Thanks to Lana-DelRey.Fr for scanning the french “Obsession” magazine which includes some more outtakes of its photoshoot.
Another thank you goes to lanadelrey-theperfectbitch.tumblr.com who translated Lana’s full interview for the magazine into english!
Magazines > 2012 > Obsession (December – France) x— 4 Pictures were added —x
It’s the end of a sunny October day in Los Angeles, the sun is down with the blink of an eye.
In a car that’s racing towards Hollywood hills, 3 young girls sitting tightly next to each other in the back, are talking about family and love stories; laughing about their long day.
One of them had spent her last few hours being photographed for Obsession in 6 or 7 different outfits. The rest of the time, she sings under the name of Lana Del Rey.
But right now, as the car gets lost in LA’s freeways, she’s not any different from the other girls her age: At 26, huddled in her seat, she evokes her family and her boyfriend, she speaks about Los Angeles where she’s staying and New York where she had long lived in.
The 2 other girls are English, they follow her everywhere, work for her – one of them is in charge of her hair, the other of her make up, both of them have been by her side since the very beginning and the singer doesn’t do any shooting without them. Lana is a young faithful woman.
And then, all of a sudden, a soubresaut takes over her at the mention of Paris, where she had been recently: she says how much she admires Edith Piaf whose song starts to play and she immediately starts to sing along, in French : “Non rien de rien. Non je ne regrette rien …” : the car, lost between the beach of Santa Monica and the altitude of West Hollywood becomes a time machine that stretches all over the place.
Piaf is here, through Lana, and their mad duet is as incredible as ephemeral.
While singing, Lana metamorphoses, and unveils a diva with the simple strength of her voice. Exactly like Piaf, she is petite and frail but acquires on stage a second nature, that of a star.
Lana Del Rey is a lot more complex than the simplistic clichés that follow her since the end of last year. Her videos, the H&M commercials with the 50s stamp, angora sweater and the old school brushing, contributed to making her an ultimate vintage icon, a creature halfway between Mad Men and David Lynch.
Lana would be the reincarnation of America in the 1950-60s, the young girl preaching the memory of a vanished golden age. Lana is the womanly figure of retromania.
But Lana, in her flesh and bones, looks nothing like a girl from the past ,and more like a very beautiful 2012 next door girl- one of those young American girls that could be your next door neighbor or the stunning girl you spent your last year holidays with.
When we met her, a few hours before this escapade, she arrived in a pair of very short jeans shorts, a threadbare white shirt and red shoes. Her voice is soft, and louder than in her songs. The look in her eye often softens with a smile. Her striking face apart, it’s her figure that attracts you – delicate and elegantly engraved, from her body, nothing exceeds.
Lana seems shy , and this reserved nature denotes her status as an international star that doesn’t stop from growing with the success of the album Born To Die, which sales keep on getting higher since its release last January.
350 000 copies sold in France, 410 000 in the USA, 400 000 in Germany and an almost 1 million predicted for Christmas time in the UK.
In a period that’s said more than morose for music, Lana is a messianic exception.
Nothing suggested that this girl, born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant in 1986, would be an icon of the 2010s.
Lana grew up in Lake Placid, in the state of New York, that knew its glory by organizing the winter Olympics of 1932 and 1980. A small town like many others in the USA, with less than 3000 habitants.
“When I was young, I used to absolutely love these moments when we used to take the car and drive from NY to Florida. Once the Adirondacks mountains crossed, we would stop at gas stations and there, I used to meet strangers that were so attractive and friendly for no reason. The kind of people that didn’t exist back home, and they helped me realize that a more welcoming world was waiting for me somewhere outside of my small town. Ever since that time, I love to drive, and those strangers I had met are still one of my biggest inspirations for writing my songs.”
Lana’s “story” was documented many times this past year. A lot has been said about the quality of her music, her first albums withdrawn from sale (but easily found on the Net) and especially about her persona: Is Lana a sincere artist or a marketing creation destined to disappear once the buzz is over?
After many attacks, particularly on her physique and her lips judged too big for that frail face, she opted for a tactic: keeping quiet, letting her work speak for itself. And letting her songs slowly invade the Net and televisions.
Because Lana is an artist of her generation, who first sees her music in images, for youtube.
“At 18, I used to dream of meeting a director who understands me and who would direct a video for me. I searched and met many, but they were all busy working for someone more successful. Everybody was taken for years… So I began to work on my computer. I put together all the videos and clips that I would’ve liked to direct, I stole them, transformed them and added images of myself, filmed the way I want.”
It was her videos, made in her room, that started it all, more specifically Video Games, put online the 19th of august 2011 and that has today almost 50 million views on youtube.
“I don’t know why it was this song that worked. It was the last one out of 17 videos that interested no one for 4 years..”. Each one of her first videos evokes old movies, imprinted with melancholic colors. “In my videos, I want colorful things,bright green, blue and white that reminded me of old California pictures. It was not the film itself that interested me, but the shades of the images. I wanted my life to be like this, I wanted my life to be colorful.” – she says, sighing in a disarming sincerity. “I learned, very young, to believe in the stories I was told, stories of the times when rock n’ roll had just been born and no one listened to it, when people used to get married young still excited by the idea of being together, when the moon was attainable, and space travelling too… Yes, I am nostalgic of an era I never knew.”
