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How Lincoln songwriter worked with Lana Del Rey to pen hit single Video Games

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: April 28, 2012

  • Lincoln-based songwriter Justin Parker co-wrote songs with Lana Del Rey on her debut album Born to Die

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Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" is one of the biggest hit singles of the last 12 months, selling hundreds of thousands of copies and breaking into the charts across the globe.

But the song, now a world-wide phenomenon, started life in a bedroom in Lincoln's Boultham Park.

Co-written by Del Rey and Lincoln songsmith Justin Parker, 38, it has now been nominated for a prestigious Ivor Novello award, going up against Nero and James Blake in the best contemporary song category.

The pair met in February 2010 for their first-ever writing session after Justin's publishers Sony/ATV Music played some of his songs to Del Rey.

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They wrote 12 songs together in 15 months. Video Games, National Anthem and the critically-acclaimed Born to Die, all made the chart-toping album.

Justin, who has been writing music since he was 17 and playing guitar since he was five years old, came up with Video Games in his bedroom a couple of months after he started working with Del Rey.

"I thought it would be a really good fit for her, so the next time I saw her, I played it and it was just incredible," he said.

"We wrote the whole thing in three hours and everything just happened naturally. It's almost as if Video Games fell out of the both of us. It was incredibly easy and a lot of fun.

"Lana is such a great lyricist and, with Video Games, she paints a really great picture of a girl and a guy. It's so well done and she's incredibly talented."

The glamorous songstress was unsigned at the time but liked Video Games so much that she made her own music video on her laptop and uploaded it to YouTube.

It received millions of hits but people started to take notice after Fearne Cotton gave its first-ever airing on Radio 1.

Justin said: "Lana couldn't get a deal or anything like that, but when Fearne played the song, that was it. Suddenly everyone wanted to sign her.

"It's incredible to hear your own songs on the radio. It was so emotional and a big sense of relief that finally all your work had come to something. But because it was a song with Lana, it was especially important because we'd worked so hard and it was such a long trek until anyone took notice of who she was.

"I really found my muse in Lana. She really got me musically and it got to the stage where I knew what she liked and vice versa.

"I'm supposed to be writing with her again later this year in New York, where she's based. I'll definitely be one of the writers she'll go to if she decides to make another album, but who knows what will happen next?"

Since working with Del Rey, Justin has also written songs for former Ivor Novello award winner Bat For Lashes and has also worked with up-and-coming folk artist Lissie.

He will also be in attendance at the Ivor Novello awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House, London, on Thursday, May 17. Other artists nominated include Adele, Florence and the Machine and Kate Bush.

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  • Philip Watson Decorating Services  |  May 01 2012, 12:23AM

    Hats, off to you Justin, great song and great album look forward to hearing more!

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  • GodHateEye  |  April 28 2012, 10:25AM

    Good for you, Justin. Oh, and if bigyellabelly shows up and tries to make out he's achieved more than you, just ask him who he is and what he's done and he'll go scuttling back under his rock. He's probably busy getting ready for his big gig at the Back Enderby Brownie's spring jamboree and cake raffle, though.

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