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Art People July 26, 2013

New Zealand’s Royal

HER NAME IS ELLA YELICH-O’CONNOR, BUT THEY CALL HER LORDE, AND BY THEY, WE MEAN THE THOUSANDS OF LOYAL FOLLOWERS WHO TRULY BELIEVE SHE IS THE REAL DEAL.

You won’t see her on X-Factor, and she isn’t one of those fluke YouTube discoveries. In fact, her first EP, which came after three years of hard work, was released with little fanfare and simple design, which compared to this era of over-the-top, self-indulgent, shameless promotion, could have been missed if you blinked.

But 16-year-old Lorde has let her voice do the work. Even after 60,000 free downloads on SoundCloud, the five-song The Love Club EP hit number one on the New Zealand Album Chart in March, while the song Royals debuted at number one. All this, before a single YouTube video was available. Her visual absence and somewhat sarcastic penchant for royalty has fueled the mystery behind the girl.

Born and raised on Auckland’s North Shore, Lorde is a Takapuna Grammar School student with big hair, singing about the hormone-amped-yet-rather-banal life that are the teenage years, albeit one getting talked about way across the sea, by key players in the American entertainment business –Ryan Seacrest and Perez Hilton both having championed her talent.

With layered vocals, hip-hop beats and lyrics about money, big dreams and parties, you could almost overlook her, thinking she is the same old, but listen to a couple of tracks and you will know that without a doubt this girl is going to be something huge. Her sound is a bit Lana Del Rey, but believable.

Despite having just recently released a new single Tennis Court with its eerily dark, yet beautifully clever music video, which debuted at number one making her the first New Zealand artist to have four songs in the top 20 on the New Zealand charts, Lorde’s management team says she is staying low for the next few months while she records a new album in the studio and presumably works on a plan to navigate the potentially wicked waters of fame.

 

Words: Jennifer Laidlaw
Photo: Garth Badger

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