22 years old Albanian singer-songwriter Era Istrefi, talked about Lana Del Rey in a recent interview to Noisey.
Noisey: A lot of people have pointed out the Rihanna vibe on “BonBon,” but who are your main musical influences?
EI: My musical influences are kinda everywhere. It’s so hard to choose between them, but if you want, I can mention some? Well, Rihanna is obviously one—I can simply say that I grew up in the Rihanna generation. And when I was 16 I discovered Jamaican music, so dancehall and reggae really, really inspire my music. And Lana Del Rey is one of my faves too.
Noisey: Lana Del Rey actually surprises me. What is it you like about her?
EI: When I’m love with someone, I see no flaws in them—and that goes for Lana Del Rey as well. Another thing I would like to mention about Lana Del Rey is that I used to underestimate the emotion of sadness, but Lana Del Rey and her music taught me that sadness should be appreciated and should be used for art too because it’s truly a beautiful emotion.
Whilst Lana Del Rey was in Switerzland for her performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Moon and Stars Festival, she was kind enough to give a short interview with Dominik Hug from news and entertainment website Blick.
The interview, which can be read below, is Lana’s first interview in 5 months. It is very roughly translated into English from German.
BLICK: You rarely give interviews. Why?
LANA: Because I have been misunderstood in the past too often. I prefer to let the music speak for me and I hope it will tell you more than I could with my personal opinions.
You used to be be really nervous during performances? Is that still true today?
Not anymore. My life revolves around music so concerts feel very natural now.
You have given concerts all over the world. Where is the most beautiful?
I love coastal cities, either Monaco or Portofino in Italy. I also really like Montreux where I performed on Thursday. Lake Geneva is gorgeous. I am happy that I can visit some of the most beautiful places on earth during this tour: Athens, St-tropez and now, of course, Locarno.
How do you spend your time when you’re not on tour?
I write songs. I work at home usually with one producer, Rick Nowels. He lives near the beach. During the breaks, I go swimming. Or I visit the different towns on the southern coast of California. I also really like to go to concerts. At least once a week I’m in Los Angeles choosing a group I want to hear and going to their concert.
What inspires you?
Happiness in any form. But the most inspiring is complete freedom and the opportunity to live the way I want. I spend a lot of time in nature, such as mountain hiking, going to the theatre or poetry readings. I love creative people. As soon as I have an idea for a song, I almost immediately write it down in my phone. Then I take it to the producer and sing it to him acapella.
What would your life be like today, if you didn’t have a breakthrough with “Video Games»” in 2012?
I remember exactly when I decided that I wanted to be a singer. I was in college, we went to the Indian reservation. That day I realized that I had only two options: either making music or volunteering for a good cause. I chose the first option. If it did not work, I would probably do social work in any small town.
What has changed since you became famous?
I can not go out alone as often. This is sometimes annoying. But I can do what I love: singing and earning a living at it.
When are you happiest?
When I’ve just finished a great tour and can work on a new album again. I love to turn ideas into reality, to transform words into the composition. But I also have a life outsides of music that fulfills me: I see friends, enjoy a late summer evening going out for dinner with them.
Where do you see yourself in 30 years?
If only I knew! But I’ll definitely someday return to Switzerland to visit Montreux and Locarno again. These places are wonderful.
Lana Del Rey‘s NME cover is out Friday December 11, and available to collect for FREE at various points in the UK so be sure to see the full list of pick-up points.
Order the magazine here
Also, NME Magazine has put up the full cover interview on their website which is available to view here. Check out a preview below:
What kind of place in your life were you at while writing ‘Honeymoon’? What was going on for you personally as you wrote these songs?
“I guess the first thing that was going on was that I really wanted to have one more record out that was able to speak for me, even if I wasn’t in a place where I felt like speaking about myself. Aside from that I was happy and not really feeling like the album needed to be too cathartic. It felt like a good time to have fun with some elements of psychedelia and surrealism, production-wise.”
