Women We Love Wednesday: Lily Allen
It's no secret that women can rock just as hard, if not harder, than men. But there seems to be a disparity when it comes to their representation in the music industry. They are topping the charts but barely getting any slots at big name festivals (this years Coachella lineup is 90 percent male). To do what we can to celebrate these women and give them the positive recognition they deserve, each week Music Times will introduce you to a female in the music industry whom we love.
Singer-songwriters, rappers, DJs, producers, filmmakers, and any woman who is part of the music industry is fair game for this segment. So read on, and get to know the women who continue to wow us. This week we'd like to show off ...
Name: Lily Allen
From: London, England
Why We Love Her: It's hard not to love Lily Allen. The 28-year-old singer/songwriter is a pistol for the ages and is not afraid to speak her mind. Allen's music has always been highlighted with an acerbic wit, blatant honesty and a political awareness that isn't typically heard in popular music. The best part about Allen's music is that it's set to music so adorably poppy and bubblegummy that it oftentimes takes a second listen to realize the socially aware lyrics that she's written, making for music that is truly layered and original.
Allen's usually had her priorities in the right places and hasn't been afraid to tackle American politics ("F--- You"), sexism ("Hard Out Here") and the laziness of marijuana smokers ("Alfie"). Of course, her music isn't always so serious. Allen has also taken on sillier topics, such as boys who aren't quite so good in bed ("It's Not Fair," "Not Big"), grandmas who love to go shopping ("Nan, You're A Window Shopper") and she can write a heart wrenching love song for the ages ("Chinese," "Littlest Things").
Background: Lily Allen was actually born into the entertainment industry as the daughter of British comedian/musician Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, and she arrived in the world on May 2, 1985. According to Biography.com, Allen was actually one of the first singers to build up her following on the social media website MySpace, wherein she gained hundreds of thousands of followers after her label didn't promote her in the manner that she wished. Using relentless resolve and struggling to make it in the music world, Allen released her first album Alright, Still in 2006, which featured the smash hit "Smile," which reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Allen released her second album It's Not Me, It's You in Feb. 2009, which debuted at No. 1 in her home country and No. 5 here in the States. Featuring "The Fear," that album showed a more grown-up side of Allen but failed to make quite as big of an impact as her debut. Since then, Allen has largely remained out of the limelight. She got married to Sam Cooper and has since had two daughters. Now, she's released three new songs in 2013: she appears as a featured artist on P!nk's "True Love," debuted "Hard Out Here" from her upcoming third album and released a cover of "Somewhere Only We Know."
Fun Fact: Lily Allen is no stranger to covers. Other than her chart-topping version of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," she's also done her own spin on 50 Cent's "Window Shopper" and Kaiser Chiefs' "Oh My God."
What Now: She's making a big ol' return to music. Lily Allen dropped her first single in years in November, "Hard Out Here," a funky fresh track that tackles music industry sexism and expectations for women in 2013. She's also topping British singles charts with her stunningly beautiful cover of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," which was released as a a part of the 2013 John Lewis Christmas advertisement.
Watch: Take a look and listen at Lily Allen's 2013 comeback single "Hard Out Here," as she takes on stereotypical sexist music video fads in all the right ways.