Amidst a world of calculating contest winners, manufactured show ponies and cheap knock offs - Lorde is a true original.
Born Ella Yelich-O'Connor on 7 November 1996 in Auckland's North Shore, Lorde listened to the likes of Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths and Nick Drake, alongside soul artists such as Etta James and Otis Redding when she's growing up. With a mother who is a celebrated poet herself, she became quite familiar with the likes of T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound, Allan Ginsberg, Raymond Carver and Sylvia Plath.
Lorde spent much of her early life working with Universal to develop her sound and artistic vision. She was spotted at the age of 12 by A&R scout Scott Maclachlan and later signed to Universal at the age of 13 and began working with songwriters at 14. "I started writing songs when I was 13 or 14 because I've always been a huge reader. My mum's a poet and we've always had so many books, and that's always been a big thing for me, arguably more so than music," she said.
The combination of nutritious musical diet and the essential poetic influence helped shape her into an artist with a strong melodic and lyrical footing. A diva in training, she enriched her musical influence through the years by embracing contemporary music coming from James Blake, Bon Iver, Burial, Animal Collective, SBTRKT and Drake.
Her first EP "The Love Club EP" was released in March 2013 with no major marketing or publicity, but it managed to land her at No. 1 on the New Zealand Album Chart. Single "Royals" simultaneously occupied the top spot in the singles chart - without so much as a video on YouTube. In August 2013, she became the first woman to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in the United States since Tracy Bonham did so in 1996.
While still riding high on the success of her extended play, Lorde was gearing up to release her first-ever full-length album "Pure Heroine". If the impressive chart performance of her EP is any indication of how the upcoming album would do, she was expected to make a notable debut on the album chart when the CD is released in September.
Lorde officially released "Pure Heroine" on September 27, 2013 through Universal Music Group, Republic Records and Lava Records. Laced with 10 songs in total, the record received highly positive reviews from music critics. It debuted at No. 1 on the official New Zealand Music Chart and the ARIA Charts, while it peaked at No. 3 on Billboard 200 chart. The album was later nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014.
After garnering much success with the album, Lorde signed a publishing deal with Songs Music Publishing in November 2013 after a bidding war between various companies including her label UMG and Sony Music Entertainment. The agreement, which was reportedly worth $2.5 million, would give the publisher the right to license Lorde's music for films and advertising.
In support of "Pure Heroine", Lorde embarked on her first international tour in March 2014. The first leg of her North American tour included back-to-back shows at New York's Roseland Ballroom and big venues like Tower Theatre in Philadelphia. She later announced the Australian leg, which was kicked off in July, and the second North American leg, which was held in August.
In addition to her busy schedule with the tour, Lorde headlined various festivals throughout 2014 including Laneway Festival in Sydney, Australia. She also performed at Coachella in California and Lollapalooza in Chicago, where Rolling Stone deemed her performance as the best segment of the festival.
In June 2014, Lorde said that the follow-up to "Pure Heroine" was in its early stages. She claimed that the upcoming record was "totally different" from her debut album. "I'm working on stuff quite tentatively. It's definitely still at the beginning and yeah, it's totally different," she told BBC Newsbeat at that time. While she was busy preparing for new materials for the next album, Lorde released "Yellow Flicker Beat" on September 29, 2014 as the first single from the soundtrack of "The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 1".
While there was a few reports about Lorde's much-anticipated sophomore album, the singer gave update that the record was already written and they're still in production stages. She also teased fans with a cryptic Instagram post, which seemingly found her shooting a music video, back in August 2016. In November, Lorde posted on Facebook a note stating that she was gearing up to release her new album, and she was about to "show you the new world."
After teasing fans with cryptic Instagram posts and a mysterious ad, Lorde released "Green Light" on March 3, 2017. Co-written by Lorde, Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, the electro-pop song was mainly inspired by Lorde's first heartbreak. Released through Universal Music New Zealand, the song is the lead single off her upcoming sophomore album "Melodrama", which is set to be released on June 16.
A week after releasing "Green Light", Lorde unleashed a new song called "Liability". She performed both songs for the first time on "Saturday Night Live" on March 11.