Lana Del Rey opened up about not feeling very “confident” in herself ahead of her 2012 Saturday Night Live performance in a new cover story by The Hollywood Reporter, published on Wednesday, Sep. 20. The singer, 38, spoke about her lack of TV appearances, and explained the reasons she didn’t feel confident in performing on TV.
When asked about why she’s done so few TV performances, Lana admitted that it hasn’t felt like the proper opportunity to go back to TV. ” Maybe that’s something else I’ll grow into more, like touring,” she said. ” But you know in your heart when it’s the right time. And it’s never been the right time.”
The Blue Banisters singer also spoke about how difficult touring is. “And don’t get me wrong. I toured for nine years of my life. It was nonstop. It was tough,” she told the outlet.
While Lana said that she may reconsider today, at the time, she felt it was justified that she wasn’t entirely confident, seeming to hint that the SNL backlash may have been part of it. “Maybe now, even if I didn’t feel confident, I would do it anyway. But there was a reason not to feel confident,” she said.
When asked what the reason for not feeling confident was, Lana said the fear of criticism was a key factor, but more female songwriters today make her feel more supported. “I didn’t know if it would be received well. But there’s a lot of weirdos out there now, so, we’re fine. We’re in good company. I started at a time when things were very much one way. Little by little, there’s a lot more room for storytelling and saying different stuff. You’re seeing a lot more good girl songwriters, too,” she said, admitting there are many women in music that she’s a fan of today.
When Lana performed on SNL in 2012, her performance wasn’t well-received. At the time, many media outlets rounded up compilations of viewers mocking the appearance on Twitter, via MTV. One NBC anchor even derided the performance in an email to Gawker. A week later Kristen Wiig did an impression of Lana on “Weekend Update,” making fun of her.
After SNL, Lana did perform live on Letterman a month later, and her only other TV performance was in 2020 on The Tonight Show. Since it was during the height of the COVID pandemic, she didn’t sing in front of a live audience.
The Born To Die singer did briefly discuss the SNL performance in a conversation with Elton John for Rolling Stone in 2019. The “Rocket Man” singer defended Lana, saying it was “distressing for someone like me to see someone so crucified.” Lana responded by saying that for that performance she hadn’t felt nervous, and she said in retrospect the appearance “wasn’t terrible,” and explained her approach. “I remember the intention I had. Looking back, there was a more eccentric performative approach to it. I was thinking about Maria Callas, or someone darker coming through,” she said.