Lily Allen is one of the most popular artists in mid-2000s England, a tabloid regular whose forthright songwriting , savvy beats and active MySpace page helped propel her breaout debut Alright, Still to the top of the British pops.
The daughter of Welsh actor Keith Allen and movie producer Alison Owen, Allen is the second of four children (and has a number of half-siblings). Her godparents were Joe Strummer (the Clash) and Angela McCluskey (Wild Colonials). Her parents separated when Allen was four and she reportedly attended 13 schools (many of which she was expelled from for bad behavior). She was singing by 11 and performed in school plays, but she eventually dropped out and by 15 was selling ecstasy in Ibiza.
Allen began working on music in earnest in 2002 and with her father's help she was signed to Warner Bros. for a short time but released no music. In 2005 she began posting demos onto her MySpace page which was getting thousands of hits and eventually led to her signing with Regal Records. The buzz on here increased with the release of a limited-edition 7-inch single "LDN" and a couple of hip-hop-style mixtapes so that by the time her debut Alright, Still dropped in 2006 much promotional groundwork had been laid: the album reached Number Two in the U.K. (Number 20 U.S.) and spawned four hits: "Smile" (Number One U.K., Number 49 in the U.S.), "LDN" (Number Six U.K.), "Littlest Things" (Number 21 U.K.), and "Shame for You"/"Alfie" (Number 15 U.K.). The album made Numbe 13 on ROLLING STONE's Top 50 albums of 2007. Allen later appeared on Ronson's Version; the pair had a hit with "Oh My God" (Number Eight U.K.). She also sang on Common's "Drivin' Me Wild" (Number 56 U.K.), from his Finding Forever. In early 2008 the Lily Allen and Friends talk show debuted on BBC-3 t.v. featuring Allen's online friends as well as celebrities, bands, and an array of topical guests. She is working on a follow-up album in part with Ronson expected to be released in 2008.