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Desert Island Discs

Lily Allen


Singer Lily Allen will make her West End debut this summer in a ghost story called 2:22. Growing up, she was always in the shadow of her actor father, Keith Allen. “For a long time you were Keith Allen’s daughter,” says Kirsty Young in this 2014 episode of Desert Island Discs. “Now he’s Lily Allen’s dad.” Yes, says Allen. “I do quite enjoy that, in a horrible way.”

Having a famous father made school tricky – Allen attended 13 in total. The final straw was boarding at Bedales: “I’d walk into the canteen on a Sunday and my dad would be on the front cover of The Sunday Times Magazine, completely naked, and people would be laughing at me.” She dropped out, moved to London and trained as a florist. “I loved it. Flowers don’t talk.”

By 20, however, she was set on becoming a singer. She signed to a record label, but it didn’t bother to promote her, so “I took it into my hands”. She made hundreds of mix tapes by hand, decorated the CD covers and sent them to her MySpace fans. Then she caught the attention of music producer Mark Ronson. Her debut album was finally released and within a year she had five Brit nominations. The Fear, from her second album, won three Ivor Novello awards – most performed work, best song and songwriter of the year. “The three best ones that you can get, really,” she laughs. “And I got them all, all three on the same day!”

🎵 Common People, Pulp

🎵 Where’s Me Jumper?, Sultans of Ping FC

🎵 I Am the Resurrection, the Stone Roses

🎵 Blinded by the Lights, the Streets

🎵 Right Down the Line, Gerry Rafferty

🎵 I’d Rather Go Blind, Etta James

🎵 Traffic Blocking, General Degree

🎵 Before I Grow Too Old, Tommy McLain

📕 Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis

🎁 Husband’s shirt with daughter’s bunny sewn on it

Listen to the episode here.