Madison Beer and Lana Del Rey Meet Again
THURSDAY 1 pm APRIL 13, 2023 LA
Madison Beer is used to being approached by fans, but when Lana Del Rey came up to her at Urth Caffé to fangirl over her music, it left the 24-year-old Gen Z superstar borderline speechless. Today, they meet again, and this time, they’ve got plenty of ground to cover.
LANA DEL REY: Hi!
MADISON BEER: What’s up? How are you?
DEL REY: I’m good. I’m excited to see you. You know I love you so much.
BEER: I love you so much.
DEL REY: We ran into each other at a coffee shop.
BEER: That was literally the craziest experience of my life. I’ve told a couple people that story and I was just like, “I can’t even describe how taken off guard I was.” It was refreshing to meet someone that I’ve looked up to my entire life and have them be so sweet and amazing.
DEL REY: It is nice when you meet someone you look up to and you’re like, “Thank god they’re not an asshole.”
BEER: I was literally thinking that.
DEL REY: I was with my best friend, Jen, and I was like, “I think that’s Madison over there.” She was like, “Go talk to her.” I was like, “I can’t. I listen to her music. I like her.” We ended up walking up to your table, and I was like, “Hi. I’m a big fan.”
BEER: And I was like, “Hi. What’s happening right now?” I couldn’t believe it.
DEL REY: I like to tell that story because you were as beautiful in person as you are in your pictures, and as lovely as you could be. I read the little bio they sent me, it was relatable, but I thought we could start off light.
BEER: Let’s do it.
DEL REY: Okay. What’s your star sign?
BEER: I’m a Pisces.
DEL REY: What’s your favorite color?
BEER: It changes a lot. Right now, it’s yellow.
DEL REY: Why yellow?
BEER: I don’t know. I feel like it’s a happy color.
DEL REY: Okay. What’s your ideal day?
BEER: My ideal day is just bouncing around to 100 vintage shops. In the last two years, I’ve created a hobby out of collecting vintage books because I have way too many clothes at this point. I collect weird little trinkets, antiques and stuff.
DEL REY: I love that. Okay, I’m going to ask you a clichéd question. If you could have told yourself something ten years ago, what would it be?
BEER: There’s a lot that I could say in regards to traumas, people I should have avoided, or relationships I shouldn’t have gotten into. I could obviously say, “Stay away from this,” or, “Don’t go there,” but the biggest thing I would tell myself is to slow down a little bit. I was in a really big rush to grow up. All the things that I endured made me who I am today, but I would pump the brakes a little.
DEL REY: Yeah. I’d slow down, but then I’d be like, “I should be speeding up.” Can you feel where you’ll be in ten years?
BEER: No. I’ve lived so much in the last ten years that I can’t imagine what’s going to happen next. I know I’m only 24, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to say that my intentions and my priorities have changed. I just hope that I still have this peace within me. I hope that I continue to gain wisdom through experiences and make music I’m proud of, if that’s what I decide to do. I want to make sure I’m just doing what my heart tells me, that’s my main goal.
DEL REY: Staying in touch with your gut instinct. I like that.
BEER: Ten years ago, it was like, “I want to be a huge star.” That’s great, but now there’s a lot more that’s important to me.
DEL REY: You have a dream, you do everything you can to accomplish it, and once you reach a certain point and get uncomfortable, you feel free enough to pivot so that you can change your day or your life.
DEL REY: The world always rewards me for either clearing things off my plate or adding things in that enrich my intuition. But it’s a solo endeavor, unless you have really good friends who are trying to do the same thing. Okay, for the next part, I’m going to go off-camera. I listened to your entire record twice, and I think it’s so beautiful. It was super unexpected. The first track kind of gave me Skeeter Davis vibes. Like “The End of The World,” which I’ve sung.
BEER: That’s one of my favorite songs of all time.
DEL REY: I love it. All of the melody changes were so beautiful. Was that a producer’s decision, or did you know you wanted to keep on twisting and turning in that chorus?
