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Lana Del Rey: Bio and Origins of 'Video Games' Singer

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born June 21st, 1986, Elizabeth Woolridge Grant is better known today by the stage name Lana Del Rey. After overcoming alcoholism at a very young age, she moved to New York City to pursue her burgeoning music career. But it wasn't until she adopted the name Lana Del Rey and began crafting homemade videos for her songs like "Video Games" that she was discovered by the masses. Today, despite detractors who consider her nothing more than a manufactured product of the music industry, she has millions of fans across the world and has sold boatloads of records. In this video, explores the musical origins of Lana Del Rey.

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Biography and Origins of Lana Del Rey

She will love you till the end of time. Welcome to, and today we’ll be exploring the musical origins of Lana Del Rey.

Early Life

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was born June 21st, 1986 in New York City. After growing up in the Adirondack Mountains, she attended boarding school to overcome her alcohol addiction. Upon returning to the Big Apple at 18, she studied metaphysics at Fordham University and began using her cursory guitar skills to write music.

Underground Scene

The budding songstress introduced herself to the underground scene under names like Sparkle Jump Rope Queen and Lizzy Grant and the Phenomena. Grant pursued her hobby by writing and recording the acoustic demo Sirens as May Jailer in 2005-2006.

Kill Kill

After signing an indie label deal, Grant spent her next years living in a trailer park, doing community service and exploring the city for inspiration. Finally in 2008, Lizzy Grant released the three-track EP Kill Kill, which introduced the singer’s trademark sultry vocals.

Lana Del Ray a.k.a. Lizzy Grant

With marketing help from her millionaire father, Grant released a full-length two years later; however, 2010’s Lana Del Ray a.k.a. Lizzy Grant was quickly yanked from the market. This sparked rumors that the move was a tactic in the artist’s struggle to reinvent herself by banishing all traces of Lizzy Grant.


Regardless, the record established her as Lana Del Rey, and she began building an image as a fashion-forward indie rock princess with a vintage vibe.

“Video Games”

Soon enough, Stranger Records found Del Rey on YouTube, and with them, she released her debut single in 2011. Thanks to Del Rey’s vocals and writing, the lush instrumentation and the overall atmospheric vibe of the track, “Video Games” earned significant acclaim.


Del Rey’s homemade video for the track got her even more notice, especially online – but not all of it was positive. Speculation abounded that Del Rey was not the organically grown indie rocker she purported to be, but instead a strategically manufactured product – both sonically and physically. Her pouty glances, super long nails and ultra feminine mystique did little to calm the storm of dissenters.

“Saturday Night Live”

Neither did her “Saturday Night Live” appearance in 2012: just days after releasing her self-titled EP and signing a modeling contract, Del Rey gave a widely panned performance on the show.

Born to Die

She ignored critics and weeks later released Born to Die with Interscope Records. Unsurprisingly, the album polarized critics: some saw the melodramatic indie pop of singles like “Blue Jeans” as a fresh and welcome change, but others condemned her overdramatic and overproduced music. Despite the bad press, the album topped charts and sold over two million copies worldwide within six months, making it one of the year’s best sellers.

Paradise EP

Del Rey defied critics again by releasing the Paradise EP at the end of 2012. Its lead single, “Ride,” was seen as a positive evolution in her music; however, its controversial video was considered a step back, as it seemingly promoted prostitution.


Without missing a beat, Del Rey ended 2012 on a world tour as GQ’s Woman of the Year. She also expressed interest in entering the film industry, and modeled for brands like Jaguar and H&M.


Part glamour-girl, part gangster, and all American, Lana Del Rey is a poet who has touched audiences around the globe. While she’s divided popular opinion, Del Rey has proven that her career was not “Born to Die.”

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