Lana Del Rey Explains How She Survived Harsh Criticism at the Beginning of Her Career

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Years before she was one of pop’s most renowned voices and songwriters, lauded by the likes of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey was simply Lizzy Grant, an up-and-coming artist from New York whose artistic reinvention was almost universally slammed by critics.


In 2012, the musician’s debut album under her now-famous alias Born to Die was widely trashed by music critics, with many taking aim at the perceived inauthenticity of her glamorized Americana aesthetic or disparaging her for glorifying violence and objectification. (See Pitchfork‘s original review of the album; the publication retroactively praised the set 10 years later.) Now, at the height of her fame, Lana has opened up about how she pushed through those bumpy beginnings in a new cover story for Harper’s Bazaar.

“I think in one week, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Post and New York magazine agreed that it was the most ridiculous act that had ever come out,” she recalled to the publication.

“It was 100 percent authentic,” she added of Born to Die. “It’s just that where I was at the time was malleable in my own life — easy to, like, acquiesce … I kept rereading the idea of somebody who was feigning vulnerability. [But] perhaps what they saw was what was vulnerable.”

The “Summertime Sadness” singer went on to say that she moved past the hurtful criticism by simply continuing to write songs, eventually releasing an EP titled Paradise in 2012 before earning her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with her sophomore effort Ultraviolence in 2014. “That may have been just pure ‘Let’s try and make this work!’ energy,” Lana said. “I’m sure my intuition in my everyday life was still pretty strong. But with the career, I think it was like ‘Let’s just try and see if we can make this work’ instead of having it come to a brutal end.”

Lana Del Rey photographed for Harper’s BAZAAR Art Issue.

“It’s almost like they were wrong,” she concluded of the naysayers. “That’s all. They just got it all wrong. That’s all.”

In service of her point, Del Rey is up for five awards at next year’s Grammys, including album of the year and best alternative album for March’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. The star recently shared that she’s “genuinely touched” by the nominations, admitting that she “only learned this year that you have to submit your own album if you want to be nominated.”

See more photos of Lana for Harper’s Bazaar below:

Lana Del Rey photographed for Harper’s BAZAAR Art Issue.

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