BEER: I’ve always loved songs where you don’t know where they’re headed. I like to approach songwriting with these weird chord progressions, whatever that means. But for that one, I was lyrically inspired by “Yesterday,” by The Beatles.
DEL REY: I heard a lot of Beatles influence throughout the whole thing, amongst about six other influences. I’m so on that ’60s, ’50s tip. I thought it was the perfect record.
BEER: Thank you so much. You’re one of those six references, so I really appreciate that. I don’t want to copy anything or pull too much direct inspiration, but if people hear my music and say, “Obviously, you’re a huge Lana fan”—Beatles, Tame Impala, The Zombies, whatever—I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but in my earlier years, it felt like I could never admit who I was inspired by.
DEL REY: Yeah. That was 100 percent the culture. I was nervous to say that Cat Power was an inspiration for me because I knew some of my low-toned songs sounded a lot like her.
BEER: But back to your question, my executive producer is on everything with me. We’ve been working together since my first album. He’s so amazing and so collaborative, and we make all the decisions together. It’s so nice to have that relationship with someone.
DEL REY: I didn’t look it up, but I was like, “This has to be someone that grew with her.” But it really, really sounds like a pinnacle record. I remember when I made Norman [Fucking] Rockwell!, I thought, “This is the best record I’ve made.” When you listen to this record and you hear yourself, what are you thinking about?
BEER: I feel very proud of it. I had actually turned in the album a couple of months ago, and I had a lot of pressure on me to get it done. There were like five songs on it that I didn’t think were good enough. They didn’t feel like they belonged there.
DEL REY: Yeah.
BEER: But I was like, “If I don’t listen to myself and release a record I’m not 100 percent proud of, that’s going to sit with me much longer than any guilt I’ll feel from making this decision.” So I just said, “I have to come back in and redo some of these songs. If it doesn’t work, then fine, but I have to try.” We got five of my favorite records on the album.
DEL REY: I love your voice on it. There’s an earnestness in the songs, but you kind of step back and fall into a more playful spot too. I was like, “Oof. These are some gorgeous vocals.”
BEER: Thank you.
DEL REY: I was wondering what the song “Ryder” was about.
BEER: That’s about my little brother, Ryder. He’s such a huge part of my life. He’s been with me through everything, and with a lot of therapy in the last couple of years, I’ve been able to acknowledge some of my own guilt surrounding him, because I had a lot of that. For a long time, I forced him into this shadow behind me without meaning to. I made my life seem more important than his, whether it’s with family or in the public. I felt really guilty for that, and I didn’t know how to deal with it or express it. I had that lyric, “Just two kids caught in the crossfire,” in my head for some reason.
DEL REY: That definitely stood out. How old is he?
BEER: He’ll be 21 two weeks from now.
DEL REY: When I was younger I remember thinking, “If my siblings can’t come with me, I’m not going anywhere. I have to do whatever it takes to make sure that they thrive.” It’s a beautiful sentiment.
BEER: It’s important.
DEL REY: I didn’t know that you had written—would we call it a memoir [The Half of It: A Memoir]?
DEL REY: I can’t imagine writing a full-length book, but I love writing short poems. How long had you been thinking about telling your story before you wrote it, and how do you feel about having it out?
BEER: I really wanted to do it because there’s been so many things thrown around about me over the years, whether it’s misconceptions, misjudgments, whatever. I never felt like going on Instagram Live or posting a TikTok was appropriate for the things I wanted to explain. Quite frankly, I don’t think that most people care, so I wanted to do something that was like, “If you do care, here’s a place where you can learn about me.”
DEL REY: Right.
BEER: I didn’t write this book to get pity from people, but there’s conversations in the book that I think need to be had, like about how I felt unprotected on the internet when I was 14 years old, how no one cared that I was a minor, let alone a child.
DEL REY: When you were that young, what gave you the platform to be able to be online expressing yourself in all those different ways?
BEER: I was discovered really young. I was signed and moved to L.A. when I was 12. Ever since then, I’ve grown up online.