Born To Die is re-released, with 8 new songs, under the name of The Paradise Edition. We find a cover of Blue Velvet, a 50s song that gave its name –in 1986- to a David Lynch movie; and a song called Cola which first line comes halfway across between vulgar and sexy, the irony of pop culture “My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola”.
And let’s not forget about Ride, the immense hypnotic ballad. The video lasts for 10 minutes where we can see her between LA and Las Vegas, with motorcyclists in dangerous situations, at night or in the desert, under the sun. She makes the idea of being on the road, hair in the wind; erotic.
“On Sunsert Boulevard, after midnight, there are no cars. If we drive from the Chateau Marmont to the Pacific Ocean, we don’t come across any vehicle and I still like to drive very fast under the street lights, and then slow down, and hear the night birds and the crickets. In Ride, I speak of the freedom one can find on the road. I write from images that haunt me and I knew I wanted to write about driving fast, because even though I did get in a car accident once, all I had to do was to look for a Replacement Windshield since there were no physical injuries involved, that made me realized that I had to be more careful when driving but at the same time it reminded me that life is too short to not have fun. When life becomes very hard, it’s necessary for me to just ride, to drive fast: the energy coming from the road is cleansing, my body changes with the speed.”
With a few months of public existence, Lana Del Rey has slowly changed. A year ago, we would find her, blonde on the cover of her CDs, mixing a hip hop look and a 50s vibe; she has slowly drifted from that. For example, in Ride, she is a brunette, more urban and modern. The times of making home videos seems to be over. Her changes are slow and precise “I try to adapt so I can survive and I continue to do this naturally, but slowly, very slowly. It never seemed against my nature. I am slowly undressing: the clothes are changing, the accessories go away, the blond too… I am returning to my basics”
Adapting to survive: Lana Del Rey has been through many black holes. The one she speaks about now with so much emotion, is alcohol addiction that she had long suffered from, even if today she succeeded in holding it back.
“ I haven’t had a drink in 10 years. But when I was younger, I wanted to try everything fast, and I was living in New York with people who wanted the same lifestyle. New York was the best place. I loved being in it, I loved drinking in New York, I loved falling in love with my first boyfriends. It was paradise, I was able to do whatever I wanted to do. But when you are living like this, you have to expect losing your companions on the way. And that’s what happened, in New York, I lost everyone. Most of my songs are about the feelings I used to get while drinking, that moment I felt free through drinking. It was the most intense physical stimulation, and I depended on it..”
She says her songs are confessions, that tell her life, stories she has lived, bits of autobiography, images gleaned from her memory.
“In music, everything has been already done. The only thing original thing is every one’s personal story. My thing is this: I speak of myself, with the most truth and details possible. I tell the stories exactly as I have lived them. I sing what I have lived. There’s no other recipe.” It’s truth that feeds her songs (“words are sacred, I never write anything wrong”), truth drawn from a precise period of her life, exactly like Patrick Modiano’s novels that come from years of experience between the adolescence and the adult age of the author.
At that age, Lana was drinking, living in New York, singing in bars and she speaks of it as a happy time, that nourishes her entirely now that she’s in LA jumping for plane to plane (“I haven’t spent more than 30 days in the USA in the past 3 years”)
Recently, she was in Paris, for the launching of the new Jaguar car she’s the face of, after having accepted to work for H&M (“They insisted a lot…”) and before inaugurating a new Mulberry store that has created a handbag in her honor, in Singapour.
Lana is as follows: An artist of her era, not hesitating in answering the solicitations of brands that, in addition to the music, give her a special aura – You should’ve seen the admiring faces of the guests at a private concert organized by Jaguar or teenagers in awe in front of her H&M photos and you would understand that Lana is now an icon that instantly hypnotizes those who look at her, as they start wanting her, wanting to live her life.
She says the success hasn’t changed her, and that the attacks have only made her more secretive and selective.
The most appealing thing about Lana Del Rey is her songs, especially the slower ones. The ones where her voice wanders between chants and murmurs, between torch songs (Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra are often on her mind) and Californian hippie rock (Jim Morrison is not that far).
In those songs, the atmosphere is dreamy, hesitating between depression and frenzy then finding a delicat balance between the two. Her strength is there, playing with melancholy more than nostalgia, mixing an immense sadness with a joyful excitement. When she sings those songs, the listener feels a kind of epiphany, like in the movies, where everyone is quiet so they could be able to listen and watch. “I sing in an dreamy way, like in a conversation with God, with something that’s superior to me”
“Non rien de rien. Non, je ne regretted rien…” The car scoots away and Lana, her voice mixed with Edith’s, seems relieved for a verse or two.
Lana Del Rey is a worried person, whom like Edith Piaf eaten up by her nerves, treats herself with music, finds absolution and joy while singing.
What haunts her is what gives us terrifying emotions, what changes our mood each time we listen to a different song of hers. And listening to her singing is being a part of a different world. A better world.