Pop sensation. Voice of her generation. Fashion designer. Political activist. Fall-down drunk. Queen of MySpace. Exhibitionist. Primadonna. Style icon. Celebrity daughter. Paparazzi prey. Party starter. Princess. Contrary, contradictory, occasionally catty, always compelling, Allen is Britain’s most consistently engaged and engaging pop star, as well as one of our most successful.
She first commandeered the public stage in July 2006, a fully formed phenomenon with a song that would help define that summer, the hugely infectious ‘Smile’, her first CD single and her first UK number one - a breezy, lilting, ska-inflected slice of perfect pop distinguished by sugar-sweet vocals and unflinchingly autobiographical lyrics. Later, ‘Smile’ would win a BMI songwriting award - not bad for a first attempt.
‘LDN’ was, if anything, even more insidious and distinctive: a faux-naïve, text-spelt, profane paean to the city of her birth in all its grimy glory. Her debut album ‘Alright, Still’ sold 2.5 million records, broke into the Billboard top 20 in America, earned Allen five BRIT nominations and a triumphant spot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2007.
On her second album, ‘It’s Not Me, Its’ You’ a new sound had emerged: darker perhaps, definitely dancier, clearly more mature. ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ was unmistakably Lily: bracing home truths and pungent social commentary delivered in the voice of an angel.
Lily returned to the studio in 2013 following a three year hiatus, and shot to the top of the UK singles chart with her cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, whilst new single ‘Hard Out Here’ also charted in Top 10 that same week. May 2014 saw the release of her third studio album 'Sheezus'.