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Lana Del Rey was $17,000 in debt and worked odd jobs off Craigslist before making it big

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Lana Del Rey reveals her early Craigslist side hustles and how she spent...

Lana Del Rey might croon about "Summertime Sadness," but her life is pretty enviable: She's gearing up to release a new album, is the face of the new Gucci perfume and just bought a million-dollar Echo Park cabin in Los Angeles, California.

But for Del Rey, life wasn't always so luxurious. Before she was making money as a musician, she was waiting tables as a teenager in Lake Placid, New York. At 18, she headed to New York City to study metaphysics at Fordham University.

"When I was in New York, I would take jobs off Craigslist," Del Rey, 33, tells CNBC Make It at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony in Palo Alto, California.

"I'd be like a mover, you know, paint houses. I got paid actually not to paint, once I got hired...I was so bad," she jokes.

"I would take odd jobs babysitting, even in my mid-20s."

Del Rey says struggled for nearly a decade: "I was singing in bars for maybe eight years."

Happily, Del Rey went on to release a number of successful albums and singles like "Summertime Sadness" (2013), "Young and Beautiful" (2013), "West Coast" (2014) and "Love" (2017). Over the years, her work has been nominated for several Grammy Awards.

Still, those early years were challenging. Buts she maintained her drive to keep going, she says, because she was pretty sure singing, "was always going to be my most favorite thing to do."

In her mid-20s, when she finally inked a record deal, she remembers exactly what she spent her money on.

"I paid off all my credit card debt," Del Rey says. "$17,200."

Don't miss: Mindy Kaling reveals how she learned to be confident — and why it's key to success

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