The 16-year-old songstress, seen by many as the Antipodean equivalent to Lana Del Rey, is in the midst of a meteoric rise to fame. With great style and thoughtful lyrics Lorde, real name Ella Yelich O’Connor, is about to shed the comparisons.
YOU’VE BEEN HAILED AS THE NEXT LANA DEL REY. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING COMPARED TO OTHER FEMALE ARTISTS, INCLUDING LANA?
Female artists only get compared to other female artists, which seems a little boring to me. Lana Del Rey makes pop music with lyrics that are descriptive and interesting, and she has a low voice, so people lump us together. But we are very different writers and musicians. She’s got this tragedy about her, this desperation. Every song of hers is about dependence on a man, total neediness, which isn’t something I find interesting to write about and isn’t something I think female musicians should write about because it just makes girls think that shit is cool which isn’t true at all. I think some of what Lana does is great, some doesn’t interest me: same as every artist.
YOUR MUSIC IS QUITE LYRICALLY DRIVEN. WOULD YOU CREDIT THIS TO YOUR MOTHER BEING A POET?
My mum has always bought me a lot of books so she definitely helped me become the writer that I am. I hate writing poetry though. Before songs I only wrote short stories. They’re my first love.
WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS A PARTICULARLY GOOD TIME IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY FOR FEMALE ARTISTS TO BE HEARD AND PROMOTED?
I’m not sure… we’ll have to see.
DO YOU PREFER TO BE IN THE STUDIO OR PERFORMING LIVE IN ON STAGE?
If I could write every day of the year, I would. Performing live is a real rush for me, I feel like I’m on drugs. But I do get nervous beforehand. Writing is less high-energy but also less anxious. Can I have both?
FASHION AND MUSIC SEEM TO BE INEXTRICABLY LINKED THESE DAYS. WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LOOK? BEING SO YOUNG HOW OFTEN DOES YOUR LOOK EVOLVE?
If I had heaps of money I would have a ton of favourite designers and my look would change all the time. But I don’t, so I wear the same clothes I’ve owned for years, or stolen from my dad, or been given by designers. I’ve been in the studio for three months and I share a room with my big sister so right now my look is about what clothes I can find with the light on for as short a time as possible… cool, I know. But I love black and witchy vibes. Chokers and transfer tattoos and big clunky shoes. I invented this thing for the clothes I’m wearing in the ‘Tennis Court’ video – sport goth – I love it because it’s such a ridiculous combination of styles. But just you wait, sport goth is gonna be a big thing.
YOU’RE FROM NEW ZEALAND, WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST WHEN YOU’RE AWAY FROM HOME?
I haven’t been away from home for long enough yet to miss anything but I’ve lived by beaches my whole life and I’ve heard from friends who go overseas that’s what you miss. I also know for a fact I’m going to miss my dog and my little brother… and probably my bed.
YOUR DEBUT EP WENT TO NO.1 IN THE ITUNES CHART IN NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA, AS WELL AS ENTERING THE US TOP TEN, IMMEDIATELY CATAPULTING YOU INTO THE LIMELIGHT – DO YOU GET RECOGNIZED NOW AND HOW ARE YOU COPING WITH THE INEVITABLE FAME THAT COMES WITH SUCCESS?
I do get recognized quite a bit, probably because New Zealand is so small you’re kind of guaranteed to get recognized anywhere you go if you’re even a little bit well known. I totally don’t mind it though. I’m getting used to being recognized while doing something embarrassing like eating weird or sitting in the gutter or something. People are always super nice and meeting fans is the coolest thing ever for me.
WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH?
There are lots of producers and writers whose work I’m interested in – Ariel Rechtstaid, The Weeknd, Paul Epworth and Deptford Goth are a few. I’d love to work with people who do something really different to me. Challenges are good!
DO PEOPLE EVER FORGET HOW YOUNG YOU ARE? DO YOU FEEL UNDER PRESSURE TO BEHAVE LIKE AN ADULT ALL THE TIME?
Well, I think if you follow me on Twitter you know I don’t really act like an adult. I goof around and act silly lots of the time. I love working with adults and being in such a stimulating environment – it’s never daunting to me at all and I can be mature when I need to. But I probably need to stop doing, like, rapper hands in the boardroom or whatever, haha.
YOUR LYRICS AND VIDEOS CREATE A MORE REALISTIC VIEW OF TEENAGE LIFE – DO YOU THINK TEENAGERS ARE WRONGLY STEREOTYPED?
In some ways. Lots of adults want people to think people my age are thugs or throwing their lives away. But we aren’t really menaces to society, more just figuring shit out still. I love Skins but I don’t think it really helps in that kind of crazy fucked-up portrayal of youth – like I said before, everything’s a little more monotonous than that sometimes. My experience of being a teenager is it feels like a waiting period. Before I released music, and was just another kid sitting outside Burger King, being sixteen felt like the worst thing in the world, like time had slowed down and I just wanted to be old enough to have a life. I try to depict that realism and frustration with what I do.
For more information, check out her website.