After a night spent honoring some of this year’s most impactful female musicians, Lana Del Rey closed out the 2023 Billboard Women in Music list of awards recipients Wednesday (March 1) by accepting the night’s Visionary Award, well-earned after 14 years and nine genre-defining studio albums.
Last year’s Woman of the Year Olivia Rodrigo was on hand to present the 37-year-old singer-songwriter with the Visionary Award, with Lana mouthing “I love you so much” to the “Deja Vu” singer from her seat in the audience before taking the stage to deliver her acceptance speech.
“I can’t tell you how much it means that someone who wrote ‘Drivers License’ is standing next to me,” Lana said after Rodrigo handed her the award, before shouting out this year’s Woman of the Year: “SZA, from the minute I heard you, I knew I wanted to know you.”
“I don’t exactly have a long-term vision at all, but if you were curious, I am very, very happy,” Lana continued during the speech. “When I released my first album 14 years ago, the waters were not quite as warm. I’m really happy for everyone who feels like it’s a wonderful time in the culture to be themselves and express themselves. It didn’t feel that way in 2008.”
“I feel like being happy is the ultimate goal, so I did it,” she concluded. “Thank you, Billboard!”
After hitting a career high No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Snow On The Beach,” her Midnights collaboration with Taylor Swift, and donating a celestial original song to Euphoria’s Season 2 soundtrack, the indie pop auteur is now gearing up to release her next album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd — her fourth record in under four years — on March 24. The two singles to be released so far off the project, “A&W” and its title track, are peak Lana: ethereal, gloomy, jarring and, well, visionary.
“Eleven years ago I wanted it to be so good,” she told Billboard of the new album in her Women in Music interview. “Now, I just sing exactly what I’m thinking. I’m thinking a little less big and bombastic. Maybe at some point I can have fun creating a world again, but right now, I would say there’s no world building. This music is about thought processing. It’s very, very wordy. I’m definitely living from the neck up.”
Read Lana Del Rey’s full speech below:
We made it. Well, I’m not much of speech person either… Olivia, Olivia Rodrigo, I really don’t even deserve her giving me this wonderful award. She’s so endlessly glamorous and talented I cannot tell you how much it means that someone who wrote “Drivers License” is standing next to me.
Thank you John, John Janick, for giving me the friendship of Olivia and also Billie and all of the wonderful artists on the label. Thank you Carole Kinzel for being here with me. And my besties, Jen Stith and Alex Kaye, who choreographs my show. And, um, okay [deep breath]… so, I don’t see SZA, but I want to say SZA from the minute I heard you I knew I wanted to know you. Congratulations. Well, well, well deserved on being Woman of the Year.
To Rose, staggeringly amazing. Kim, congratulations. I’m so glad I got to meet the vloggers who got me through COVID, Remy Ashten, Oli and Alisha Marie. I’m gonna get close to the mic because I’m really, really quiet.
I think the word visionary could have been exchanged with any word when you’re up here. But if you were wondering, for my fans, I don’t exactly have a long-term vision at all, but if you were curious, I am very, very happy to be a female singer that is a wonderful feat. When I released my first album 14 years ago, the waters were not quite as warm. So I’m really happy for everyone who feels like it’s a wonderful time in the culture to be themselves and to express themselves. It didn’t feel that way in 2008. And I’m so grateful to be in the best company I’ve ever been in.
Thank you. I feel like being happy is the ultimate goal. So I did it. Thank you Billboard!