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Lily Allen

Singer / Songwriter from London

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Somewhere Only We Know

Lily Allen

Lily Allen Biography

Lily Rose Beatrice Allen is an English singer, songwriter, actress and author. She is the daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. Her music career began in 2005 when she made some of her vocal 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 bringing Allen nominations at the Grammy Awards, the Brit Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards.Early life Allen was born in Hammersmith, West London, the daughter of Keit...
Lily Rose Beatrice Allen is an English singer, songwriter, actress and author. She is the daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. Her music career began in 2005 when she made some of her vocal 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 bringing Allen nominations at the Grammy Awards, the Brit Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards.

Early life

Allen was born in Hammersmith, West London, the daughter of Keith Allen, a Welsh-born comedian, and film producer Alison Owen. She has an older sister, Sarah; a younger brother, actor Alfie (subject of her song "Alfie"); and a younger sister, Rebecca. Allen's mother was from a working class Portsmouth family, and was 17 when she gave birth to Sarah. Her family were devout Catholics. Allen is the goddaughter of Wild Colonials vocalist Angela McCluskey and third-cousin of singer Sam Smith.

At the age of three, Allen appeared in 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 that time, the family lived with comedian Harry Enfield while her mother dated him. The Clash singer and guitarist Joe Strummer was close to Allen.

Allen attended 13 schools, including Prince Charles's junior alma mater, the Independent Hill House School, Millfield, Bedales School and was expelled from several of them for drinking and smoking. When Allen was eleven, 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 the piano to grade 5 standard and achieved grade 8 in singing. Allen also 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. That same year, Allen appeared in the music video to the Fat Les song "Vindaloo". 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."


2002–2005: Career beginnings

When her family went to Ibiza on holiday, Allen told her mother that she was staying with friends but remained in Sant Antoni de Portmany instead. She earned money by working at a Plastic Fantastic record store and dealing ecstasy. Allen met her first manager, George Lamb in Ibiza. She was rejected by several labels, which she attributed to her drinking and being the daughter of Keith Allen. She eventually used her father's connections to get signed to London Records in 2002. When the executive who had signed her left, the label lost interest and she left without releasing the folk songs[which?] many of which were written by her father. She then studied horticulture to become a florist, but changed her mind and returned to music. Allen began writing songs, while her manager introduced her to production duo Future Cut in 2004. They worked in a small studio in the basement of an office building.

In 2005, Allen was signed to Regal Recordings; they gave her £25,000 to produce an album, though they were unable to provide much support for it due to their preoccupation with other releases such as X&Y (Coldplay) and Demon Days (Gorillaz). Allen then created an account on MySpace and began posting demos that she recorded in November 2005. The demos attracted thousands of listeners, and 500 limited edition 7-inch vinyl singles of "LDN" were rush-released, reselling for as much as £40. Allen also produced two mixtapes – My First Mixtape and My Second Mixtape – to promote her work. As she accumulated tens of thousands of MySpace friends, The Observer Music Monthly (OMM), a magazine published in The Observer, took interest in March 2006. Few people outside of her label's A&R department knew who she was, so the label was slow in responding to publications wanting to report about her. She received her first major mainstream coverage, appearing in the magazine's cover story two months later.

2006–2008: Alright, Still

Allen in 2007

The success convinced her label to allow her more creative control over the album and to use some of the songs that she had written instead of forcing her to work with mainstream producers. Allen decided to work with producers Greg Kurstin and Mark Ronson, finishing the rest of the album in two weeks. Allen's debut album, Alright, Still, was released in July 2006. Most of the tracks had been previewed on her MySpace page, including the singles "Smile", "LDN", "Knock 'Em Out", and "Alfie". In September 2006, "Smile" was made available on the US version of iTunes Store. By December 2006, her music video for Smile had been played on various music channels as well as the song getting a little airplay. Entertainment Weekly named Alright, Still as one of the top 10 albums of 2006 despite the fact that it had not yet been released in the US. Allen also did several promotional ads for MTV as their Discover and Download artist of the month for January 2007. The album was released in the US on 30 January 2007, landing at 20 on the Billboard 200. By January 2009, the album had sold 960,000 copies in the UK and 520,000 copies in the US.

In 2007, she played the newly launched Park Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, replacing MIA who had cancelled. During the festival she reunited two members of The Specials, an act that guitarist Lynval Golding claimed played a "massive part" in the group's 2009 reunion. She also sang the vocals on the top ten single, "Oh My God", a cover of the Kaiser Chiefs song by Mark Ronson. On 1 July 2007, Allen appeared at the Concert for Diana held at Wembley Stadium, London to celebrate the life of Princess Diana. She sang "LDN" and "Smile". Allen's single "Littlest Things" from her album produced by Ronson, helped earn him a "Producer of the Year – Non Classical" 2008 Grammy Award. She also provided background vocals to a couple of songs on the Kaiser Chiefs' third album in 2008. Allen won a 2008 BMI songwriting award for "Smile".

