Lana Del Rey on inspiring Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo: 'It’s f***ing awesome'

And how she’s shifted from a music critics’ victim to muse
Lana Del Ray
Photo credit Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Lana Del Rey sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and discussed her perception shift, becoming an inspiration for new songwriters, and even that (infamous?) viral Waffle House appearance.

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In a new interview, Lana Del Rey has revealed she feels there is “no in-between” for those who either love or hate her. The singer-songwriter and best selling poetry author faced massive criticism and rejection in her early career. Her focus on dark Hollywood, Americana and seedy relationships was dismissed as an inauthentic ‘cool girl’ attempt, or at worst, was misinterpreted as romanticizing the callousness she wrote about. Yet, with cultural changes and Lana’s commitment to honesty regardless of subject, the music world has shifted their perceptions of her. “I don’t think people speak about others in the same way they did back in 2011” Lana reflected, though adding that she felt as if, “all of a sudden things were really different” with her latest albums. Norman F******* Rockwell, Blue Banisters, and 2023’s Did you Know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd have been critically acclaimed as her best work, earning her Grammy nominations and labels as a “Great American Songwriter.” “I like the title. I’ll take it” she chuckled in the interview.

Now, with the music world ‘catching up’ to the artist, Lana explained she feels that perhaps it all happened for a reason. “Maybe they weren’t supposed to [understand me] back in the day, when I thought that they would,” she theorized. “I also feel, maybe spiritually, there was something I needed to learn from having people be so adamantly and vocally against it. Possibly, there was a bigger-picture reason for that. I wish it had not lasted for 10  years. That would’ve been helpful. But we’re in a good place now.”

“There’s a lot of weirdos out there now, so, we’re fine. We’re in good company,” she continued, joking cheekily. “I started at a time when things were very much one way. Little by little, there’s a lot more room for storytelling and saying different stuff. You’re seeing a lot more good girl songwriters, too. Well, who am I to say that? I like a lot of the singers out right now.”

Singers like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, in particular. Not only have both singers been influenced by her brutally honest writing style, they have also credited her as an industry trailblazer that opened up space for their own successes. “Lana has raised an entire generation of music lovers and songwriters like me,” Rodrigo said at this year’s Billboard Women In Music Awards, “and taught them there is beauty in their vulnerability and power in their melancholy.” When asked about being an inspiration to Eilish and Rodrigo, Lana was clearly thrilled. “Because Billie and Olivia are such good people, it’s f******* awesome,” she told Hollywood Reporter. “I love them and their music. It’s not like you have to be nice to be good [in music]. But, if you happen to be nice and a great singer, it makes me happy for the culture... I always felt like the older sister to pretty much everyone I ever met.”

Oh, and about those viral pictures of her working at a Waffle House? Lana says it was all rather innocent- not a career change or PR stunt like some were speculating. When visiting her siblings in Alabama, they had stayed so long at a Waffle House that the restaurant manager offered them shirts and, jokingly, a job. “I wish my album had gone as viral. I woke up to, like, 10,000 texts the next morning — some from folks I had not heard from for 10 years.

‘Saw your picture at the Waffle House!’” Lana said laughing, “I was like, ‘Did you hear the new album?’”

If you also saw those photos and didn’t listen to her latest Ocean Blvd album, don’t worry- you can check out Audacy’s free Lana del Rey Radio here!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images