Bringing a touch of mystery, a pinch of hope and a heap of class in to a marketplace awash with
brash ‘show and tells’, Lorde is a genuine, gentle phenomenon. Sufficiently well schooled in the
principles to take pop music apart stitch by stitch, and re-assemble it to her own specifications, Ella
Yelich has turned heads, defied preconceptions and made an indelible impression across the
globe with Royals, Team and Pure Heroine.
The story of how a Kiwi schoolgirl concocted her own brand of sophisticated, observational and
distinctive pop music, and took it to the world, has become so ubiquitous it has almost become a
cliché - but it bears some repeating. Taken on by Universal at the tender age of 12, on the strength
of an amateur video and some very good instincts, Ella spent the following years establishing and
developing her craft, and finding her musical feet. When she linked up with producer and co-writer
Joel Little, she found a kindred spirit and a musical catalyst, who was able to help translate her razor
sharp lyrics and melodic sensibilities into something truly special.
If there were ever any doubts, they were soon dispelled as Royals and the entire Love Club EP
became a viral phenomenon, first in NZ, then all over. With international deals in place even before
local commercial release, the song sublimely captured the zeitgeist of 2013, and the oxymoronic
nature of our celebrity fixated society. Ironically Royals would also transform her from untypical observer
to unlikely contender, and celebrity in her own right, as it took a 9 week residency at the top
of the Billboard charts, and achieved multi-platinum success in a multitude of territories.
The release of her, by now ravenously awaited, debut album Pure Heroine, in September 2013,
added further substance to the extraordinary success - scaling the US Top Ten, and once again
amassing a veritable mountain of platinum sales around the world. From best kept secret to a decidedly
different kind of international superstar in a matter of months, Ella had to decline the school
ball, in favour of the likes of the Grammy’s (though she still wore her school shoes) where she was
awarded Best Song Of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance, The Brits (Best International
Female Solo Artist) and a swag of NZ Music Awards.
If success has changed her, it isn’t showing. She remains the same straight forward, unique,
smart, spirited individual, who initially insisted on sharing her songs and thoughts with the world for
free - and ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone, Billboard and Teen Vogue as a result. Going
from a first show in a tiny Auckland club basement, to a sold out American tour and top slots at the
likes of Coachella and Lollapalooza in little more than a year - Ella has been subjected to the kind
of attention and scrutiny that would phase even the most hardened showbiz veteran. Somehow
she wears it like a natural, maintaining her integrity and never compromising her authenticity and
honesty, no matter the setting.
Cut from a very different cloth to the people now ranked as her contemporaries, Lorde has carved
out her own space, one where her artistry will be able to grow and develop, as she continues on
with this fantastic voyage.