If one were to believe the British tabloids, Lily Allen is: a) a lesbian; b) pregnant; c) facing charges stemming from a paparazzi punch-up outside a London club; or d) all of the above.
As you can imagine, all these rumors are rather annoying for Allen — though she's not exactly going out of her way to combat all the negativity. Rather, she's taking the next step in pop-diva-tude: learning to accept that which you cannot change — but doing so less than willingly.
"At first I used to read things about me, and I'd get really angry and go on my blog and write a whole reply to it. But now, since there's so much of it, [I'm not] bothered to reply to it all," she sighed. "But some of it is true. [However] I am not a lesbian, I am not pregnant. But yeah. It's really annoying."
Annoying, but that sort of thing comes with the territory. Because ever since Allen dropped her debut, Alright, Still, in the U.K. last year (it debuted at #2 on the albums chart) and then here in the States in January (see "Why Pick Up Lily Allen's Sharp-Tongued Debut?: 'I Am Nice, So Buy It' " , it's been a pretty rapid ascension up the ladder of celebrity, which brings with it the usual hangnails — including the aforementioned tabloid attention and the ever-loving drag of performing "the hit."
In Allen's case, that would be her laid-back, boyfriend-dissing "Smile," which she performed at last week's NME showcase at SXSW with the following caveat: "I'm totally sick of singing this song, but I'll do it for you" (see "Pete Wentz Clones Descend, Lily Allen Warbles As SXSW Gets Under Way").
"I'm not sick of playing it, but it's really hard to be enthused about it," she laughed. "It's a lot slower than most of my songs, but since it's also my biggest song, it always feels like it should be the fastest-moving, but it's not. It's difficult to be energetic about it, because I've probably sang it 2,000 times."
Of course, she'll be singing it quite a few more times before 2007 is done. She's on the road until August, but maintains that she'll actually be playing gigs until "nearly December." And then, there's the inevitable follow-up record, which, Allen told MTV News, she hasn't started writing "at all."
"I can't be bothered [to write]. It's like work. I'm working so hard as is, the last thing I want to do when I have some time off is write some bloody songs," she said. "I only ever write in the studio anyway. I never write on the road because I'm never in the right mindset."
Allen said she has studio time booked for May, where she'll work once again with Mancunian production duo Future Cut (who worked on a large portion of Alright, Still, including "Smile"). But that's where the similarities between her current album and her future plans end.
"I definitely want to experiment with people like Randy Newman — he's come to a lot of my gigs, and he really likes my music, so I'd love to get something together with him — or Rufus Wainwright for the next album," she said. "I want to do something really simple and stripped back but also quite similar but not so heavy on the production."
And asked if she'll take the traditional pop-star route and wrangle a high-profile collaboration with a producer like Timbaland for album number two, she paused, cracked a smile and gave an answer perfectly unbecoming for a pop tart of her status.
"No, I can't be bothered with things like that. I don't want to be Nelly Furtado," she laughed. "And I don't want to spend 250,000 pounds on a song I didn't write."