Lana Del Rey Talks Tigers, Tames Critics With Born To Die

'I always feel uncomfortable spending anyone's money, but I really did want the tigers,' Del Rey says of video for title track.

Chances are, if you’ve ventured anywhere near a blog in the past six months, you not only know who Lana Del Rey is, but you’ve probably already formed your opinion about her. Based mainly on a pair of majestic, maudlin singles — “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” — not to mention some rather rampant speculation on her background, Del Rey has been nothing if not a lightning rod, and now she’s rode that, uh, attention to a major-label deal with Interscope, who will release her Born to Die album at the end of the month.

But for an artist who has been the subject of so much discussion, Del Rey remains strangely silent when it comes to her critics, the folks who like to bring up points like “authenticity” and “paying your dues.” Though you get the feeling she’s growing tired of keeping her mouth shut.

“I don’t agree [with it] … it’s a f—ing personal thing, in terms of whether people like me or not, it has to do with my personality getting in the way of the music,” she told MTV News. “I personally don’t like drama of any sort … I just think it’s reflective of the times we live in, and have been living in since the dawn of humanity. People love terrible news, they love when things go wrong, and they like to see people going off the tracks and people fighting, because it’s exciting, and life is f—ing boring.”

And that’s an odd thing to say, especially considering that, in recent months, Del Rey’s life has been anything but boring. She’s been whisked around the world to promote Born to Die, she’s been the subject of countless magazine spreads, and this weekend, she’ll perform on her biggest stage to date: “Saturday Night Live.” And through it all, she’s tried very hard to keep the focus squarely on her music, a task that grows increasingly difficult by the day.

“The goal is definitely just to sort of try to re-create myself in song form, that was really my only ambition in this whole thing. I mean, I’ve been making music for a long time, but it was really only ever to please myself,” she said. “I really write because I love to write and I sing because I love to sing … and I think the way I make music is different from the way some people make music, in the way that I write for myself.

“I started working [on Born to Die] with this kid from London, Justin Parker; he sort of wrote a lot of the chords on the record. And then I was looking for a producer to tie everything together, sonically, and Emile [Haynie, who's worked with the likes of Kanye West and Eminem] was perfect, because, musically, we’re on the same path,” she continued. “We love mixing the light and the dark together, and I was in love with his beats … he understood what I meant when I was talking about wanting a mix of a sound similar to Thomas Newman’s ‘American Beauty’ score, mixed with a Springsteen, summertime sadness feel. And everything came together … Sonically, I always knew exactly what I wanted.”

And that focus extended to the big-budget video for the album’s title track, a gorgeous, gigantic thing Del Rey shot in Paris with director Yoann Lemoine. It sprung from a treatment she penned, and doesn’t skimp when it comes to scenery, sex appeal and, of course, seriously hormonal tigers … all courtesy of the good folks at Interscope.

“I always feel uncomfortable spending anyone’s money, but I really did want the tigers, just because of what they symbolize to me, and just visually, they’re so striking,” she laughed. “I always like the vision of a girl in a white nightgown with two majestic tigers. [In one scene], I was sitting on the throne first, and then I had to leave the room and then the tiger was filmed right by the throne, and then spliced in … Tigers and women can’t be in the same room, even if the tiger is a female, because of the pheromones.”

And so, Del Rey is quickly learning that acrimony sort of comes with the territory these days. And as she moves forward as a major artist, she’s willing to trade a few nasty comments for the opportunity to create videos (and albums) that are uniquely her. It’s been a roller-coaster ride just to get to this point, and Del Rey is determined to enjoy her lofty new perch … no matter what her detractors have to say.

“I’m a very happy person. I feel really at peace with my life and where it’s been for the last long time, really,” she said. “I’m grateful for my life, I’m grateful for being able to make music, and for everyone around me. So, yeah, overall, I feel happy.”

Are you excited for Born to Die? Let us know in the comments below!