Lily Rose Beatrice Allen (born 2 May 1985) is an English recording artist, talk show host, and actress. She is the daughter of actor and musician Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. In her teenage years, her musical tastes evolved from glam rock to alternative. A year later, Allen abandoned school and concentrated on improving her performing and compositional skills. Afterwards, she created several demo songs, and near the end of 2005, she created a profile on MySpace, where she made some of her recordings public.
A contract was signed with the label Regal Recordings, as the views on MySpace rose to tens of thousands. In 2006, she began to work on completing what would be her first studio album and its first mainstream single "Smile" reached the top position on the UK Singles Chart in July 2006. Her debut record, Alright, Still, was well received on the international market, selling over 2.6 million copies and brought Allen a nomination at the Grammy Awards, BRIT Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. She then began hosting her own talk-show, Lily Allen and Friends, on BBC Three.
Her second major album release, It's Not Me, It's You, saw a genre shift for her, having more of an electropop feel, rather than the ska and reggae influences of the first one. The album debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart and the Australian ARIA Charts and was appreciated by the critics, noting the singer's musical evolution and maturity. It spawned the hit singles "The Fear" and "Fuck You", popular mostly in Europe. Allen and Amy Winehouse have been credited with starting a process that led to the media-proclaimed "year of the women" in 2009 that has seen five female artists making music of "experimentalism and fearlessness" long nominated for the Mercury Prize. In September 2009, Allen stated that she sees no way that she could ever make a profit making new records. In August she announced her pregnancy and began a hiatus. Earlier she has discussed plans to write for other artists, launch a record label and open a fashion rental shop during the hiatus.
Her family settled in the North London borough of Islington. She has an older sister, Sarah; a younger brother, Alfie Owen-Allen (who was the subject of her song "Alfie"); and a younger sister Rebecca. She has a number of half-siblings. Allen lived for a while with comedian Harry Enfield while her mother dated him. She is the god-daughter of Wild Colonials vocalist Angela McCluskey.
The late Clash singer and guitarist Joe Strummer is also referred to as a godparent; while not literally true, Strummer was close to Allen. Allen has fond memories of the week and a half they would spend together at Glastonbury Festival as part of a regular collective centred on Strummer and her father. Strummer's musical past would not come into focus for Allen until after his death.
In 1988, at the age of three, Allen appeared on The Comic Strip Presents... episode "The Yob," which her father had co-written.
Allen grew up with her mother in a working class environment, living in a council house environment for most of her childhood.
Nevertheless, she attended some of the UK's costliest public schools; Allen attended 13 schools in all, including Prince Charles's junior alma mater, Hill House School, Millfield, Bedales School, and a primary school in Leixlip, Ireland,
When Allen was 11, former University of Victoria music student Rachel Santesso overheard Allen singing Wonderwall by Oasis in the school's playground; impressed, Santesso, who would later become an award-winning soprano and composer, called Allen into her office the next day and started giving her lunchtime singing lessons. This would lead to Allen singing Baby Mine from Disney's Dumbo at a school concert.
Allen would tell Loveline that, the audience was brought to tears at the sight of a troubled young girl doing something good. At that point Allen said she knew that music was something she needed to do either as a lifelong vocation or to get it out of her system. Allen played piano to grade 5 standard and achieved Grade 8 in singing. She also played violin, guitar and trumpet as well as being a member of a chamber choir. Her first solo was "In the Bleak Midwinter."
According to The Sunday Times "the only school that seemed to have a positive impact on her was" Cavendish, an all-girl Christian school located in Camden Town. At Cavendish, Allen "played a boy in a production of The Railway Children and sang 'Baby Mine' from Dumbo."
After her family went to Ibiza on holiday, Allen told her mother that she was staying with friends but remained in Sant Antoni de Portmany instead. She earned money by working at a Plastic Fantastic record store and dealing ecstasy.
Allen signed a one series contract to present her own BBC Three TV show entitled Lily Allen and Friends based on the social networking phenomenon that helped to launch her music career. The singer asked her MySpace friends to suggest the name for the show.The guests on the first show that aired in February 2008 were Cuba Gooding Junior and David Mitchell, and later guests included Mark Ronson, Joanna Page, James Corden, Lauren Laverne, Roisin Murphy, Louis Walsh, and Danny Dyer.The show received a 2% share of the total multi-channel audience share despite a high-profile nationwide marketing campaign. Her third show received a 2.7% share.Allen was quoted in a British tabloid as rating the show "probably five out of 10" and said "I made a lot of money out of it".
On 1 April 2008, citing Allen's rapid development as a TV host and her popularity among its target audience BBC Three announced it was renewing Lily Allen and Friends for a second season. On 1 January 2009, she presented a 60-minute programme for 4Music called Lily Allen's 10 Best of British. On 12 January 2009, BBC Three controller Danny Cohen said that the show will not air in the Spring of 2009 as originally scheduled because of music commitments. Cohen noted "She is on the record as doing a second series and we are looking forward to having her back but we don't know at the moment".
The BBC was criticised by several teacher unions for a video shown on Lily Allen and Friends that apparently showed a student running up from behind and pulling down his teachers trousers. The unions said broadcasting this clip was irresponsible and greatly added to the teacher's embarrassment. While introducing the clip Allen called it "kegging" and said "It's very childish, but very funny". On 12 June 2009 Allen filmed a scene on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. She was scheduled to play herself in a scene with Matthew Werkmeister.
