French DJ: Lana Del Rey’s Key Success Catalyst


Become a superstar adored by all, Lana Del Rey had a huge success in the summer of 2013 with a remix of “Summertime Sadness”. Its author, the French DJ Cédric Gervais, looks back on the birth of the piece and assures that without him, the singer would not be as popular today.

Lana Del Rey is back! In the wake of the great success of his latest album “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” (34,000 sales in France), the American popstar gave a surprise concert at the Olympia in Paris on July 10. Complete in four minutes despite exorbitant prices, the show allowed the 38-year-old artist to perform his great hits including those from his first album “Born to Die” such as “Blue Jeans”, “Video Games” and “Summertime Sadness”. A title which, over the years, has become the most popular of Lana Del Rey’s discography and returns to the charts every summer. As proof, the song is now approaching one billion streaming plays on Spotify. A huge success due in part to a remix signed by French DJ Cédric Gervais, which has become a huge hit all over the world.

A crazy story to which the 44-year-old Marseille artist returns for a long interview with the YouTube channel Money Buys Happiness. At the time, following the great success met by his title “Molly”, Cédric Gervais was contacted by the manager of Lana Del Rey to create the remix of “Summertime Sadness”. “I made this song, at the start, so that my DJ friend could play it”, recalls the turntable player, who did not expect such a phenomenon: “Then it became number one on the Billboard, which means that everything everyone was buying it. It started to be played on dance radios, then it was in the top 40 radios”. Today, the remix has 596 million streams on Spotify and 173 million views for its music video on YouTube.

“She had never had a hit on the radio…”

Released in the summer of 2013 with considerable success, this remix of “Summertime Sadness” could have remained permanently on a hard drive. Indeed, the Interscope label did not want to release this remixed version as a single and promote it around the world! “We went to Interscope, we said, ‘Listen, you have to push this song, it’s a hit, you have to release it. We released it in a somewhat underground way on [the independent label] Spinnin’ Records” recalls Cédric Gervais, then certain of holding gold in his hands: “I told them: ‘It’s a huge title , it’s going to be a hit around the world, you have to release it”. They told me no, that Lana Del Rey had already released this song [as a single], that they were not going to do it”. To convince Lana Del Rey’s publicist, he took her to one of his concerts in Las Vegas where 95,000 people sang the remix of “Summertime Sadness” loudly.

“She never wanted to be successful”

And the rest is history: “We sold 8.5 million singles, but if I hadn’t done that, the song would never have been released. We were number six in the US, number three in the UK, number one in many countries… We did maybe 300 million streams and won a Grammy for best remix for that “. A reward that allowed him to collaborate later with Miley Cyrus or Usher. Except that to believe his words, it is to Cédric Gervais that we owe the commercial success of Lana Del Rey! Indeed, he explains that it was his remix that allowed the American artist to become a superstar. “Lana Del Rey was not filling theaters in the United States. After this song, she filled every concert she did in the United States. She had never had a hit on the radio, it’s the only one she’s had in her life,” says the king of turntables. Remember that long before this remix, the album “Born to Die” was already a phenomenon: number one in 11 countries, it had already sold several million copies.

And still according to Cédric Gervais, Lana Del Rey “hates” celebrity: “She doesn’t like this world, she never wanted to have this level of success, to be on the radio…”. He takes as an example his following remix of “Young & Beautiful”, which he was only able to release in Australia and New Zealand, where it was certified four times platinum: “At the time, I was played more on the radio than Katy Perry. It was going to be bigger than “Summertime Sadness”. Lana blocked everything, and asked that the remix not be released. She doesn’t want success. However, Lana Del Rey remains today one of the most popular and adored artists of her generation.

This article is originally published on


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