Oh, Lorde, that girl can sing! With a strong, soulful voice and a bold attitude to match, it is hard to believe that Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, is only 16. Her catchy claim-to-fame hit, “Royals” has jillions of YouTube hits, but fans now have an entire album’s worth of sleepy pop tunes to play over and over—her debut album, Pure Heroine, dropped this week and Lorde has begun touring to packed houses: her show in Toronto (October 6) sold out so fast that they moved it to a bigger venue. Here’s to a sweet 16.
FLARE: Why the title Pure Heroine?
Lorde: They were just words that I felt strongly about—they looked beautiful and sounded beautiful and were a good way of introducing me.
FLARE: You were discovered at the age of 12—how did this all start happening for you?
Lorde: My record company heard me sing in my school talent show and they offered me a development deal. Within two years, I was writing songs, having vocal lessons and getting developed, which was a lot of fun.
FLARE: Do you feel like people are recognizing you more now with the success of “Royals”?
Lorde: I am in LA at the moment and that seems to happen a lot here. I am from Auckland, New Zealand and I basically never get bothered there, but this is what you dream of, I’m glad I get recognized.
FLARE: Do you feel you are treated differently in the music business because of your age?
Lorde: When people start working with me, some think, ‘we’ve got a teenager in the room, so we’ll just talk to each other and not include her,’ but that goes away quickly because I am the one calling the shots. It’s pretty funny, actually.
FLARE: Do you have control over your own image?
Lorde: Of course; that’s actually very important to me. Everything I put out is a reflection of me; everything is chosen by me. I pick my own clothes and I pretty much co-direct my videos.
FLARE: Do you have any artist whose stage presence you admire?
Lorde: Grace Jones is a good performer; Stevie Nicks is really good. I think Taylor Swift is an incredible performer; the way she just completely commands the stage is incredible. Justin Vernon from Bon Iver is someone who also comes to mind.
FLARE: How would you describe your personal style?
Lorde: I’m pretty laid back. I like clothing that is simply cut, but, at the same time, I like strong clothing. I have actually been into wearing pants lately: a nice tailored pantsuit, that’s a good look. I am not against people showing skin; I just don’t feel that comfortable when I do it.
FLARE: Do you have any favourite brands or labels?
Lorde: I really love Comme des Garçons. I have never been able to afford anything from there, but I bought this dress last week, which was the coolest thing I’ve bought in my entire life.
FLARE: We have hair envy! What is your hair beauty secret?
Lorde: I use this product called Potion 9 by Sebastian, and I scrunch [it] when it’s wet.
FLARE: Do you think there is a difference between your everyday style and stage style?
Lorde: I’m quite casual when I am not working, but I really like dressing up on-stage. I think it helps transport people, and, of course, helps create a mood for my show. I think anything visual that goes along with music helps builds a picture. [Style and music] definitely complement one another.