Lorde

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Lorde
Lorde in a black outfit and smiling
Lorde at the 2014 Sydney Laneway Festival
Background information
Birth nameElla Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor
Born(1996-11-07) 7 November 1996 (age 17)
Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Genres
OccupationsSinger-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2012–present
Labels
Associated actsJoel Little
Websitelorde.co.nz
 
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This article is about the New Zealand singer-songwriter. For other uses, see Lorde (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Lordi.
Lorde
Lorde in a black outfit and smiling
Lorde at the 2014 Sydney Laneway Festival
Background information
Birth nameElla Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor
Born(1996-11-07) 7 November 1996 (age 17)
Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Genres
OccupationsSinger-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2012–present
Labels
Associated actsJoel Little
Websitelorde.co.nz

Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor (born 7 November 1996), known by her stage name Lorde, is a New Zealand singer-songwriter. Born in Takapuna and raised in Devonport, Auckland, she became interested in performing as a child. In her early teens, she signed with Universal Music Group and was later paired with the songwriter and record producer Joel Little, who co-wrote and produced most of Lorde's works. Her first major release, The Love Club EP, was commercially released in March 2013. The project charted at number two on the national record charts of Australia and New Zealand.

In mid-2013, Lorde released her debut single "Royals". It became an international crossover hit, peaking atop the US Billboard Hot 100 and eventually made Lorde the youngest solo artist to achieve a US number-one single since Tiffany with her number-one hit "I Think We're Alone Now" in 1987. Later that year, she released her debut studio album, Pure Heroine. The record peaked atop the charts of Australia and New Zealand and charted at number three on the US Billboard 200. Its following singles include "Tennis Court", "Team", "No Better" and "Glory and Gore".

Lorde's music consists of the subgenres of electronica, pop and rock, including dream pop and indietronica. Her projects mainly criticise the mainstream popular culture and sometimes explores other typical teen pop themes, including anxiety and romance. A self-identified feminist, Lorde is noted for challenging the present-day pop artists, including Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. In 2013, she was named among Time's most influential teenagers in the world; she even made her way into Forbes's "30 Under 30" list a year later.

Life and career

1996–2011: Early life and career beginnings

Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor was born in Takapuna to civil engineer Vic O'Connor and poetess Sonja Yelich on 7 November 1996.[1][2][3] She was raised in the nearby suburb of Devonport with two sisters (Jerry and India Yelich-O'Connor) and a brother (Angelo Yelich-O'Connor).[4][5] She is of Croatian and Irish ancestry.[6] At age 5, Lorde followed her friend into a drama group and discovered a love of singing and acting.[7] In her secondary years, Lorde attended Belmont Intermediate School.[8] Her mother encouraged her to read a range of books, which Lorde cited as a lyrical influence, "I guess my mum influenced my lyrical style by always buying me books. She’d give me a mixture of kid and adult books too, there weren’t really any books I wasn’t allowed to read. I remember reading Feed by M.T. Anderson when I was six, and her giving me Salinger and Carver at a young age, and Janet Frame really young too."[9]

Lorde (left) and Louis McDonald (right) performing at The Vic Unplugged in 2010

On 13 August 2009, Lorde joined her band-mate Louis McDonald for a chat on Jim Mora's Afternoons Radio New Zealand. There, they performed covers of Pixie Lott's "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" and Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody".[10] In that year, they also won the school's annual talent show.[11] McDonald's father sent out his home audio recording of her and Louis McDonald covering Duffy's song "Warwick Avenue", and his home video recording of Lorde and Louis McDonald singing Pixie Lott's "Mama Do", to Universal Music Group (UMG)'s A&R Scott Maclachlan.[9] In 2009 Maclachlan signed her to UMG for development.[12] In 2010, Lorde and McDonald performed covers live on a regular basis in the duet called "Ella & Louis" at The Leigh Sawmill Cafe on 15 August, on The Vic Unplugged at Victoria Theatre on 27 October and at Devonstock in Devonport on 12 December.[13]

In 2011, UMG hired vocal coach Frances Dickinson to give Lorde singing lessons twice a week for a year.[14] During this time, she began writing songs and was set up with a succession of songwriters, but without success.[15][12] At the age of fourteen, Lorde started reading short fiction and learnt how to "put words together."[16] She then performed her own original songs publicly for the first time on The Vic Unplugged II at the Devonport Victoria Theatre on 16 November 2011.[17]

