Also Credited As:Lily Rose Allen, Lily Rose Beatrice Allen
|Lily Rose Beatrice Allen on May 2, 1985 in Hammersmith, London, England, GB|
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Born Lily Rose Beatrice Allen in Hammersmith, London on May 2, 1985, she was one of four children by actor-comedian-musician Keith Allen and his wife, film producer Alison Owen. The departure of Allen's father from his family when she was four years old was the start of a lengthy period of tumult in her early life; she attended 13 different private schools during her adolescent and teenaged years, and was expelled from many for drinking and smoking until she finally dropped out at the age of 15. During this period, Allen also nurtured a talent for singing, which she saw as a means of escape from a middle-class existence. After leaving school, she supported herself by working as a record store clerk in Ibiza and occasional ecstasy dealer while shopping her demos to various record labels. Allen's relationship with her father, who had once opened for the Clash and remained friendly with its leader, Joe Strummer, helped to pave the way for a contract with London Records in 2002. However, the relationship proved short-lived, and for a period, Allen studied horticulture to become a florist.
Allen soon returned to music, eventually landing a second deal with Regal Records in 2005, but the label's priorities lay with its more prominent artists like Coldplay. Undaunted, she began posting her demos to a Myspace account, which attracted a vast number of followers. Airplay on the BBC led to her debut album for Regal, 2006's Alright, Still, which featured the Jamaican-inflected singles "Smile" and "LDN." The record's mix of pop, ska and grime - a blend of dancehall, electronica and African and Caribbean sounds - combined with Allen's exuberantly bratty vocal delivery and songwriting won over listeners in her native country, who sent it No. 2 on the U.K. albums chart while also landing in the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. She spent much of the next two years touring behind the record, which eventually netted a Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for Mark Ronson and a BMI songwriting award for Allen in 2008. However, achievements like these were largely overshadowed in the media by Allen's propensity for hurling brickbats at many of her fellow musicians, including Katy Perry, Amy Winehouse and Kylie Minogue. Her lack of a filter led to a backlash against Allen that prompted her to close the Myspace account that boosted her to fame in 2009. Allen also suffered a personal tragedy during this period when she miscarried her child with Ed Simons of the Chemical Brothers in 2008.
That same year, Allen launched her own talk show, "Lily Allen and Friends" (BBC Three) which featured her interviews with various pop celebrities before an audience culled from her vast array of online friends. The show was widely panned by critics and viewers alike, and preceded a controversial period in which she struggled to launch her sophomore album while appearing drunk in public at both the Cannes Film Festival and the Glamour Awards. Allen finally delivered her second album, It's Not Me, It's You (2009), which immediately topped the charts in the U.K., Canada and Australia while also reaching the Top 5 in America. The record also reaped her a shared Songwriters of the Year Award with Greg Kurstin from the Ivor Novello Awards in 2010 and a second BMI Pop Song Award. Despite this extraordinary success, Allen announced in 2009 that she was planning to leave music for acting. She soon became pregnant by her boyfriend and later husband, contractor Sam Cooper, but a viral infection in 2010 led to a stillbirth and a subsequent bout of septicemia.
After taking Associated Newspapers, the parent company of the Daily Mail to court for publishing photos of her home, Allen launched her own record label, In the Name Of, before penning songs for a musical version of Bridget Jones' Diary in 2011. The year was also marked by the successful and healthy birth of a daughter, Ethel, which preceded an unexpected hit with "5 O'Clock," a hip-hop single by rapper T-Pain, who incorporated a version from Allen's song "Who'd Have Known" as its chorus. The song rose to No. 10 on the Billboard singles chart, granting Allen her first Stateside Top 10 song. The following year, Allen, who officially changed her professional name to Lily Rose Cooper, began informal work on a third album while also providing guest vocals on American pop singer Pink's The Truth About Love (2012) CD and announcing that she was pregnant with her second child.
By Paul Gaita