Allen later performed at a benefit concert for War Child, an international child protection agency that works with children affected by war. Backed by Keane, Allen sang "Smile" and "Everybody's Changing".

2008–2011: It's Not Me, It's You and musical hiatus

Allen performing at the Sziget Festival in August 2009

After the release of her first album, her parent record company, EMI, was taken over by Terra Firma. She also changed her management company from Empire Artist Management to Twenty-First Artists, although her core team remained in place. At the urging of her record company, Allen tried unsuccessfully to create the album with several writers and producers. Allen eventually returned to Greg Kurstin who had written three songs for Alright, Still. The album was produced by Kurstin at Eagle Rock Studios in Los Angeles. Before returning to Kus, Allen co-wrote the songs for the album with Kurstin who played piano on it. This is a change from her earlier work in which she wrote lyrics for finished tracks. Allen released a statement saying "We decided to try and make bigger sounding, more ethereal songs, real songs ... I wanted to work with one person from start to finish to make it one body of work. I wanted it to feel like it had some sort of integrity. I think I've grown up a bit as a person and I hope it reflects that." She posted two new song demos on her MySpace page and planned to release a mixtape to give her fans an idea of what the new direction was. [citation needed]

Allen cancelled a scheduled appearance at the 2008 Isle of Wight Festival, telling festival promoter John Giddings the reason for the cancellation was that her album was behind schedule. Giddings said that the reason given was not acceptable and possibly a lie. Giddings decided not to sue her. Photos of her drunk and topless in the Cannes Film Festival were also widely covered in the press. Her appearance at the 2008 Glamour Awards also generated criticism, as she showed up intoxicated wearing a dress covered in decapitated Bambi figures, and had an on-stage, expletive-laced exchange with Elton John. On 29 June 2008, Allen performed at the Glastonbury Festival alongside producer Mark Ronson. An emotional Allen dedicated her performance of "Littlest Things" to her grandmother who died the night before. It's Not Me, It's You was first scheduled for an early 2008 release, but her miscarriage and creative issues delayed the release date to the autumn. During autumn 2008, EMI was undergoing restructuring. Due to this environment, a decision was made to move the album's eventual release date. An online game, Escape the Fear, was created by Matmi as part of the viral marketing campaign targeted at people unaware of Allen or the album. Since its release, "The Game" has topped the worldwide viral charts three times, including the week of Christmas—a highly contested time of the year. By 18 February 2009, "The Game" had been played over two million times. The singer and The Clash guitarist Mick Jones performed The Clash's song "Straight to Hell" on an album for the charity Heroes.

Allen performing at the INmusic festival in Zagreb, Croatia, 24 June 2009

It's Not Me, It's You was released in February 2009. It debuted at the number 1 position in the UK, Canada, and Australia and the number 5 position in the United States. The album has been certified platinum in the United Kingdom. The release of the album was a factor in EMI more than trebling their earnings. The first single from the album, "The Fear", was number 1 for the first four weeks in the UK after its release. The second single released from the album, "Not Fair", reached the number 9 position. She began her It's Not Me, It's You World Tour in March, touring throughout the next two years until September 2010. Her work on this album with Greg Kurstin earned her the Songwriters of the Year at the 2010 Ivor Novello Awards. In addition, she won with Kurstin Best Song Musically and Lyrically and Most Performed Work for "The Fear". Allen appeared overwhelmed by this recognition from what she considered "real awards". In October 2010, Allen won her second BMI Pop Song Award by the United States music licensing organisation Broadcast Music Incorporated for extensive United States radio airplay of her song, "The Fear".

Allen and Jamie Hince, guitarist for The Kills, raised £48,350 for the children's charity The Hoping Foundation. The pair sang "Dream a Little Dream of Me" at a karaoke auction fundraiser.

In September 2009, Allen announced that she was considering a career in acting, that she would not renew her record contract, and that she had "no plans" to make another record. In September 2010, she gave her last performance for two and a half years, supporting Muse at Wembley Stadium in London, England. She featured on the UK top five single, "Just Be Good to Green" by Professor Green in June 2010. The following month, she started writing songs for the musical version of Bridget Jones's Diary which was scheduled to open in London's West End in 2012. Also in 2011, T-Pain used a verse from Allen's "Who'd Have Known" as the chorus to the song "5 O'Clock", which became the second single from his album Revolver. The song, which also features Wiz Khalifa, was released in September 2011, and reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it Allen's first Top 10 single in the United States.

