Lorde at the 27th Annual ARIA Music Awards, December 2013.
|Birth name||Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor|
7 November 1996 |
Devonport, North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand
|Genres||Art pop, indie pop, minimal, electronica, electropop|
|Labels||Universal, Republic, Lava|
Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor (born 7 November 1996), known by her stage name Lorde (//), is a New Zealand singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Devonport, North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand, she performed in various singing and drama classes as a child, and at the age of thirteen signed with Universal. Yelich-O'Connor adopted her stage name due to her fascination with "royals and aristocracy", but felt the name Lord was too masculine so added an 'e' to make it more feminine.
Her musical debut was an EP, entitled The Love Club, which was released in November 2012, and her first single, "Royals", debuted at number one on the New Zealand Top 40, and also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013, making her the first New Zealand solo artist to have a number one song in the United States. Her debut album, Pure Heroine, was released in September 2013 receiving critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide.
Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, in October 2013 she jointly won the 2013 Silver Scroll award for "Royals" which is an achievement in original New Zealand pop songwriting. For the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Lorde is nominated for a total of four Grammys, which include Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Royals" and Best Pop Vocal Album for Pure Heroine.
Ella Yelich-O'Connor was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 7 November 1996 to Sonja Yelich, a prize-winning New Zealand poet, and Vic O'Connor, a civil engineer. She was raised in suburban Devonport, Auckland with an older sister and a younger brother and sister.
At age 5, Lorde followed her friend into a drama group and discovered a love of singing and acting. Lorde has said she enjoyed how she had to "switch on a different side to myself and become a different me." Lorde's mother encouraged her to read books and is quoted as saying that at age 12 Lorde was reading Raymond Carver and Kurt Vonnegut and at 14 she was proofreading her master's thesis for her.
Lorde attended Belmont Intermediate School, where in 2009 she and friend Louis McDonald participated in, and won, the school's talent show. After seeing her performance at the talent show, McDonald's father sent out recordings of Lorde covering Duffy's hit song Warwick Avenue and Pixie Lott's Mama Do to various talent scouts. When Lorde was 13, A&R scout Scott Maclachlan signed her to Universal and she began working with their songwriters at 14. Lorde began writing songs with her guitar at "about thirteen or fourteen".[better source needed] Yelich-O'connor adopted her stage name due to her fascination with "royals and aristocracy", but felt the name Lord was too masculine so added an 'e' to make it more feminine.
2012–present: Pure Heroine
Lorde's debut EP, The Love Club, was originally posted on SoundCloud in November 2012. Officially released digitally in March 2013 and on CD in May 2013, The Love Club EP features five songs, including the number one hit "Royals". On 27 May 2013, "Royals" was covered on national television on the New Zealand version of The X Factor by all-girl group Gap 5, mentored by Melanie Blatt. "Royals" debuted as a single at number 1 on the New Zealand Top 40 on 15 March 2013 and remained in the top position for three weeks. On 8 May 2013, The Love Club EP debuted in the number 2 position on the album chart. In August 2013, with "Royals", Lorde became the first female in 17 years to top the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs chart, since Tracy Bonham with her 1996-hit, "Mother Mother". Following the release of "Royals" in the United States in June 2013, 85,000 copies were sold during a single week in July. In a subsequent interview, Lorde stated, "I had a sneaking suspicion that it might do all right". The song also peaked number 1 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 (nine weeks at number one), as well as the Alternative charts and the Rock charts. With "Royals", Lorde became the first solo artist from New Zealand to top the US Billboard chart, and the youngest artist to hold the US number one in more than 25 years.
The "Tennis Court" single was released in New Zealand on 8 June 2013. The Tennis Court EP was released digitally in the UK on 7 June (due to the timezone difference) and physically on 22 June. It was played during the BBC Sport coverage of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships – Women's Singles final. On 14 June 2013, Lorde's second single "Tennis Court" debuted at number 1 on the New Zealand Top 40 singles chart. In the same week, she also became the first New Zealand artist to simultaneously have four songs in the top 20 tracks of the New Zealand Top 40. Previously, Titanium held this record with three songs. Lorde was the replacement for Frank Ocean, who cancelled because of illness, at the 2013 Splendour in the Grass festival. She was contacted on 26 July 2013, the Friday immediately prior to the weekend of the festival, while she was at a party with friends in Auckland, New Zealand. She performed before 10,000 people in northern Byron Bay, Australia, where the festival is based in 2013.