DEL REY: Growing up online is such a weird idea to me. I grew up online in my own way, but I was not 14. The internet hit everyone at the exact same time, with different platforms coming up, starting with Twitter, then Instagram, then Snapchat, then TikTok. Everyone was learning about themselves and about these cross-sections of humanity at the same time. But to be 14 when it was happening–
DEL REY: Did you feel like you had support from family and friends?
BEER: I did, but I don’t think anyone around me was able to grasp how young I was, and how cautious we should have been about certain things.
DEL REY: Especially because you looked a little older, in your own way, through styling and in terms of the way people dress now, which is so different from 20 years ago.
BEER: So different.
DEL REY: I feel like you have to share whatever you want, and then just be like, “Okay. I did that.” It takes the pressure off. Hopefully we’re moving into a place where people can digest things, absorb them, and move on. Ten years ago, writing a memoir could define you. Now, it can just be a part of your story, and you can keep making music. The culture is in a very warm place right now for people to express themselves, or at least a lot warmer than it was when you were 14.
BEER: I agree. People are a little more understanding of each other. What I experienced online, whether it was mass cyberbullying or having nude photos leaked when I was a minor, things like that wouldn’t happen today. Especially not on the scale that they did.
DEL REY: Definitely not the nude photos leaking. That would’ve been something that you would be completely supported in and people would call a crime, which it is.
BEER: Which they wouldn’t at the time. I want to be able to show other artists, and just females in general, that we have to be there for each other, and we have to love one another. Life is too short for envy.
DELREY: I really, really love when the singers I love do well. We probably all need to have a book club. I’ll choose the members. You can lead the meeting, but I’ll be the gatekeeper.
DEL REY: There are so many beautiful personalities out there. When I was talking to Billie [Eilish] I said, “You don’t need to be a good person to become a good singer.” But when you get the unique blend of someone who has a good heart and a good voice, there’s absolutely nothing like it. Anytime you feel like you don’t have all the answers, you can fall back on having good intentions, a good heart, and a good fucking voice. And the nice thing about having a great voice is you can take that anywhere you go. You can’t always take a guitar into the bathroom.
DEL REY: I try and remember my blessings every time I get worried, because the amount of polarizing information that was out there for the last 13 years was wild. When I read something about myself I don’t like in a publication, I call them. It doesn’t mean that it changes, but I have my own voice and my own opinion. I’m not afraid of being what some people would consider hotheaded or rude, because that’s how I feel.
DEL REY: It can feel painful to be misunderstood, but once you get through it, as long as you persist, there’s no wrong way to do it. Listening to the album and reading what the memoir was about, I feel like you’re going to continue to feel less and less pressure, because the more information you have out about yourself, the easier it’s going to get. I’ll just end with a couple of fun questions since you’ve got to go. If you hadn’t become a singer, what do you think you would’ve done?
BEER: I would’ve definitely gone to college to study psychology. I probably would’ve ended up becoming some sort of therapist.
DEL REY: I could see that. Where are you at right now? How are you feeling?
BEER: I’m feeling really good. I’m mentally and emotionally at the best place I’ve ever been. I feel so sure of myself. I feel confident in the music. I’ve grown a lot in the last two years. I’m grateful that I can go to bed at night proud of the person that I’ve become, because there were moments when I hated the person I was, when I didn’t believe that I was going to come out the other side.
DEL REY: I love that. And the very last question. When are we going to meet back up for coffee at Urth Caffé?
BEER: Whenever you want. Literally, whenever. I have to see you again soon.
DEL REY: Okay, good. I’m going to give you a call in the next few days, and I’m honored to interview you. Congratulations on everything. You absolutely deserve it.
BEER: Thank you. I adore you and I would not be me without you. Thank you so much for everything. I’m honored that you did this. It’s ridiculous.
DEL REY: Back at you.
Hair: Sonny Molina using Davines at Streeters
Makeup: Frankie Boyd using The Outset at Streeters
Nails: Nori Yamanaka using Chanel at See Management
Photography: Assistant Brandon Abreu
Fashion Assistants: Fern Cerezo and Mia Fonte.