2011–13: The Love Club EP and Pure Heroine

Lorde at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, September 2013

In December 2011, MacLachlan paired Lorde with Joel Little, a songwriter, record producer and former Goodnight Nurse lead singer. The pair recorded five songs for an EP at Little's Golden Age Studios in Morningside, Auckland, and finished within three weeks.[18] In November 2012, Lorde self-released the record, entitled The Love Club EP, through her SoundCloud account for free download.[4] After being freely downloaded 60,000 times, UMG decided to commercially release the EP for sales in March 2013.[12] The project peaked at number two on the record charts of New Zealand and Australia.[19]

In June of that year, "Royals" was released as a single from the EP.[20] The single became a crossover hit, peaking atop the US Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks.[21] Consequently, Lorde became the youngest solo artist to achieve a number-one single in the US with "Royals", since Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now" (1988).[22] The track eventually won the 2013 APRA Silver Scroll Award,[23] and two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards.[24]

In September 2013, Lorde released her debut studio album, Pure Heroine.[25] The album peaked atop the charts of New Zealand and Australia and reached the top five of several national charts, including Canada, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom.[26][27] In the United States, Pure Heroine peaked at number three on the Billboard 200,[28] and has sold 1.33 million copies.[29] Worldwide, Pure Heroine has sold 1.5 million copies by the end of 2013.[30] The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.[24]

Pure Heroine was further preceded by four singles. "Tennis Court" was released in June 2013,[31] and topped the New Zealand Singles Chart.[32] The third single, "Team", became a top-ten hit worldwide.[28][32] "No Better", a song only included on the extended version of Pure Heroine, and "Glory and Gore" were released as the two final singles from the record, respectively.[33] Her cover of Tears for Fears' single "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was included on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film soundtrack.[34] 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 Music Entertainment and her label UMG. The agreement gives the publisher the right to license Lorde's music for films and advertising.[35][36]

2014–present: Touring and second studio album

Lorde at the Lollapalooza in São Paulo, 2014

In December 2013, Lorde announced that she had began writing material for her second studio album.[37] In June 2014, Lorde revealed that her second studio album would be "totally different" from her debut album, continuing to reveal her writing style had changed and that she is working on new music and "it's definitely still at the beginning."[38] In the first half of 2014, Lorde headlined various festivals, including the Laneway Festival in Sydney, Australia,[39] the Lollapalooza Chile in Santiago, Chile,[40] the Lollapalooza in Buenos Aires, Argentina,[41] the Lollapalooza in São Paulo, Brazil,[42] and the Coachella Festival in California.[43]

To promote The Love Club EP and Pure Heroine, Lorde embarked on a tour, with its first leg happening in North America in early 2014.[44] She further announced the Australian leg (which happened in July)[45] and the second North American leg (which took place in August).[46] In April of that year, Lorde performed "All Apologies" with the surviving members of Nirvana during the band's induction ceremony at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.[47] On 31 July 2014, it was announced that Lorde would be record songs the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. It was also revealed that Lorde would released a single from the soundtrack in Autumn 2014.[48] On 1 August 2014, Lorde performed at the Lollapalooza again in Grant Park, Chicago.[49] The set of Lorde was critically well received, with Billboard picked it as the fifth best performance of the festival,[50] while Rolling Stone deemed it the best segment of the Lollapalooza in Chicago.[51]

Artistry

Influences

Despite growing up in New Zealand, Lorde grew up listening to American soul musicians Etta James and Otis Redding,[9] as well as her parents' favourite records by the likes of Cat Stevens, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac. She cites the unusual vocals of Grimes, band Sleigh Bells and producer SBTRKT as her prominent influences.[52][53] Musically, Lorde is inspired by Lana Del Rey,[54] James Blake, Yeasayer, Animal Collective,[55] Kanye West and Prince.[56] She cites rapper J. Cole and electronic producers as influences, saying that she was impressed by "their vocals in a really interesting way, whether it might be chopping up a vocal part or really lash or layering a vocal."[14][57] Lorde also states that she was inspired by the initially hidden identities of Burial and The Weeknd, explaining, "I feel like mystery is more interesting".[4] She names her mother, a poetess, as the main influence for her songwriting skill.[9] Lorde describes short story writers Raymond Carver, Wells Tower, Tobias Wolff and Claire Vaye Watkins as lyrical inspirations – particularly noting their sentence structures.[58][59]

Musical style

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A sample of "Royals", which is characterised as an artpop and electropop song.[53][60] Its lyrics criticise the glamorous lifestyle of the rich.[61]

