2011–12: Born to Die and Paradise
Main articles: Born to Die (Lana Del Rey album) and Paradise (Lana Del Rey EP)
Del Rey performing on December 5, 2011
After uploading a few of her tracks to her YouTube channel, Del Rey was discovered and was signed by Stranger Records to release her debut single "Video Games." She told The Observer, "I just put that song online a few months ago because it was my favourite. To be honest, it wasn't going to be the single but people have really responded to it." The song earned her a Q award for "Next Big Thing" in October 2011 and an Ivor Novello for "Best Contemporary Song" in 2012. The same month, she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and Polydor to work on her second studio album Born to Die. Del Rey built anticipation to the album by doing a number of live appearances, such as promotional concerts at the Bowery Ballroom and at the Chateau Marmont, and with performances at television shows such as De Wereld Draait Door, and Later... with Jools Holland.
Speaking about her mainstream success, she told Clash Music in November 2011:
"When you find everything you love and you lose it, and for me that was music, your ambitions definitely start to change, they have to. My goals have shifted from wanting to become an important artist to becoming an active member of my community. It’s really nice my music is being played and people are taking notice, but music isn’t my primary focus anymore. Not even close. My goal is to be a good person who lives with dignity and grace. I will write again because I have to now. It’s a luxury and will allow me to concentrate on other interests and pursuits. I wrote one album and no-one listened. I’m fine with that. I made an exquisite record three years ago which was perfect for me. I’ve learned to do things just for myself, and the fact things have kind of worked out now is just icing on the cake."
On January 4, 2012, it was reported she had signed a deal with NEXT Model Management agency. Del Rey also performed two songs from the album on Saturday Night Live on January 14, 2012 and received a negative response from critics and the general public. Del Rey's performance was defended by the evening's program guest host, actor Daniel Radcliffe, despite not having seen her performance. She had earlier defended her spot on the program, saying: "I'm a good musician [...] I have been singing for a long time, and I think that [SNL creator] Lorne Michaels knows that [...] it's not a fluke decision." The following week on SNL, Kristen Wiig impersonated del Rey where she humorously defended herself during Weekend Update.
In an interview with RTVE on June 15, 2012, Del Rey announced she has been working on a new album due in November, and that five tracks have already been written, two of them being "Young and Beautiful" and "In the Land of Gods and Monsters" and the other track titled "I Sing the Body Electric," which was performed and announced as one of her songs at the BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend. In an interview with Tim Blackwell for Nova FM in Melbourne, Australia, Del Rey added that her upcoming November release would not be a new album, but more like an EP, which she described as the Paradise Edition of Born to Die. Del Rey stated that the new release would have around seven new songs.
In 2006, Del Rey had 18 live performances, all of which were in New York City. She performed at open mics at Makor four times (April 17, May 1, May 15, and June 16). On June 22, she was part of the 58th Songwriters Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase at The Cutting Room. She performed at Sin-é on July 22. Del Rey participated in the CATHARSIS open mic at the Cattyshack on September 11. She performed at the Laila Lounge the next day. She participated in the first round of the Williamsburg Live Songwriting Competition at The Lucky Cat on September 15 and was picked as a semi-finalist. Two days later, she performed at Rodrigue's, a coffee house on the campus of Fordham University. Del Rey participated in the semi-finals of the Williamsburg Live Songwriting Competition at Galapagos Art Space on September 21. The next day, she participated in the finals of the same competition at North Six but did not win. She performed at 169 bar on September 27. On October 14, Del Rey performed at The Loveseat Collective. She performed at Pianos three days later. On November 15, she performed at Laila Lounge. The next day, she performed at Galapagos Art Space. She performed at Sidewalk Cafe on November 29.
On September 1, 2010, Del Rey was featured by Mando Diao in their MTV Unplugged concert at Union Film-Studios in Berlin.
On September 14, 2011 Del Rey performed a "secret show" in Brooklyn, New York City at the Glasslands Gallery. She held a concert at The Hotel Cafe on September 26. Three days later, she performed at The Volksbühne in Berlin, Germany. One month later, she performed "Video Games" on Later... with Jools Holland and was featured in Woodkid's performance at the Highline Ballroom. In November 2011, Del Rey held nine concerts in Europe. The countries included England, Scotland, France, the Netherlands and Germany. She performed on Le Grand Journal on November 9 and on Dutch TV program De Wereld Draait Door three days later. Her performance on German late-night talk show Inas Nacht was broadcast the same day. In the following month, she performed at one concert in Canada and two in the United States. On December 5, Del Rey held a concert at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. She also played an intimate show at the Chateau Marmont as part of the Mulberry Mix Tape Tour on December 9.
Del Rey performing in Cologne, Germany in 2011
Del Rey was featured as a musical guest on The Jonathan Ross Show on January 7, 2012. One week later, she performed two songs on Saturday Night Live and received a negative response from critics and the general public. After her widely criticized performance, the artist says she's still adjusting to the spotlight. "I'm not a natural performer. But my fans know that."  "[On possibly performing at Coachella] I just stand there and sing. I'm not that exciting. People aren't dying to have me on stage."  On January 30, Del Rey performed on Le Grand Journal for the second time. In the beginning of February, Del Rey performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, at Amoeba Music in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Four days later, she was featured as a musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. On March 22, she was featured as a musical guest on American Idol. Del Rey performed at easy Street Records in Seattle. She performed at the Jazz Café in London on April 10, 2012 and was featured as a musical guest on Spanish TV show Buenas noches y Buenafuente twelve days later. One week later, Del Rey performed on The Voice UK. In the beginning of June, Del Rey held three concerts at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and the Irving Plaza in New York City. She spent one month, during June and July, performing at music festivals in Europe, the countries including Spain, England, Norway, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Portugal and Germany. In the end of July, Del Rey held six concerts in Australia. The cities included Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Byron Bay. She performed in Warsaw, Poland and at the iTunes Festival in London, England in September. On September 28, she had her third appearance on Le Grand Journal. On November 30, Del Rey was a musical guest on Later... with Jools Holland and performed her latest single "Ride". She performed covers of Oasis' "Wonderwall" and The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" with rock and roll cover group Camp Freddy at The Roxy on December 21.
During her Paradise Tour (3 April - 16 June 2013), Del Rey is set to perform in France (Amnéville and Paris), Denmark (Copenhagen), Germany (Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich), Sweden (Stockholm), Norway (Oslo), Austria (Vienna), Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Czech Republic (Prague), Switzerland (Geneva), Italy (Turin, Rome and Milan), Monaco, Spain (Madrid), England (Birmingham, London and Manchester), Scotland (Glasgow), Ireland (Dublin), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Belgium (Brussels), Poland (Warsaw), Greece (Athens), Lithuania (Vilnius), Russia (Saint Petersburg and Moscow), Ukraine (Kiev), Belarus (Minsk), Latvia (Riga) and Finland (Helsinki). Del Rey is supported by the Scottish alternative folk rock band Kassidy on her Paradise tour. She is also set to perform at Lollapalooza on August 2.
Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn's my mother, Jesus is my bestest friend
“It’s amazing what happens when you put your interests out into the universe and make it known what you want.” “I just look for someone who makes me feel like life is an exciting opportunity and, you know, just like to be alive.”