By 10:30 p.m, almost 100,000 people have filed out of Chicago’s Grant Park following the first day of Lollapalooza 2013, held a couple weeks back. As the mass of coming-down kids move toward the exits, Lana Del Rey sits at a picnic table backstage, just far enough away from the noise. It’s so dark where she sits that until you come close enough to catch her eye, the only thing you can really see is the cherry of her cigarette. This post-festival scene is in stark contrast to her “pretty crazy” headlining performance earlier that night.
“I had to go around the world for two years just to have an audience in Chicago,” she told Radio.com’s Jillian Mapes. “I mean, I could just have been unpopular forever, that probably would have been a lot less tiring.”
A year and a half later, after all the panning and parodies of Born to Die have come and gone, there’s a touch of fame PTSD in how Lana Del Rey speaks about herself. She references her “not great welcoming into the American public eye,” but the truth of the matter is, we’re in the midst of the second coming of Lana Del Rey. When tastemakers grow tired, artists of a poppy temperament can try the most mainstream, “of the people” medium: radio.
Those who wrote off Lana Del Rey may be surprised to learn that she has a No. 1 song on a Billboard chart (Dance/Mix Show Airplay) this week. And a Top 5 (Hot Rock Songs, where she has multiple songs charting). And a Top 15 (Digital Songs). And, most noteworthy of all, a Top 20 on the Hot 100, where French house DJ/producer Cedric Gervais’ remix of “Summertime Sadness” currently sits at No. 16. Originally released on Born to Die, “Summertime Sadness” has been given new life through its remixes, with Gervais’ version racking up adds at Top 40 stations nationwide throughout the last month.
Meanwhile, “Young and Beautiful,” Lana’s contribution to The Great Gatsby soundtrack, is receiving airplay on alternative, not pop, stations. Radio isn’t quite sure what sure what to do with Lana Del Rey, but stations are playing her nonetheless. And not surprisingly, she couldn’t be more thrilled. She discussed all this and more in a meandering chat, including her plans for a new album, which she says have been thrown off by the recent barrage of leaks of her songs.