mood of the album that marks the biggest change, however. Del Rey’s music has long been a fantasy of a forgotten America, a Coke-bottle-cool daydream of 1950s cars and young love found on sun-kissed beaches. Recently, though, the doomy state of the world has crept inside that fantasy bubble.
“I’m surprised more people aren’t writing about certain things that are going on,” Del Rey says. This month she released Looking for America, written in response to the back-to-back shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The song pleaded for stricter firearm regulation and proceeds from the track went to charities for victims of gun violence. Elsewhere, she’s been vocal in her support for the Me Too movement, hit out at Kanye West (at whose wedding she performed in 2014) for his support of Donald Trump and claimed to have placed a “witchcraft hex” on the president. (“Why not? Look, I do a lot of shit,” she said at the time.)
On the new album there are allusions to last year’s LA wildfires and West’s politics, and an overall sense of an impending apocalypse. It’s not that she has recently become politicised, Del Rey explains, but more that, in a time of immigrant children in detention centres, when racism is on the rise and white supremacists open fire on shoppers in Walmart, she hit a point where she could no longer remain mute.
“When I go to the movie theatre I always make sure I know where the exits are,” Del Rey says. “We all do. The same with any big parade or Fourth of July event.” Regular Americans, she says, are on edge at practically every public event now, such is the regularity of mass shootings. “I’m not the only one who thinks about it. It’s everybody.” To her there’s no great mystery why. Trump has a “personality problem”, she says, “and it’s hurting people and encouraging violence in the culture. If people think that’s not a coincidence, my opinion is that they’re wrong.” Asked who she would like to see challenge him in 2020, she replies: “I think things will be better with someone more emotionally stable at the helm. So to answer your question: anyone.” A noise follows that’s part-giggle, part-exasperated groan of despair.
Del Rey is confident and intermittently hilarious, cradling a coffee cup, but too busy talking excitedly to take more than an occasional sip. In her music videos and on stage she’s immaculate and otherworldly, gliding about in gowns and big hooped earrings. In real life this supposed “gangster Nancy Sinatra” is endearingly goofy, reciting tales about game nights with friends and how she used to live on Kingsland Road in east London, buying whatever weird stuff she could find at Ridley Road market (“one time I got these contact lenses that made me look like a f***ing lizard”).
She has struck a nervous figure in interviews. Before we start talking she politely lets me know that she is recording our conversation on her phone. This, I suspect, is because in 2014 she was quoted as saying “I wish I was dead” in an interview with The Guardian, and when asked if stars who die young are “glamorous”, she replied: “I don’t know. Ummm, yeah.” The comment earned her a scolding online despite her insistence that the remarks were taken out of context.
Part of her confidence is down to her new home: a secluded spot in northern San Diego. Her work and friends are still in LA, so she drives her pickup truck back and forth every day. “Eighty miles there, eighty miles back,” she says with a grin, and says that those long drives have unlocked new perspectives and creativity for her. “I have a lot of time to think.” What does she think about? Well, there’s a modern retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that she’s writing and composing music for, for one. “It’s more about the story of the author and the real-life Alice back in Cambridge. I have to learn a lot more about it, but the songs are really sweet.”
At other times her mind wanders to her beginnings as an artist, to the whirlwind of fame that threatened to swallow her after Video Games blew up, and experiences that she is now able to identify as tinged with misogyny. “I’ve had to stay pretty intellectual about it,” she says. “The interrogative nature of the way people would approach me was quite intense.”
Del Rey delves into stories of being dismissed by journalists and bombarded with accusations of being inauthentic. The presumption at every turn was that this songwriter, professing her love of James Ellroy novels in interviews, and singing about love, diamonds and Diet Mountain Dew, was somehow being controlled by male music-industry executives, lurking somewhere in the shadows, quietly pulling the strings. When the internet discovered that her real identity was Lizzie Grant, born in Manhattan and raised in Lake Placid by two former advertising industry employees, many classified it angrily as a form of deception rather than good old-fashioned showbiz.
“So many defensive, condescending reactions. Luckily, I always thought, F*** YOU!” she roars, her laughter echoing down the hall. “It said more about them than me. What’s funny is everyone was constantly, like, ‘You’re so eclectic, so different.’ ” She pauses and stares out towards the pool in the yard outside, which glimmers in the sunlight. “But I felt most of the time like I was the most normal one in the room.”
Del Rey’s success has changed that. In 2012 the enormous success of her first big-label album, Born to Die, sparked what critics called a sad-pop revolution. Pop was dominated by saccharine cheer. Del Rey’s unapologetic sadness on that LP and its acclaimed follow-ups, drifting through downtempo songs that luxuriated in melancholy, proved that female expressions of sadness in pop were not only commercially viable for labels, but deeply relatable to a new generation of listeners who had grown up discussing their emotions on platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram.
“There were, like, four pop singers, and I was the weird one,” she says. “Now you see [new artists] and they’re super-weird and all over the place. You have all these mumble rappers being crazy and weird and wearing dresses and everyone is applauding, saying, ‘Good for you for being you!’ That’s really new.”
It cheers her to think that acts such as the 17-year-old phenomenon Billie Eilish, whose moody lyrics touch on depressive feelings in a not dissimilar way to Del Rey’s, might have been able to look at her path to pop supremacy and use it as a blueprint. “She’s so sweet and very prodigious. The culture is catching up to how people really are. People aren’t always cheerful 24/7. They have losses and things they go through things. I like to think I had a part in it, in opening that door for a little bit more . . . thoughtfulness.”
