Lily is a British pop sensation, actress and fashion designer. Her debut single ‘Smile’ infected the nation and instantly shot to number one.
She attended some of the UK’s most expensive fee-paying public schools; Allen attended 13 schools in all, including Prince Charles’s junior alma mater, Hill House School, Millfield, Bedales School and was expelled from several of them for drinking and smoking. 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 later became an award-winning soprano and composer, called Allen into her office the next day and started giving her lunchtime singing lessons.
She met George Lamb, the former manager of Audio Bullys and an influential A&R man. Taking a shine to her boisterous attitude, and captivated by some of the lyrics she had penned, Lamb agreed to manage Allen’s career. It was through Lamb that Allen was introduced to music producers Future Cat, who proved instrumental in helping the rising star find her feet as a songwriter and supplying her with some catchy backing tracks.
Indeed, so catchy were these tracks that they eventually landed Allen a deal with Regal Records, a division of Parlophone/EMI, in 2005. Regal Records gave Allen £25,000 to produce an album. But beyond financials, they were unable to provide much support, in part due to their preoccupation with other releases, such as the Gorillaz’s ‘Demon Days’ and Coldplay’s ‘X & Y’.
Frustrated by the slow pace of the music industry and never one to take a back seat, Allen began posting demos on her MySpace page in 2005, including the singles ‘Smile’ and ‘LDN’, and embarked on a series of performances in Notting Hill’s Yo-Yo nightclub in 2006, all in the quest to get her name out there.
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 number one on the UK Albums Chart and the Australian ARIA Charts and was appreciated by the critics, noting the singer’s musical evolution and maturity.
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”.
It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride for the pop star, who’s managed to cram more events into her twenty-something years than most people do in a lifetime. This might explain why the new decade – 2010 – ushered in a new, more discrete Lily Allen. She left MySpace in September of the previous year, followed by other social networking sites soon after. She then announced plans to leave the music industry entirely, after her 2010 tour, and concentrate instead on her record label and fashion shop.
Lily Allen’s rebel attitude and huge popularity make her the perfect choice for a number of endorsement projects.