y now, you've likely heard "Royals," Lorde's minimalist, harmony-heavy takedown of the life of luxury, which sits at the No. 3 spot on Billboard's Hot 100. But who is Lorde, this smoky-voiced girl who's taking pop music by storm? Here, nine facts about the budding pop star you'll likely be hearing a lot more from in the future:
1. Lorde is the stage name of 16-year-old New Zealander Ella Yelich-O'Connor
Yep, she's a disarmingly young Kiwi from a suburb of Auckland, and still goes to high school there.
2. She signed a deal with Universal when she was 13
An agent spotted her singing at a local talent show when she was 12, and decided soon after to give her a development deal as a solo artist.
3. She has one EP, The Love Club, and her debut album, Pure Heroine, comes out on Sept. 30 on Lava/Republic.
You can stream both below.
Pure Heroine (out Sept. 30):
The Love Club EP:
4. She has already broken a record on the alternative pop charts
Lorde is the first woman in 17 years to dominate Billboards's alternative charts for seven straight weeks — she's already bypassed Alanis Morissette's five-week reign in 1995 for "You Oughta Know."
5. Miley Cyrus' fans have already bullied her on Twitter
Last week, when "Royals" knocked Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" from the No. 1 spot on the iTunes charts, Cyrus fanatics directed a barrage of hateful tweets at the rookie pop star. "Kill yourself you crusty old hag," tweeted one user. "Your eyes are too far apart," wrote another. Things between the two singers, however, seemed to be just fine — Miley tweeted to Lorde: "why r people so mean??? Ps your music is awesome."
6. She's fascinated by royalty and celebrity
Many of Lorde's songs explore the perceived grandeur of a life of luxury. "I've been [obsessed with royalty] since I was a little kid," Lorde told VICE. "I used to write out all their family trees and everything! Now, though, I'm obsessed with really high profile celebrities who get really f--ked up… I find it all so interesting, such tragedies that stem from being put on a pedestal."
7. She turned down an opening slot on Katy Perry's upcoming world tour
Lorde spurned the potentially lucrative gig because she it didn't sit well with her. "I have a pretty good gut instinct for stuff and if it feels right I'll do it," she told a New Zealand television show.
8. She's a reportedly brilliant writer
Lorde writes all her wise-beyond-her-years lyrics herself (see: "I'm kinda over getting told to throw my hands up in the air / so there"), and she wrote the lyrics for "Royals" in just a half hour. "Right from the off, lyrically, her words were incredible," said Scott Maclachlan, her manager. "I don't use the word lightly... but I'd say she's a legitimate genius," said Lava President Jason Flom.
9. She hadn't been on an airplane until last month
For all the accolades, when she's not singing as Lorde, Ella Yelich-O'Connor seems to be a well-adjusted teenager who hadn't been on a plane until she made her live debut in North America in August. She's still going to the same public high school in New Zealand and would like to go to college someday. And the rest is just normal teenage stuff: "My mum takes my iPhone off me at night," she says, "because I need to do homework and sleep, otherwise I'd spend all night on Facebook and Instagram."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- The new bride who had a horrifying allergic reaction to her husband's sperm
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi dismantles another ObamaCare myth
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
Subscribe to the Week