Eight years after blazing to fame, Del Rey says she is happy. Yes, she despairs over the state of the world sometimes and her dating life could be more stable by the sounds of it. “It’s, erm, colourful!” she says with a giggle when I ask, which is all she’s willing to say on the matter (previous partners include Francesco Carrozzini, an Italian photographer, and the Scottish singer-songwriter Barrie-James O’Neill, who performs under the name Nightmare Boy).
On the whole, however, Del Rey seems content and creatively energised. Norman F***ing Rockwell!, she reveals, will be followed by another album. “I’ve already written parts of it,” she says, beaming. “It’s called White Hot Forever. I feel like it probably will be a surprise release sometime within the next 12 or 13 months.” The sun has sunk in the evening sky, painting the Marmont at the bottom of the hill in peachy orange light. “I’m really excited right now. I don’t want to take a break.”
On August 28, Lana Del Rey did a few radio interviews to promote ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’ which comes out on August 30. She spoke to Kevin Manno from 104.3 MYfm and Ryan Seacrest for 102.7 KIIS-FM, which you can watch/listen to below:
Candids > 2019 > At 1043 MYfm Radio in Burbank, California, USA (August 28)
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Candids > 2019 > On Air with Ryan Seacrest in Burbank, California, USA (August 28)
x-7 pictures were added —x
Ahead of the upcoming new album ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’, Lana Del Rey spoke to Billboard about always following her muse, the #MeToo Movement and why she owns being basic.The interview and photographs took place on August 8 2019 at The Beckett Mansion in Los Angeles.
“I’ve got a more eccentric side when it comes to the muse of writing, but I feel very much that writing is not my thing: I’m writing’s thing. When the writing has got me, I’m on its schedule. But when it leaves me alone, I’m just at Starbucks, talking shit all day.”
Lana Del Rey was recently interviewed by Vogue Korea where she talked about her partnership with Gucci and music. You can read the original source here, but we have provided a rough translation below.
If you would like to provide us with a proper translation, please email us. It would be greatly appreciated by us and our readers. You will be credited.
Do you remember the day you first sprayed perfume?
Lana Del Rey: When I was young, my mum kept her perfume in a closet or medicine cabinet. I don’t remember the brand well, but the aroma was very heavy. Since that day, I’ve been attracted to perfume. I got into the world of perfume with a miniature product from a drugstore or small store.
As we grow, tastes change. Let’s go back to when you were 20 with a time machine. What perfume did you enjoy at that time?
Lana Del Rey: Unfortunately, there was no extreme change in perfume taste. I love light and floral fragrance. The nostalgia of a single enthusiastic note during my teens is still good. It’s a simple fragrance made from one ingredient that can be bought anywhere like vanilla or cotton candy.
Taste preference is pretty steady. Do you have any special perfume usage?
Lana Del Rey: I spray a little after bathing or just before going to bed. I also enjoy mixing and matching the perfume of different notes. When writing lyrics or writing, I often use fragrances with mature scents or exotic notes like sandalwood.
You have become the female face of Gucci Guilty. What is special about Gucci Beauty?
Lana Del Rey: Alessandro Michele returns to the very concept of beauty. Thanks to this, Gucci Beauty is going to be beautiful. His creation is fascinating.
Tell us about Gucci Guilty as the first woman of this fragrance.
Lana Del Rey: It has light floral notes of peach and lilac blend. It’s very feminine and delicate. I thought it was a good fragrance when I first tried it. It is not too heavy, but it gives me a special feeling.
Do you remember your first meeting with Alessandro Michele?
Lana Del Rey: I first talked to him on the phone before I met him. I don’t remember exactly when we first met, but we quickly became friends. He has everything. He’s a calm character, his work is really great, bold, fascinating and colourful. His aspirations and energy for work are a great inspiration to me.
How was filming the campaign?
Lana Del Rey: It was great. Jared [Leto] and I were enjoying every moment. It was really exciting because I wanted a Hollyweird movie. Michele created interesting and beautiful ideas through the usual places like beauty salons and grocery stores.
The Gucci Guilty promotional video, shot in Hollywood Forever cemetery, caused a sensation in Beauty World.
Lana Del Rey: My favourite memory was a big fire on a nearby freeway at a launderette. It was a dangerous situation where all of the shooting staff were wearing masks. We could not figure out if we could evacuate and miss a day without any major problems. But everything turned out to be safe.
This year marks 7 years since your big debut. Looking back, what comes to mind first?
Lana Del Rey: Ironically, this moment was the most calm. When a beautiful melody comes to me, it’s time for me to know hat such inspiration and song will last forever.
You recently released a new single. How was the song ‘Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have’ with such calm vocals and melody?
Lana Del Rey: It took me 3 years to complete. It’s one of my most personal songs. There are many meanings hidden in the lyrics and melodies.
Which of your songs best represents you?
Lana Del Rey: ‘Shades of Cool’ or ‘Cruel World’
Do you have a Korean artist that you’ve always watched?
Lana Del Rey: Today, Korean singers are very popular in LA. I heard an interesting story about BTS and listened to their songs. There was a special difference between this and American music. I was impressed with the energy.
Who is the most influential person in your life and career?
Lana Del Rey: I have a good time with my friends. They have a generosity and know how to live (laughs).
Let’s say now is Sunday morning 10am. What are you doing?
Lana Del Rey: Just finished running and doing refreshing exercise!
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.”