Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper (née Allen; born 2 May 1985), known professionally as Lily Allen,
is an English singer, songwriter, actress, and television presenter. She is the daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. Allen left school when she was 15 and concentrated on improving her performing and compositional skills. In 2005, she made some of her recordings public on Myspace and the publicity resulted in airplay on BBC Radio 1 and a contract with Regal Recordings.
Her first mainstream single, “Smile”, reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in July 2006. Her debut record, Alright, Still, was well received, selling over 2.6 million copies worldwide and brought Allen a nomination at the Grammy Awards, Brit Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. She began hosting her own talk-show, Lily Allen and Friends, on BBC Three.
Her second studio album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, saw a genre shift, 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 well received by critics, noting the singer’s musical evolution and maturity. It spawned the hit singles “The Fear” and “Fuck You”. This success saw her receive the Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist at the 2010 Brit Awards. Allen and Amy Winehouse were credited with starting a process that led to the “year of the women” media label in 2009 that saw five female artists making music of “experimentalism and fearlessness” nominated for the Mercury Prize.
In 2009, Allen announced that she would be taking a hiatus from musical activities. In 2011, she launched her own record label. In 2013, Allen revealed that she had begun working on her third studio album, which was later titled Sheezus. On 12 November 2013, Allen premiered the video for her first original song since 2009, “Hard out Here”, which was released as a single five days later.
Allen was born in Hammersmith, west London, daughter of Keith Allen, a Welsh-born comedian, and film producer Alison Owen. She has an older sister, Sarah; a younger brother, actor Alfie (who was the subject of her song “Alfie”); and a younger sister, Rebecca. She is the goddaughter of Wild Colonials vocalist Angela McCluskey. She is the third-cousin of singer Sam Smith.
At age three Allen appeared on The Comic Strip Presents… episode “The Yob”, which her father had co-written. When she was four, her father left the family. During her early childhood, Allen lived with her family on a council estate.
They later settled in Islington. For a time, the family lived with comedian Harry Enfield while her mother dated him. The Clash singer and guitarist Joe Strummer was close to Allen.
She attended 13 schools, 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. This led to Allen singing “Baby Mine” from Disney’s Dumbo at a school concert.
Allen told 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. She played piano to grade 5 standard and achieved Grade 8 in singing. She played violin, guitar and trumpet and was a member of a chamber choir. Her first solo was “In the Bleak Midwinter”. She appeared as a lady-in-waiting in the 1998 film Elizabeth, which was co-produced by her mother. She dropped out of school at age fifteen, not wanting to “spend a third of her life preparing to work for the next third of her life, to set herself up with a pension for the next third of her life.”
Their British Hit Singles, years, and top positions are:
- Littlest Things – 2006 – 21
- Cheryl Tweedy – 2006 – 153
- Absolutely Nothing – 2006 – 136
- Alfie – 2007 – 15
- Shame for You – 2007 –
- Oh My God (Mark Ronson) – 2007 – 8
- Drivin’ Me Wild (Common) – 2007 – 56
- The Fear – 2008 – 1
- Not Fair – 2009 – 5
- Fuck You – 2009 – 104
- 22! – 2009 – 14
- Who’d Have Known – 2009 – 39
- Beds Are Burning (Various Artists) – 2009
- Everyone’s at It – 2009 – 117
- Just Be Good to Green (Professor Green) – 2010 – 5
- Back to the Start – 2010
- 5 O’Clock (T-Pain featuring Wiz Khalifa) – 2011 – 6
- Somewhere Only We Know – 2013 – 1
- Hard out Here – 2013 – 9
- True Love (Pink) – 2013 – 16
- Dream a Little Dream (Robbie Williams) – 2013 – 144
- Air Balloon – 2014 – 7
- Our Time – 2014 – 43
- URL Badman – 2014 – 93
- As Long as I Got You – 2014
- Sheezus – 2014 – 113
- L8 CMMR – 2014
Info from Wikipedia