2012–2018: Sheezus and No Shame

In June 2012, Allen confirmed she was in the studio working with Greg Kurstin on new music. She later changed her professional name from Lily Allen to Lily Rose Cooper and appeared on the track "True Love" on Pink's sixth studio album, The Truth About Love, released in September 2012. In February 2013, she performed live at a Paris fashion show produced by Mark Ronson in what she called her "mumback", and foreshadowed the release of a new album "inspired by her experiences of motherhood" by the end of 2013. In August 2013, she changed her professional name back to Lily Allen and tweeted new music would be arriving "soon".

In November 2013, Allen recorded a cover of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" for the John Lewis Christmas advert with a portion of the song's sales earnings donated to Save the Children's Philippine Typhoon Appeal campaign. Released as a download single, it reached number one in the UK singles chart on 24 November. On 12 November 2013, Allen premiered the video for her new song "Hard Out Here" on her official website. The song was released as a download the following week and entered the UK singles chart at number nine, giving Allen two simultaneous top ten hit singles. In December 2013, Allen was announced as one of the newest signees at Warner Bros. Records due to Warner Music Group acquiring Parlophone from Universal Music Group in May 2013. On 13 January 2014, the song "Air Balloon" was premiered on BBC Radio 1 and was released on 2 March 2014, as the second single from Allen's third studio album Sheezus. The album was released on 5 May 2014. Allen performed at the Glastonbury Festival 2014.

Allen performing in March 2018

Following the release of Sheezus (2014), Allen had an "identity crisis". She did not enjoy the music she was being asked to create and believed people within the music industry were controlling her musical choices. Allen mentioned on the podcast News Roast that she is working on a new album, which will mainly deal with herself, her relationship with her children, the breakdown of her marriage, substance abuse, etc. Allen has been working with Mark Ronson. In late 2017, Allen uploaded numerous songs online in preparation for the album, including the track titled "Family Man". When conceiving the album Allen wanted to work through her problems via music. Allen decided to do this because she felt that people are often led "by outside forces" when they are trying to express themselves – something she wanted to explore when creating No Shame.

Later that year, in December, a song called "Trigger Bang" was leaked and featured rapper Giggs. On 24 January 2018 Allen announced her new album will be called No Shame. The album was released 8 June 2018. No Shame was nominated for a Mercury Prize, with the album being one of 12 to be shortlisted for the award. An electropop album, No Shame takes influence from dancehall and reggae, and features confessional lyrics that discuss the breakdown of Allen's marriage and friendships, maternal guilt, substance abuse, along with social and political issues. Upon release No Shame was met with generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised the album's mature lyrical content and themes, Allen's artistic evolution, the composition and production. The album peaked at number eight on the UK Albums Chart, it reached the top 40 on the New Zealand and Irish charts and became Allen's fourth consecutive top 10 album in Australia. To promote the album, Allen embarked on her worldwide No Shame Tour.

Other ventures

Allen signed a one series contract to present her own BBC Three TV show titled Lily Allen and Friends based on the social networking phenomenon that helped to launch her music career. Guests included Mark Ronson, Joanna Page, James Corden, Lauren Laverne, Roisin Murphy, Louis Walsh, and Danny Dyer. The show attracted only 2 per cent of the total multi-channel audience despite a high-profile nationwide marketing campaign. Citing Allen's rapid development as a TV host and her popularity among its target audience BBC Three announced it was renewing Lily Allen and Friends for a second season. BBC Three controller Danny Cohen later said that the show would not air in the spring of 2009 as originally scheduled because of music commitments.

In 2009, Allen was named the face of the National Portrait Gallery as part of the gallery's marketing campaign. The picture was photographed by Nadav Kander emblazoned with the words, "vocalist, lyricist, florist". Karl Lagerfeld, the head designer for Chanel personally hired and photographed Allen for a campaign to promote a luxury line of handbags due to launch in September 2009. Allen and her sister opened their own clothing store titled "Lucy in Disguise" on 15 September 2010. Allen did not entirely abandon music during this period, in which she focused on starting her family. In January 2011, she launched her own record label, In the Name Of, with financial backing from Sony Music. In May 2016, Allen announced the launch of her second record label, Bank Holiday Records. British-American R&B singer Celeste was one of the first artists to sign to the label.

