David Kahne, who produced Grant and previous label owner David Nichtern have both stated that Grant bought the rights back from her label, 5 Points, as she wanted it out of circulation to ” stifle future opportunities to distribute it—an echo of rumors that the action was part of a calculated strategy.” About choosing her stage name she has said: “I wanted a name I could shape the music towards. I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba – Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.”
On September 1, 2010, Del Rey was featured by Mando Diao in their MTV Unplugged concert at Union Film-Studios in Berlin. After uploading a few of her tracks to her YouTube channel, Del Rey was discovered and was signed by Stranger Records to release her debut single “Video Games.” She told The Observer, “I just put that song online a few months ago because it was my favourite. To be honest, it wasn’t going to be the single but people have really responded to it.” The song earned her a Q award for “Next Big Thing” in October 2011 and an Ivor Novello for “Best Contemporary Song” in 2012. The same month, she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and Polydor to work on her second studio album Born to Die. Del Rey built anticipation to the album by doing a number of live appearances, such as promotional concerts at the Bowery Ballroom and at the Chateau Marmont, and with performances at television shows such as De Wereld Draait Door, and Later… with Jools Holland.
On January 4, 2012, it was reported she had signed a deal with NEXT Model Management agency. Del Rey also performed two songs from the album on Saturday Night Live on January 14, 2012 and received a negative response from critics and the general public. Del Rey’s performance was defended by the evening’s program guest host, actor Daniel Radcliffe, despite not having seen her performance. She had earlier defended her spot on the program, saying: “I’m a good musician I have been singing for a long time, and I think that Lorne Michaels knows that it’s not a fluke decision.” The following week on SNL, Kristen Wiig impersonated del Rey where she humorously defended herself during Weekend Update.
Born to Die was officially released on January 31, 2012 worldwide, and reached number one in eleven countries, though critical reaction was divided.The same week, Del Rey revealed that she bought back the rights to her 2010 debut album, and had plans to re-release it in the summer of 2012 under Interscope Records and Polydor. Contrary to Del Rey’s press statement, her previous record label and producer David Kahne have both stated that she bought the rights to the album when she and the label parted company, due to the offer of a new deal, in April 2010. Since, Born to Die has sold nearly 2.8 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of 2012. In the United States, Born to Die charted on the Billboard 200 album chart well into 2012, lingering at number 76, after 36 weeks on the chart.
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