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Music critics opine that Lorde's music is styled in the subgenres of electronica, pop, rock: art pop,[62] indie pop,[63] dream pop,[64] electropop[65] and indietronica.[66] Multiple reviewers also note the influences of hip hop and R&B on Lorde's releases.[67][68] In a review for Consequence of Sound, Jon Hadusek details the minimal production on Lorde's music "allows [her] to sing any melody she wants, layering them over one another to create a choral effect."[69] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard shares that her works features deep bass rumbles, lilting loops and programmed beats.[70] Paul Lester from The Guardian compared Lorde's music to that of Sky Ferreira, Lana Del Rey, Grimes and Eliza Doolittle.[61]

Lorde is an alto;[71] however, on "Royals", she performs with a mezzo-soprano vocal range.[62] Lorde writes her music vocally and does not play musical instruments on her records or onstage.[72] She states that her main focus is her voice, elaborating, "I don't play any instruments, so my voice needs to have the focus. My vocal-scape is really important."[73] PopMatters's Evan Sawdey describes Lorde's vocals as being "unique and powerfully intriguing."[64] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard praises her vocals for being "dynamic, smoky and restrained."[70] Lester characterises Lorde's vocals as "sweet, sultry and sour",[61] while James Lachno from The Daily Telegraph details the singer's voice as "twitchy electro."[53] In an article for The AV Club, Kevin McFarland writes that "[Lorde's] voice is the alpha and omega of her talent. She has the presence and vocal development of singers more than twice her age. Her voice isn’t booming or overpowering, but rather mystifying and alluring, both floating on its own in a sea of reverb and digital blips and awash in an army of chorused overdubs."[74]

Songwriting and lyrics

The lyrical content of her two first major releases, The Love Club EP and Pure Heroine, criticises mainstream popular culture.[64] Lindsay Zoladz from Pitchfork Media noted that Lorde expressed her indifference towards modern-day's culture, further explaining that "Lorde has introduced herself to the world as someone who gives very few fucks."[75] On behalf of Rolling Stone, critic Jonah Weiner also noted the typical themes of teen pop music, including "social anxiety, romantic yearning, debilitating ennui [and] booze-soaked ragers."[7] Jim Pickney from the New Zealand Listener writes that Lorde's lyrics are structured in a short story manner and praised that her songwriting ability "combines unmistakably teenage confusion, curiosity and confidence with word skills beyond her years."[54]

Personal life and image

Lorde at the Lollapalooza Chile in Constanza, 2014

From 2010 to 2013, Lorde attended Takapuna Grammar School, completing Year Twelve.[76] She chose not to return in 2014 to finish Year Thirteen.[77] In late 2013, Lorde started a relationship with the New Zealand-born photographer James Lowe, whom she met before starting her music career.[78]

Lorde chose her stage name because she was fascinated with "royals and aristocracy". However, she felt the name Lord was too masculine, thus she added an "e" to make it more feminine.[79] She described her public image as coming "naturally" to her.[80] Her music and image is noted for challenging present-day pop artists such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna.[81] Lorde is a self-identified feminist.[82] She elaborated,[83]

People like to paint me in a certain way, but I'm a hugely sex-positive person and I have nothing against anyone getting naked. For me personally I just don't think it really would complement my music in any way or help me tell a story any better. It's not like I have a problem with dancing around in undies—I think you can use that stuff in a hugely powerful way. It just hasn’t felt necessary for me.

In June 2014, Lorde released a two-piece make-up limited edition collection in collaboration with MAC Cosmetics, consisting of a lipstick titled after her debut album, Pure Heroine, and an eyeliner.[84] She is working with the Electoral Commission to increase the voter turnout of young people at the 2014 New Zealand general election, despite not being eligible to vote.[85]

In November 2013, Lorde was included in Time's list of the most influential teenagers in the world, with Mark Metcalfe from the publication commenting that she was "forging her own path."[86] In January 2014, Forbes placed Lorde on their "30 Under 30" list of young people "who are changing our world."[87] Additionally, she was the youngest individual to be featured on the list.[88] Billboard named Lorde "The New Queen of Alternative" by Billboard.[4] Britney Spears named Lorde as an influence, commenting that her music "[is] really different and cool [...] It's inspiring for me, and it makes people eager to listen to music, which helps everyone."[89]

Achievements

Following her breakthrough, Lorde won four New Zealand Music Awards at the 2013 ceremony.[90] "Royals" additionally earned the New Zealand APRA Scroll Siver Awards in that year.[23] At the 2014 Grammy Awards, Lorde received two Grammy Awards for her single "Royals" in the categories Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.[91] She has also achieved two Billboard Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Awards and three World Music Awards.[92]

Discography

References

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  92. ^ Lorde's awards:

External links