On 20 September 2018, Allen published the memoir My Thoughts Exactly with Blink Publishing. It was nominated for the FutureBook Campaign of the Year. The book is one of seven chosen by the Evening Standard as the "best celebrity memoirs of 2018". It is one of nine books listed under the "Showbusiness" category of The Guardian's best books of 2018.

In October 2020, Allen worked with the sex tech company Womanizer to create her own sex toy called "Liberty", a clitoral pump. She is the chief liberation officer at Womanizer and is heading up their #IMasturbate campaign which encourages women to embrace their own sexuality. Liberty was positively reviewed in The Independent and Mashable. The product sucks and massages the clitoris without making direct contact, using sonic waves to induce sexual pleasure. It is waterproof and has six different intensity levels. Allen had previously recommended Womanizer's products in her autobiography My Thoughts Exactly.

In June 2021, Allen announced that she would be playing the lead role of Jenny in the West End play 2:22 A Ghost Story alongside Julia Chan, Hadley Fraser and Jake Wood at the Noël Coward Theatre from 3 August 2021. The play, directed by Matthew Dunster and written by Danny Robins saw Allen debut in August 2021. Reviewing the play for The Independent, Annabel Nugent wrote, "Allen is superb as Jenny. Exhaustion thrums a fraction below her palpable fear – just visible enough in her performance to have you questioning Jenny’s version of events. And while it may be Allen who everyone has come to see, she isn’t bearing the weight alone".

Relationships and children

Allen began dating musician Ed Simons of the Chemical Brothers in September 2007, and in December, Allen announced that she and Simons were expecting a child. Allen announced that she suffered a miscarriage in January 2008. However, in her 2018 memoir My Thoughts Exactly, Allen writes that she "fake[d]" the miscarriage due to fears over how tabloids would report the story. After five months of dating, Allen's relationship with Simons ended. Allen has stated that she spent three weeks in a psychiatric clinic due to depression.

In July 2009, Allen began dating Sam Cooper, a builder and decorator. On 5 August 2010, Allen announced that she was pregnant with her and Cooper's first child, later confirmed to be a boy, due early in 2011. She experienced complications early in the pregnancy, including "about a week and a half of really heavy bleeding." In late October, six months into her pregnancy, Allen contracted a viral infection which caused her to suffer a stillbirth, announced on 1 November. On 6 November, Allen was admitted to a hospital, where she responded well to treatment for septicaemia. In February 2017, Allen explained that she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after the stillbirth.

Allen and Cooper became engaged in December 2010 while on holiday in Bali. They wed on 11 June 2011 at St. James Church in Cranham, Gloucestershire, England. The designer of Allen's wedding dress confirmed she was several months pregnant on the wedding day. Allen gave birth to her daughter, Ethel Mary, in 2011. She gave birth to her second daughter, Marnie Rose, in 2013, following which she experienced postnatal depression.

On 2 September 2018, Allen posted on Instagram that she had had sex with female escorts in 2014 whilst married to Cooper, and whilst on tour promoting Sheezus. Allen had included details of these events in her book My Thoughts Exactly, and said that she made the Instagram post as the Daily Mail were planning to publish an article about it the following day. Saying that "I'm not proud, but I'm not ashamed", Allen has linked the events to her postnatal depression and the breakdown of her marriage. Allen has criticised the press for portraying the events as a "lesbian prostitute sex romp".

In My Thoughts Exactly, Allen writes that she had an affair with Liam Gallagher when he was married to Nicole Appleton. In mid-2015, Allen and Cooper broke up, after she told him about her acts of infidelity. In June 2018, it was publicly announced that a "friendly divorce" from Cooper had been finalised and they would share custody of their children.

Allen began a relationship with actor David Harbour in 2019. They made their red carpet debut during the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. A day after they obtained their marriage certificate, they got married on 7 September 2020 in Las Vegas, in a wedding that was officiated by an Elvis impersonator.


Allen considers herself to be a socialist. Although she is a staunch supporter of the Labour Party, she was credited with helping inspire a parliamentary rebellion against former Prime Minister Gordon Brown when she wrote to all members of parliament asking them to back an amendment to an energy bill, requiring a reward scheme for home production of renewable energy. She later confirmed her support for the Labour Party and then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown in particular.

After the British government's plans to implement a three-strikes policy for file sharing copyright infringement, Allen came out in support for disconnecting repeat offenders. Creating a blog titled "It's Not Alright" against file sharing, it subsequently came to light that she had copied text directly from the Techdirt website of an interview with 50 Cent, without attribution. This led to accusations that Allen had infringed on other artists' copyrights by creating mix tapes early in her career, that she then made available via her website. A group of supporters of filesharing, operating under the name "Anonymous", launched a denial of service attack dubbed Operation Payback that shut down Allen's website and targeted other critics.

