By Nora Swidler
This fall, we will all be bowing down to a new Lorde. The 16-year-old New Zealand native, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, was signed to Universal Music Group at the ripe young age of 13. She was discovered by one of Universal’s A&R scouts, who saw her perform at her school talent show. Her album was put on hold for a few years after being signed, while she developed as an artist.
The singer rose to the top of the iTunes top 10 and the Billboard top 100 with the hit single off her EP album, “Royals.” The song caught our attention by not being over-produced; listeners are able to hear the heavy purity of her voice, and our ears perk at her raw lyrics and the simplicity of the base. The light and cheery beat of “The Love Club” makes the listener smile and bounce along with Lorde.
One aspect of this newcomer that makes her all the more impressive is that she co-writes all of her songs with her producer, Joel Little. When asked to describe her sounds, she said she is “quite a minimalist with music.”
Singing live, Lorde contorts her face in a manner that suggests either severe pain or an overpoweringly potent, intolerable stench. Her long tumble of thick, curly, dark hair perfectly accompanies her innocent schoolgirl look. During a number of her live performances she wears an outfit that suggests she just left class at a Catholic school.
Lorde’s album, Pure Heroine, released on Sept. 27, is following the EP with mellow, eerie and ethereal tracks that allow her to be adult, withdrawn and pensive, while still maintaining her quirky and youthful style. In her music video for her new single, “Tennis Court,” Lorde maintains eye contact with the camera throughout the duration. Lorde is dolled up in an elegantly braided updo, her face is smeared with pale makeup and her lips a dark shade of purple. While she is silent during the greater part of the video, she is clearly enjoying herself and what she’s doing.
Her lyrics describe her youth and her life before fame. Lorde was raised by low-key parents with her siblings in the small town of Auckland, New Zealand. The town with “no postcode envy” is one of the reasons the singer describes herself as so down-to-Earth.
However, she has already gotten herself in trouble with the press by calling Taylor Swift out in a magazine interview for being “too flawless and unattainable.” Lorde suggested that Taylor Swift could not be a good role model for young women as she is beautiful, put-together and basically perfect. After some harsh backlash from Swift fans, Lorde issued a public apology on her blog stating that she was merely using Swift as a physical example of unattainable perfection.
This teen is definitely on her way to major fame. Her sound feels organic, her lyrics ring truth and her charm will bring her to the main stage. With her powerhouse voice, her alternative look, and early entry into celebrity conflicts, Lorde is on the road to becoming this year’s chart-topping female artist.
Be sure to listen to: “Tennis Court,” “Glory and Gore” and “Team.”