Allen performed for the 2008 New Year's Eve episode of Jools Holland's Hootenanny.In February 2009, she performed "The Fear" on GMTV. In the United States she appeared on The Today Show on 10 February 2009,The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 16 February 2009, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 18 February 2009.On 3 April she performed on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. On 21 April she was interviewed and performed on The View.She also performed on 24 April on Late Night with David Letterman.
In May 2007, Allen launched a line of dresses, shoes, and accessories entitled Lily Loves.Allen is reported to enjoy a "special relationship" with Chanel that is said to include borrowing clothes and jewellery and being flown in to sit in the front row of their shows. Karl Lagerfeld, the head designer for the company personally hired and photographed Allen for a campaign to promote a luxury line of handbags due to launch in September 2009.
Allen won the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year Awards "Editors Special Award."Allen was nominated for a Highstreet Fashion Award in the category of "Best Dressed Celebrity."In a readers poll for the weekly British style magazine Look, Allen was named the ninth best style role model.Allen has been described by the UK edition of Elle Magazine as a person who is not overly trendy in her fashion choices.
According to a newspaper report Allen told Capital Radio she has done modelling for a unnamed company. . Allen was scheduled to unveil a line of jewellery in September 2009. The line was supposed to have nine ranges and is influenced by Chanel and Dinny Hall.
Allen and her sister were scheduled to open her own clothing store entitled "Lucy In Disguise" on 15 September 2010. On 7 September the pair open a temporary pop up shop that featured vintage designer clothes and a hair stylist for customers.
Allen has taken an interest in environmental and social concerns. Although the singer is a staunch supporter of the Labour Party,she has been credited with helping inspire a parliamentary rebellion against Prime Minister Gordon Brown when she wrote to all Members of Parliament asking them to back an amendment to an energy bill.
She records at Studio A which is currently the only solar powered studio in Europe.Allen has been nominated with nine others for the title of Greenest Star in Playhouse for Disney Playhouse's inaugural Playing for the Planet Awards. She has since confirmed her support for the UK Labour Party and for Prime Minister Gordon Brown in particular.
Allen performed at a benefit concert for War Child, an international child protection agency that works with children affected by war. Backed by Keane, Allen sang "Smile" and "Everybody’s Changing."The singer and The Clash guitarist Mick Jones performed The Clash’s song "Straight to Hell" on a album for the charity Heroes.
Allen received support from the animal rights organisation PETA after a faux fur coat she was spotted wearing was mistaken for a coat made of real fur.
Allen has been named the face of the National Portrait Gallery as part of the gallery's marketing campaign.The picture was photographed by Nadav Kander emblazoned with the words, "Vocalist, Lyricist, Florist" . Allen and Jamie Hince, guitarist for The Kills raised £48,350 for the children’s charity The Hoping Foundation. The pair sang Dream A Little Dream Of Me at a karaoke auction fundraiser.
After the British Government's plans to implement a three strikes policy for file sharing copyright infringement, Lily Allen came out in strong support for disconnecting offenders.Creating a blog entitled "It’s Not Alright" against file sharing, it subsequently came to light that she had copied text directly from the Techdirt website of an interview with 50 Cent. This led to an exchange on the internet, which culminated in accusations being made that Allen had infringed on other artists' copyrights by creating mix tapes early in her career, that she then made available via her website.
On 1 October 2009 Allen and several other musicians released the world's first digital musical petition aimed at pressuring world leaders attending the December 2009 climate change summit in Copenhagen. The petition involved a cover of the song "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil.
Image and personal life
Due to her outspokenness, Allen has been the subject of many controversies. Disparaging remarks about musicians Luke Pritchard of The Kooks, Bob Geldof, Amy Winehouse,Kylie Minogue, and Katy Perryhave all garnered minor press attention. She later said that making fun of other pop stars was a result of a lack of confidence, saying "I felt like 'Oh God, I'm short, fat, ugly and I hate all these people who flaunt their beauty.'"
Photos of her drunk and topless in the Cannes Film Festival were also widely covered in the press.Her appearance at the 2008 Glamour Awards also generated criticism, as she showed up intoxicated with a dress depicting decapitated Bambi figures, and had an on-stage, expletive-laced exchange with Elton John.Allen has shown her third nipple on television.Allen feels like she has become a drunk character in a comic. "I wish my comic character wasn't that, but there's nothing I can do."
On 19 January 2009 in an interview with MTV UK, she commented on a feud with Katy Perry, saying that nothing was actually going on.In an interview with Q magazine saying "They’re just tits” Allen revealed she has been flashing people for years partially because of her aversion to bras. On the BBC's Test Match Special on 21 August 2009, she spoke about her love of the game of cricket.
Allen supports Fulham Football Club.
In May 2009 a French football magazine So Foot published a fake interview in which Allen was quoted as making derogatory remarks about David and Victoria Beckham and Ashley and Cheryl Cole. Some of the material was reprinted in the British tabloid The Sun. Both publications later apologized and paid damages to Allen.
In June 2010 she claimed the Brit Awards are fixed saying "The Brit Awards is a TV show, and a record company executive makes deals with ITV and the producers about who wins what award in exchange for performance time." A spokesperson for the awards said "This process makes it 100 per cent transparent and completely democratic.".In August she said the X-Factor is everything she detests about modern western culture.
Allen has spoken out illegal file sharing and criticized other musicians by name who support the practice. A group of supporters of the practice launched a denial of service attack dubbed Operation Payback that shut down Allen's website and targeted other critics.