On 1 October 2009, Allen and several other musicians released the world's first digital musical petition aimed at pressuring world leaders attending the December 2009 climate change summit in Copenhagen. The petition included a cover of the song "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil.

During the London assembly and mayoral elections in April 2016, Allen announced that she would be giving "half her vote to the Women's Equality Party" – by voting for them on the London-wide Assembly list but voting Labour elsewhere.

In June 2016, Allen published several tweets and attended protests in support of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, after mass resignations from his cabinet and a leadership challenge.

On 15 June 2017, Allen appeared on Channel 4 News to discuss the Grenfell Tower fire. She claimed that "the death count has been downplayed by the mainstream media", disputing the then official figure of 17 fatalities by saying, "I'm hearing from people that the figure is much closer to 150". The official death toll is now 72.

In November 2019, Allen declared during the 2019 UK general election campaign that the Labour Party manifesto was "the best I've ever seen" and shared a picture of her polling card with the caption: "Tories OUT."


Allen's early released songs saw her singing against retro productions. Her songs also featured other elements, such as the ska influence on second single, "LDN". She was also noted for her liberal use of crude words in her lyrics. Allen has said she cringes now when listening to tracks from Alright, Still, as it reminds her that she was a "sort of over-excitable teenager who desperately wanted attention" when she wrote it. Wanting to move on from the retro sound that many other artists had adapted since her debut, Allen ventured in a new direction sonically and lyrically in her second studio album, It's Not Me, It's You. "The Fear", the first single from the album, is an electro-pop track denouncing consumerism. Her new musical direction and willingness to write lyrics that tackled less-common subjects were lauded by some critics.

Allen's song "Who'd Have Known" was sampled in T-Pain's single "5 O'Clock" because of her accent. Joe Strummer, a close friend of Allen's father Keith, played mixtapes of Brazilian music and Jamaican reggae and ska when she was young. Allen stated that she had "always been into very black music" such as ska, reggae, and hip hop music. Since she did not know how to rap, she chose to use reggae as a point of reference when making Alright, Still. The album's music blends ska and reggae with pop melodies. Allen's melodies are influenced by the jazz improvisation techniques of American singers Blossom Dearie and Ella Fitzgerald. The album's beats are influenced by various genres such as jazz and grime. Singers Lady Gaga, Tegan and Sara, Bridgit Mendler, Jullie and Victoria Justice have each been influenced by Allen.


Allen has received 31 awards and 73 nominations for her music, including nominations for nine BRIT Awards (one won), one Grammy Award, three Ivor Novello Awards (three won), one Mercury Prize and twelve NME Awards (three won).


List of television and films credits
Year Title Role Notes
1988 The Comic Strip Presents... Child in Promo "The Yob" (Season 4; Episode 4)
1998 Elizabeth Lady in Waiting
2006 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest panelist (herself) Series 19, Episode 6
2007 Saturday Night Live Musical Guest (Herself) "Drew Barrymore/Lily Allen" (Season 32; Episode 12)
The Big Fat Quiz of the Year Herself
2008 Lily Allen and Friends Host (Herself) Talk show
2009 Neighbours Herself Guest starring, soap opera (1 episode)
2011 Lily Allen: From Riches to Rags Herself TV series documentary
2019 How to Build a Girl Elizabeth Taylor

Source : Wikipedia
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Lily Allen Discography

  • 2006AlbumAlright, Still
  • 2006AlbumAlright, Still (Bonus Track Version)
  • 2006EPSmile
  • 2006SingleU Killed It
  • 2007SingleShame for You (Live at Bush Hall)
  • 2008AlbumIt's Not Me, It's You
  • 2009SingleAlfie
  • 2009EPF.U.E.P.
  • 2009EPLDN
  • 2009AlbumLittlest Things (Live)
  • 2009EPParis Live Session
  • 2009SingleThe Fear (Dresden & Johnston Radio Edit)
  • 2009SingleThe Fear (StoneBridge Radio Edit)
  • 2009SingleThe Fear (Wideboys Prime Time Radio Edit)
  • 2009SingleWho'd Have Known
  • 2010SingleThe Fear (The People vs. Lily Allen) Remake
  • 2013SingleSomewhere Only We Know
  • 2013SingleTrue Love (feat. Lily Allen)
  • 2014AlbumSheezus
  • 2018AlbumNo Shame
  • 2018SingleRoll the Dice (feat. Stamina MC & Lily Allen)
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