“On Monday they destroyed me but by Friday I’m revived… I’ve got nothing much to live for ever since I found my fame,” you sing on ‘God Knows I Tried’. Is life in the spotlight as crushing for you as it sounds? What are the most extreme situations you’ve found yourself in because of fame?
“There were unusual situations I found myself in that I didn’t know how to extract myself from, situations that needed more attention than me or the people around me knew how to handle at first. I think that song was a reminder to myself that if you don’t want the problems that come with being in the spotlight the best thing you can do is try and take yourself out of the spotlight when you’re not on stage. I think my two big goals with work are to make great records, and stay out of the press for the wrong reasons, so that song lyrically and melodically is especially poignant for me when I listen back to it. My family was traditional, and some of my extended family used to say a gentleman is only in the paper two times in his life: when he’s born and when he dies. Obviously, it’s a little too late for me when it comes to that sentiment.”
‘Freak’ is maybe my favourite song on the new record – those bassy trap rumbles are something I’d not really heard in your music until now. What music were you listening to as you plotted this album?
“I really love Rae Sremmurd so that might be a surprise inspiration. Also Sage The Gemini. I really love listening to some of the people that came out of Atlanta in the last two years. I don’t think I was trying to emulate that sound, but I had elements of it in ‘Freak’ and ‘High By The Beach’.”
Everybody knows that Adele loves Lana Del Rey and once again, the British singer didn’t hide it from her fans during an interview to the New York Times:
NY Times: On current artists she enjoys:
Adele: “Alabama Shakes. Lana Del Rey — she just stabs my soul all the time and makes me just want to cry. I love how mysterious she is as well. And I love that she just puts a record out and that’s it.”
Adele says she loves Lana Del Rey on a live interview to Magic Radio pic.twitter.com/oTiKoqBnk2
— Lana Del Rey World (@LanaDelReyWorld) October 23, 2015
David Safar from Minnesota’s ‘The Current’ radio station recently interviewed Lana Del Rey about ‘glamourized paranoia and her love of Father John Misty and Miss Nina Simone.’
Below is only the beginning of the interview, however you can click here to read and/or listen to it in full.
David Safar: It was just last year that you released Ultraviolence. Was there a sense of urgency to get back into the studio?
Lana Del Rey: Yeah, a little bit, but I don’t really know why. I think it’s just a personal thing. I felt like I had a couple of songs that I had been working on while I was mixing Ultraviolence, which took a really long time. I just wanted to see if I could start making another record. I guess whenever you put out record I guess it’s a good time to work on something new because you don’t really have any pressure.
You’re past your debut and your sophomore releases, you’ve worked with many different artists and you’ve toured. What made Honeymoon different?
I was glad to be past that second record. [laughs] It was fun. I worked with this guy that I love. He’s been my producer for a really long time. His name is Rick Nowels. I got to go in [the studio] every day and see some things I had been working on or start something new. Early on I wanted to have [Honeymoon] to have a little bit of a noire feel so I loved the title track “Honeymoon.” I guess it kind of loosened up a little bit as I went forward with songs like “Freak” and “Art Deco.”
Rick Nowels has worked with everybody from Tupac to Madonna to Jamie xx. What’s your connection to Rick and what does he bring to your music?
One of the reasons I like Rick so much is because a lot of producers, when they get into the studio with an artist, they want to challenge them or they want to break them down and build them back up again. I find that really unhelpful. Rick always says yes and he’s really fluid. If I’m stuck with an idea lyrically and want to say, “Screw it!” and move on, he doesn’t care. We move on to a new idea. He’s very easy. He contributes a lot in terms of – I mean, he plays everything. All the keyboard parts, all the guitar. He’s pretty amazing.
Each album of yours has a distinct narrative and you’re able to adopt that narrative and thread it throughout the entire album. What was your intention with the narrative of Honeymoon?
I do love records that have a strong concept. The narrative for [Honeymoon], it was a tribute to Los Angeles and, because of the soundcaping — we had a lot of amazing strings — I think the mood was the narrative. It’s a lot of descriptive pieces about driving at night or being in love, not being in love. Kind of the same old thing.