On 12 August 2013, Lorde announced on her Twitter profile that her debut album Pure Heroine would be released in the US on 30 September 2013. The album's release was preceded by a New Zealand advertising campaign, with its lyrics displayed in classified ads, shop windows, posters and fax broadcast to media offices. In early September 2013, Lorde and co-writer Joel Little were shortlisted for the 2013 Silver Scroll Award—the award honours outstanding achievements in the writing of original New Zealand pop music songs—for "Royals". On October 15, it was announced they had won. In a September 2013 interview for TV3's 3rd Degree, Lorde revealed that she had declined an offer from singer Katy Perry to be a supporting act on Perry's world tour. Her cover of Tears for Fears' hit song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was included on the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film soundtrack. In November 2013, Lorde signed a publishing deal with Songs Music Publishing worth a reported $2.5 million after a bidding war between various companies including Sony and her label Universal. The agreement gives the publisher the right to license Lorde's music for films and advertising.
The Faster Louder online publication, part of the Australian Sound Alliance media company, identified Pure Heroine as the top album of 2013 in its 'FL's Top 50 Albums of 2013' list. Published on 3 December 2013, the publication referenced its October 2–13 review, in which the writer referred to Lorde as "the pop superstar least likely". For the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Lorde is nominated for a total of four Grammys, which include Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Royals and Best Pop Vocal Album for Pure Heroine.
Voice and music
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Lorde's voice is "unique and powerfully intriguing" according to music online publication PopMatters and has been described as being "way beyond her years" Lorde has stated her main focus is her voice as she does not play any instruments saying "I don’t play any instruments, so my voice needs to have the focus. My vocal-scape is really important."
Lorde's musical style has been described by AllMusic as a "stylish mix of arty, confessional bedroom pop and club-ready electro-rock". Her work has also been compared to Grimes, Lana Del Rey, and Sky Ferreira. Musically, Lorde's debut album Pure Heroine followed in the same vein as the The Love Club EP, incorporating influences of ambient, art pop, dark wave, electronica, indietronica, minimal and synthpop. Lyrically, the album was primarily inspired by her youth and critiques mainstream culture.
Lorde's writing style and lyrical context on The Love Club EP has been described as aiming "to capture what it really is to be a teen", singing from a range of topics including the "all-consuming nature of friendship" to "finding yourself come hell or high water." Lorde described her sound as maturing when working on debut album. Pure Heroine lyrical themes have been said to "explore classic teen-pop themes – social anxiety, romantic yearning, debilitating ennui, booze-soaked ragers – with an eerie, zoomed-out detachment;" and be "certainly underpin[ed by]" "an adolescent aggrievance and angst." Rolling Stone wrote "Lorde's languidly aphoristic lyrics balance rock-star swagger and torqued-up teenage angst" and that her lyrics "have a rattle-nerve pathos and power like nothing else going in 2013."
Lorde's music draws from electropop, but she grew up listening to soul musicians Etta James and Otis Redding, as well as her parents' favorite records by the likes of Cat Stevens, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac. She cites the unusual vocals of Grimes, the band Sleigh Bells and producer SBTRKT as prominent influences for Lorde. Lorde also stated that she was inspired by the initially hidden identities of Burial and The Weeknd, explaining, "I feel like mystery is more interesting", and called American musical artist Nicki Minaj an "important female in pop".
Lorde describes short story writers Raymond Carver, Wells Tower, Tobias Wolff and Claire Vaye Watkins as lyrical inspirations – particularly noting their sentence structures. Lorde stated her music is also inspired by authors, citing Tobias Wolff, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman and Leonard Cohen as influences on her writing.
During the writing of The Love Club (2013), Lorde was particularly influenced by Kanye West and she performed a cover version of West's song "Hold My Liquor" at her Auckland concert on 7 September 2013. Lorde has also cited Prince as an influence. Lorde's music has been described as containing masculine qualities due to Lorde listening and admiring a range of male artists. She cites James Blake as an influence on her music stating "I think he's awesome and has been a big influence on me recently" as well as citing rapper J. Cole and electronic producers as influences, which she praises for the use of using "their vocals in a really interesting way, whether it might be chopping up a vocal part or really lash or lairing a vocal".
Lorde has received praise for her stage presence, and live performances. Billboard magazine praised Lorde for having a "well-defined stage presence" and an "savvy" and "unflappable" attitude. Continuing to say her performances contain "confidence and demeanor well beyond her years." During performances Lorde stated she likes to wear clothes that make her "feel grand" and an element of "theatricality". Lorde's vocals have been praised when performing live with Lorde being called a truly "talented vocalist" who sounds "just like the record".
Legacy and influence
Time placed Lorde on their list of The 16 Most Influential Teens of 2013. In 2013 Spotify announced that Lorde's song "Royals" was the most streamed song in New Zealand as well as being Spotify's most viral new artist worldwide. In August 2013, Lorde became the first solo female artist to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in the United States since Tracy Bonham in 1996. The song also holds the record for longest reign by a woman atop the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, surpassing Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." With "Royals", Lorde is the first New Zealand act to have achieved a Billboard Hot 100 number one as lead artist.
- Pure Heroine (2013)
Awards and nominations
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lorde.|
- Official website
- Lorde on Twitter
- Lorde at AllMusic
- Lorde at the Internet Movie Database
- Lorde at MTV