The music scene is constantly changing. Different artists come in and takeover the spotlight and musical tastes continually fluctuate. Songs come and go, and many musicians get lost in the mix, making music that’s catchy and popular for a time, but isn’t necessarily anything special. But sometimes an artist comes in and takes the music world by storm, bringing us something new and extraordinary.
Throughout this year, the scene has been abuzz with one such artist: Lorde. Born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, but going by the one-word moniker, this teenage New Zealander has emerged as one of the most exciting and creative new artists of today. But what is it that makes Lorde so special?
Well, to begin, the talented singer and songwriter is just 16 years old. She began her musical career when she was discovered by an A&R exec from Universal Records at age 12. She signed a record deal with them and got to work on her first EP, The Love Club, which was released last November. When she released the EP, Lorde was still an unknown teenage girl from the suburbs in New Zealand.
The springboard to Lorde’s worldwide popularity was her first hit single, “Royals.” First becoming popular in her home country, it wasn’t long before the song gained huge success in the U.S. as well. The song became so popular that Lorde unsurprisingly hit the U.S. charts, with “Royals” reaching No. 1. She made more waves with this by becoming the first female to top the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs chart in 17 years, the youngest artist to hold the U.S. number one in more than 25 years and the first New Zealand solo artist to have a number one song in the U.S. ever.
Her second single, “Tennis Court,” was also a huge success, furthering her status as a teen musical sensation. On June 14th, it debuted at No. 1 on the New Zealand Top 40 Singles Chart. In that same week, she also became the first New Zealander to simultaneously have four songs in the top 20 tracks of the New Zealand Top 40. Both “Royals” and “Tennis Court” also have music videos accompanying the songs now, “Tennis Court” with over 13 million views, and “Royals” with over 62 million views. Both of these songs are included on her first full length record, Pure Heroine.
Besides all these – and many more – accomplishments, the wunderkind is on everyone’s radar because she breaks many of the current trends with her music. She writes what she knows, which considering her young age, many would expect to result in the fluffy, mass-produced bubblegum-pop we find blaring through our radios so often. But Lorde doesn’t do that. While the electropop influence is evident in the sound and the beats and melodies can get stuck in your head easily, Lorde’s deep and unique voice and the poetic and thoughtful lyrics set her apart as an intelligent and talented artist.
It’s easy to forget that the girl is so young listening to her work or even when seeing her interactions outside of her music. With her dark and brooding look, distinct sense of style, and cool, confident poise, she seems older than she really is. But at heart, she is just 16-year-old girl. She comes from a middle-class family, likes typical things like fashion and hanging out with her friends, and she’ll crack jokes in her interviews, often commenting on this interesting transition into a life of fame.
It’s hard to compare Lorde to any one musician or classify it in any one genre, but that uniqueness is just another reason she is worth checking out. Lorde is a new artist, but I don’t foresee her going anywhere anytime soon, and I’m excited to see what she has in store for everyone.