Lorde would be the stage name for singer and songwriter Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor. The title would take inspiration from the aristocracy social class, giving the youngster a platform to conquer the music charts.
The New Zealand native was born in Takapuna on November 7, 1996. Mother Sonja worked as a poet and father Vic a civil engineer. Yelich O’Connor would grow up with her three siblings Angelo, India and Jerry in the town of Devonport.
Her talent was obvious at a young age. So much so that Universal Music would recognise her gifts at a local school talent event. Yelich O’Connor was singing ‘Warwick Avenue’ by Duffy before a talent scout from the label identified her skills.
Music writing has always been a part of her repertoire. She would recall that one of her first original songs would be something of a diss track that focused on a peer in her year at school, taking aim at her melodramatic behaviour and impacting on the reputation of that year to others.
Lou Reed would be an inspiration to Lorde with the late musician offering a template for his own career path. She would consider the tracks ‘Heroin’ and ‘Perfect Day’ as close to perfection for a musical creation, arguing that “Lou Reed taught me that unflinching honesty is a very powerful tool in song writing.”
Lorde’s debut studio album Pure Heroine would win widespread acclaim upon its release in 2013. The leading single ‘Royals’ is said to be inspired by artists like Kanye West and Lana Del Rey who showcased “unobtainable opulence.” Lorde and West would eventually meet in person during a set at Later with Jools Holland for the BBC.
Other titles like ‘Tennis Court’ and ‘Team’ would help the album to number one in Australia, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, US digital album billboard and of course New Zealand. It would take 5 million certified sales worldwide with gold and platinum status.
The follow up album Melodrama would be released in 2017. The title would be recorded across New York and Los Angeles with ‘Green Light’, ‘Homemade Dynamite’ and ‘Perfect Places’ being the leading singles. The passing of artists Prince and David Bowie would be cited as inspiration during the production process.
Although the critics would rate the album highly, the commercial figures could not replicate the success of her previous effort. Melodrama would see a total of 400,000 sales globally despite taking number one spot on the US Billboard 200 charts.
Lorde has completed two world tours courtesy of Pure Heroine Tour spanning 2013 and 2014 and Melodrama World Tour that spanned 2017 and 2018. This is a schedule that incorporated Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Washington DC, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Mexico City, Berlin, Paris, London, Tokyo, Auckland, Wellington and more.
The idea of a female recording artist being a sexualised performer is not something that Lorde has gravitated towards. In fact, Yelich O’Connor is far more of an introvert and prefers to focus on her music rather than showing off skin and being a figure of objectivity.
This would be crystalised with her interview with V, outlining that the approach is a deliberate choice given what she feels comfortable doing and what she has seen from contemporaries who have taken a different stance on the subject. “I have nothing against anyone getting naked,” she famously told the outlet. “I just don’t think it really would compliment my music in any way or help me tell a story any better.”
Lorde enjoys Croatian and New Zealand citizenship given the heritage on her mother’s side of the family, taking up residency in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay in 2016.