For Lana Del Rey, fame isn’t found in Grammy nominations, in being the face of Gucci, or being named artist of the decade by Variety. Instead, one of America’s most influential singer-songwriters locates success in the popularity of a recent show — not in New York, her hometown state, nor in Los Angeles, her muse — but in Arkansas.
Del Rey reveals the moment she knew she made it big: She had been booked to play the Walmart ampitheater in Rogers, Arkansas, and the show had sold out in hours, leaving thousands of fans waiting in the online queue to buy tickets. She didn’t realize how popular she was in the state until after the show, when she went to a tavern and the waitress showed her a screenshot of the queue — revealing she was number 80,000.
“‘When I saw that, that’s when I knew—it’s the moment,’ Del Rey said. The defining moment for you? I ask her. ‘Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.’ Really? Out of everything? ‘Anything that’s ever happened in my whole life,’ she says definitively. ‘That’s it.’”
Del Rey has long had a kinship with the American South. Over the summer, she was seen waitressing at a Waffle House in Alabama. (A fact that real Lana heads can’t hear without “White Dress” pumping through our heads: “I was a waitress/ Wearing a white dress” which she sings in a crystalline falsetto on the Chemtrails over the Country Club track.)
Del Rey’s day job was uncovered after a fan spotted her at the Waffle House, and posted a photo of them together on her Facebook. “She was there, wearing a uniform and everything,” the fan told AL.com. “It was a bit surreal.”
But the affect of Del Rey punching a time card isn’t the same as a pandering politician trying to score the Democratic nomination. After all, it’s Americana — not just that centered in Brentwood, but in the entire contiguous country — is Del Rey’s truest muse.
The South was also the focus of Del Rey’s fall tour: In very Lana fashion, the shows skipped major cities and markets — there were no New York City or Los Angeles dates — and largely kept within the southern regions of the country, hitting Texas, Alabama, Florida, West Virginia, and North Carolina, among other states.
A large section of the Harpers Bazaar story focuses on Del Rey’s home: A home so modest it freaked out a former boyfriend who didn’t want to hang out there. (“I feel like even the most chill guy doesn’t really want to chill here,” Del Rey said in the interview. “That was actually the end of a relationship.”) But you know who would? The people of Arkansas, the writer suggests. “‘That’s it,” she affirms when I suggest this connection. ‘And that sums it all up with a period.’”