British singer LILY ALLEN wrote her number one UK single SMILE after she was treated for depression at a top London clinic.
The 21-year-old admits she felt so low she couldn’t get out of bed, so decided to check into The Priory clinic.
And when she left The Priory, Allen quickly penned upbeat track Smile, the first song she ever wrote.
She says, “I had a very miserable time in 2003. I had met the boy who I thought was the love of my life, but he dumped me.
“I started to get depressed and anyone who suffers from depression knows that it can soon get so bad that you can’t get out of bed.
“It was then that I checked into The Priory. That was really tough as I was an emotional mess.
“And when I came out of there it took me a while to get my life back on track. I even tried to get back with the same boyfriend, which just shows how stupid we can all be.
“When I started writing music, Smile was the first thing I ever wrote. I always thought you should write about what you know, and this guy had taken up so much of my time and my emotions that the words just came pouring out.”
My Space Diva
Lily Allen, 21, is the epitome of now: intelligent, opinionated, cynical and brandishing solid MySpace credentials. Her career started at MySpace, the web’s networking powerhouse. Last year, Allen posted three tracks to MySpace and soon had 1.5 million people streaming her tunes and 30,000 registered as friends. Allen’s regular blogs only heightened the charm quotient of a rising star. She still blogs today. Her most recent entries tell of happiness, depression, embarrassment and, last week, she split with her boyfriend. “I’m holding up OK,” Allen says. “A split is hard for anyone. But if you can’t break up with someone when you’re No. 1 in the charts, you’ll never be able to.”
Britain loves her twisted perspective, foul-mouthed narratives and brutal honesty. Her long player, Alright, Still, produced by Futurecut and Mark Ronson, is one of the year’s best albums. Allen’s blunt couplets and dark dancehall underlays seem unstoppable. Sample lyric: “Riding through the city on my bike all day, because the filth took away my license . . . A fella looking dapper and he’s sitting with a slapper, then I see it’s a pimp and his crack whore.”
Lily’s story is equally controversial. Her parents split when she was four and Allen, the second of three children, was raised by her mother, film producer Alison Owen. She attended 12 schools by the age of 15 and was turfed out of a private school for selling weed. Allen admits to taking cocaine and ecstasy and claimed to be selling ‘E’s (drugs) while on a working holiday in Ibiza. “I’m very honest about drugs because I don’t want to lie,” she says. “What I do in my private life is nobody’s business and I don’t feel I have to justify that. I have experimented with drugs. I am not ashamed of it and I’m not going to deny it.”
In that, Allen says her mission is simple. She wants to be the opinionated pop star so sorely missing in this sterile music climate. Ronson, New York hip hop producer du jour, oversaw Allen’s melancholic tune, Littlest Things, then assigned her to a “special project” — backing vocals on Robbie Williams’ new album, which he co-produced. “I sang on three tracks which has worked out pretty well for Robbie, I’d say,” Allen chuckles. “I mean, me being a No. 1 artist and all. I met Robbie a couple of times. He’s a sweet guy, but he’s very affected by the last 10 years of his life. But I think anybody would be.”
Allen is braced for the inevitable romantic link by association with Williams. “I really don’t care. I don’t care what people think and I don’t need the affirmation of others,” Allen says, verging on blog-speak. “And besides, any press is good press.”