Her first mainstream single, "Smile", reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in July 2006. Her debut record, Alright, Still, was well received, selling over 2.6 million copies worldwide and brought Allen a nomination at the Grammy Awards, Brit Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. She began hosting her own talk-show, Lily Allen and Friends, on BBC Three.
Her second studio album, It's Not Me, It's You, saw a genre shift, having more of an electropop feel, rather than the ska and reggae influences of the first one. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and the Australian ARIA Charts and was well received by critics, noting the singer's musical evolution and maturity. It spawned the hit singles "The Fear" and "Fuck You". This success saw her receive the Brit Award for British Female Solo Artist at the 2010 Brit Awards. Allen and Amy Winehouse were credited with starting a process that led to the "year of the women" media label in 2009 that saw five female artists making music of "experimentalism and fearlessness" nominated for the Mercury Prize.
In 2009, Allen announced that she would be taking a hiatus from musical activities. In 2011, she launched her own record label, which was closed the year after. In 2013, Allen revealed that she had begun working on her third studio album, which was later titled Sheezus. On 12 November 2013, Allen premiered the video for her first original song since 2009, "Hard out Here", which was released as a single five days later. Sheezus saw it's official release on May 2014; remembered by its commercial and critical underperformance compared to Allen's past studio efforts, the album scored a Gold certificate on UK, whilst both Alright, Still and It's Not Me, It's You won three platinum plaques each, surpassing 1m copies sold only on Britain.
After Sheezus, Lily stayed a few months away from the public's eyes to focus on her own family and children, Ethel Cooper (4) and Marnie Cooper (3), fruit of her five-year marriage with designer Sam Cooper. Allen signed a three-album recording deal with Apollo Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment (now Apollo is under Universal Music Group), and released the lead single off her highly expected fourth studio album, "The Way". With an intelligent and critic lyrical content, blended with its Greg Kurstin-produced synthpop melody, the track instantly became a hit, debuting on the tenth position of the worldwide charts. Peaking on the second position, "The Way" sold up to two million copies until date (April, 2016) and was a Global radio smash, amassing +40k spins and an audience of +70mi people.
On December 12, the general public would see Tunnel of Fear, Allen's fourth studio album, being released by Apollo Records. Lyrically and sonically reflecting her second studio effort, Tunnel of Fear quickly became Lily's most successful album to date, snapping 897,000 copies sold on its first week; hence, it had the biggest debut week sales for the year. The record was Allen's most personal material to date, discussing her fears and how they pressed her until a point where she couldn't escape.
"Deepest Desire", a collaboration with Emma Roberts, would be the choice for the second single. Debuting at the third position of the charts and aiming a radio hit status, the single promotion - and the album disclosure itself - would see its downhill when Sony Music Entertainment sued Allen and Apollo Records on 6 million dollars for contract breaching. It was proved that Lily wanted to ink with UMG once Sony Music was allegedly trying to creatively control the Tunnel of Fear cycle, forcing the songstress to work on Christmas date and release a fragrance called "The Lily Tunnel", which quickly became motive of mockery on social networks.
Losing the case, Lily could be free to sign her new record deal; though, Tunnel of Fear became unavailable on record stores except iTunes and all of its singles were blocked from radio airplay. Only on January 10, two weeks after the court event, Apollo Records would become a division of UMG. "Tunnel of Fear", the album's title track, would be released as the third and final single of the record; not growing as a hit as the two past songs did, "Tunnel of Fear" still entered into the top ten and shipped almost two million copies worldwide.
On early February, Lily Allen would embark on the commercial failure "The Tunnel of Fear Experience Tour", concert tour associated to the namesake album. With only 4 of the 12 dates sold out and empty arenas on its end, it grossed only 25 million dollars, versus over 100 million spent for the production. The lack of tickets sold, according to TIME, was a reflex of the feud between Allen and Sony Music, which made the rest of the album cycle downhill. Right after the end of the tour, Lily got divorced from her husband, Sam Cooper, who allegedly cheated the songstress with a co-worker from his interior design company.
Lily Allen is currently working on her fifth mainstream release with Max Martin, Ali Payami and Greg Kurstin, as fonts say.