Lana Del Rey
Immensely talented as well as polarizing, Lana Del Rey began singing in New York City at the age of 17 under her real name, Lizzy Grant. After releasing the indie EP Kill Kill in 2008 and Lana Del Ray A.K.A. Lizzy Grant in 2010, she landed a major label record deal. A self-described "gangsta Nancy Sinatra," Del Rey caused multiple Internet controversies for what was perceived as her hipster repackaging. Whether that was true or not, Del Rey was certainly not the first artist to tweak her own image, and she weathered the firestorm by releasing the hit single and EP Video Games, which epitomized her sound: downbeat, dark and thoroughly self-aware. Her seemingly out-of-nowhere success led to a surprise booking on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), where her two performances sparked countless attacks, as well as defenders. In the aftermath, her major label debut, 2012's Born to Die, became an international hit. Although the repeated controversies made her an easy target for criticism, Lana Del Rey proved an impressive talent with a new, exciting sound who was able to provoke strong reactions from a normally jaded audience.