is the 21 year old strange glint in her eyes singer/writer who has been tearing up the web at a rate of knots. Born in Hammersmith, Lily grew up fast. When Allen speaks of her youth she says, "I was very lonely actually. I went to 13 different schools so never had time to make enduring friendships. Music became a lifeline to me."
"I listened to punk, ska and reggae when I grew up, courtesy of my parents' record collections. We moved around London – Shepherds Bush, Bloomsbury, Islington, and I absorbed all the music around me. I got expelled from various schools and was sent to boarding school as they thought it would be a restraining influence, but I ran away to Glastonbury and other places when I was 14. I was into jungle and drum and bass. It was obvious I didn't like authority. I guess I knew from an early age that I could never do a job where I'd have to sit in an office all day long".
Lily finally left school at 15 when it became obvious her creative needs were not being met. "I always read a lot. It was frustrating moving schools so much because I always felt I couldn't articulate my feelings as much as I wanted to. Books and music helped me do that. I became obsessed by quite arcane subjects, like second world war evacuation stories and books about 18th century aristocracy. I started to feel like I could have a voice. But I wanted to write about my own world in an entertaining way. So I did."
Lily's incisive lyrical observations belie her years. "A lot of female artists, and male ones for that matter, are boring singers who don't say anything. Certainly not to my generation. With the kind of music I do you have to be direct and quite literal. I don't play an instrument, which really makes me focus on the vocal melody, and the lyrics are incredibly important to me. I don't want to be part of a scene – the whole idea of that makes me feel sick – and most of the music I listen to is by outsider figures, which is where I feel happiest."
Lily's current listening is not that of an average 20 year old. Even a cursory glimpse at her site shows a breathtaking appreciation of diverse music. Listed amongst a host of current and unsigned dance artists are names like The Specials, Rip Rig and Panic, T.Rex
("possibly the best band ever, ever!") The Slits
and Wreckless Eric. Oh, and Kate Bush
"when she was my age", Prince
Lily signed to Parlophone in December. "Since then it's gone mad. The online support I got for my music grew quickly, then the next thrill was hearing it on the radio. The reaction has been so positive it's left me reeling a bit. But I'm happy and I know the songs can live up to people's expectations. I chose to make LDN a low key 7" release to start things at a decent level – also I know that all the songs on the album are so strong that we have loads more singles in the bag".
Watch Lily Allen's "Smile" video:Windows Hi
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