2013 has already been a triumphant year for Lana Del Rey.
Still riding high on the runaway success of her debut album, Born to Die (which was the fourth best-selling full-length of 2012) and the follow-up Paradise EP, Del Rey welcomed the new year by earning her second prestigious BRIT award in two years (The U.K.’s version of the Grammys), this one for International Female Solo Artist.
Del Rey’s haunting, romantic sound was an ideal fit for The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film, the all-star soundtrack executive produced by Jay Z. Teaming up with Grammy-winning producer Rick Nowels, Del Rey wrote “Young and Beautiful,” the sweeping and symphonic ballad that would serve as the album’s first single.
An immediate hit, “Young and Beautiful” soared to No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching as high as No. 3 on the Hot Rock Songs and hitting the Top 10 in countries around the world like Australia and Belgium.
“Baz Luhrmann asked me if I could write a memory cue for Daisy, so I sang him the chorus for ‘Young and Beautiful,’ that I has, just the chorus, and he thought it would be good for her,” Del Rey said during an exclusive interview with Radio.com following her headlining set at Lollapalooza 2013 regarding the character portrayed in the film by actress Carey Mulligan. “Then I kind of wrote the whole thing after I watched her garden scene.
“I’m always leery of being a part of super big projects that have a lot of glitz,” Del Rey continued of The Great Gatsby. “But something really weird that happened was that (song) got picked up by alternative stations.”
While the singer has dubbed her effusive sound as “Hollywood sadcore,” the enchanting chanteuse has had a major impact on dance floors around the world. From countless unauthorized bootlegs versions of her songs to official remixes from electronic music heavyweights like MK and Clams Casino, Del Rey’s distinctive voice has quickly become a regular presence on DJ charts and playlists.
Del Rey’s dance floor domination is currently peaking with Cedric Gervais’ high-energy remix of “Summertime Sadness” rocking both nightclubs and the charts. Sitting pretty at No. 2 on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts and No. 9 on the Hot Rock Songs list, the remix has helped propel the original version to her second American Top 40 hit in a row following “Young and Beautiful.”
“I come home after four months (touring Europe) and ‘Summertime Sadness’ is on the radio,” she enthused. “So I’m grateful for that, because I love that song.”
The singer’s growing legions of diehard fans are presently waiting to hear what Del Rey has to say on her sophomore full-length, which she’s been working on in Santa Monica, CA.
In the meantime, she’s preparing to release Tropico, a 30-minute film that features three songs from the Paradise EP: “Gods and Monsters,” “Bel Air” and “Body Electric” and stars albino male model Shaun Ross alongside Del Rey and directed by Anthony Mandler (also responsible for the singer’s recent long-form video for “Ride”).
“I met my directorial soul mate with Anthony Mandler,” she explained. “I always give him these mood boards and story boards, and he just makes all of the visions I have come to life. He never says no.'”
For Lana Del Rey, any pressure that comes with following such extraordinary achievements, such s being held up as a role model for young female fans, is all just part of her personal and artistic journey.
“The good thing is it just so happens that I aim to live my live with grace and dignity,” she said finally. “I know I look a certain way sometimes or cast a certain vibe, but the truth is that I really don’t like to be in trouble. I like to live a good life. It is important to me.”