6 May 2017

Lorde: Sharing the brand new sounds from her mind

From Saturday Morning, 8:30 am on 6 May 2017

Ella Yelich-O'Connor – better known as Lorde - shot to fame with her hit single ‘Royals’ in 2013, which took out a Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

She is now working with US producers Jack Antonoff and Frank Dukes, and has released two new singles, ‘Green Light’ and ‘Liability’, from her upcoming album Melodrama to great acclaim.

Her full-length debut album, Pure Heroine, was released in September 2013 and was also an international smash.

The singles ‘Tennis Court’, ‘Team’ and ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ followed.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

With her new album on the horizon, she talks to Kim Hill about feeling free, hearing colours and the oddness of some of her “spicy” fan mail.

Yelich-O'Connor says ‘Green Light’’s warm reception was a triumph after a two-year hiatus.

“Yeah, I feel quite good… I feel like it did everything I hoped it would do, you know, it sort of reintroduced people to what I was doing in a nice little shot in the arm.”

She feels very lucky her fans are willing to go with her to new and interesting places, as she wasn’t sure that would be the case with ‘Green Light’.

“I actually feel more kind of light and open and calm in the last three months, than I have, probably in my whole life. Because it’s the most incredibly freeing knowledge to know that, you know, to an extent, people want to go with you and see the world inside your brain.”

Her second appearance at Coachella in April received widespread acclaim, her performance more assured than her 2014 set on the back of Royals.

Lorde performed on day three of Coachella over the weekend.

Lorde performed on day three of Coachella over the weekend. Photo: AFP

“Every single musician is nervous before they play Coachella. Every single musicians is like, this has to be the best show, because it really is, it’s how we show the whole world what it is we’re working with.”

And Yelich-O'Connor had a hand in every aspect of it, she says. 

“For me, we built this show that I am so proud of… I can really say I built the entirety of that show, from the lighting design to the choreography, to the set design to the visuals to the costume.

“I’m the show runner there and it was so cool getting to play Coachella and kind of seeing it affect people and seeing them sort of grab the thread that I was offering out.”

She recently told The New York Times she has synaesthesia, which allows her to see music as colours, and had been asked about it ever since.

“I mean it’s just a funny thing to talk about because if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t believe in it, you know? It sounds so fanciful, but it is real.

Lorde and Taylor Swift attend the 56th annual Grammy Awards.

Lorde and Taylor Swift attend the 56th annual Grammy Awards. Photo: AFP

“Certain lines of melody kind of present as different colours… for me it’s sort of these, I almost see it as clouds of colour, they sort of hang in the air, in the way a gas would if it could be visualised.”

Yelich-O’Connor made the Melodrama album with music producer Jack Antonoff in the New York apartment he shares with actress and writer Lena Dunham.

“She’s like an old, old aunt. She’s always kind of pressing a book into your hands, coming out with some sort of charm bracelet she says is, you know, just for you. She’s wonderful and he’s wonderful too and they complement each other so perfectly. It was nice to sort of be wrapped up in that.”

And now, with the album due out in June, she’s preparing for the touring that goes with it. She says it can also garner some attention in some interesting forms.

“I do get some strange letters in the mail, I get some strange Instagram DMs, there are people with interesting fetishes who like to reach out to me and tell me how they’re feeling about me… You’d be surprised what people can have fetishes about!”

Ella Yelich-O'Connor aka Lorde, shot to fame with her hit single 'Royals' in 2013 and has not stopped topping music charts ever since.

Lorde on the red carpet at the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards in Auckland.

Lorde on the red carpet at the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards in Auckland. Photo: Twitter / @Lorde_fix

Signed to the Universal record label shortly after winning the Belmont Intermediate talent competition in 2009, Lorde moved onto a creative partnership with the former lead singer of Goodnight Nurse, Joel Little, releasing the Love Club EP on SoundCloud in November 2012.

'Royals' was spun off as a single in the summer of 2013 and soon thereafter topped charts in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Italy, and reached the Top 10 in most other Western countries.

Her full-length debut, Pure Heroine, followed in September 2013 and it also became an international smash, earning double-platinum certification in the U.S., quintuple platinum certification in New Zealand, and going gold in the U.K. Further singles followed - 'Tennis Court' and 'Team' - the latter of which turned into a Top 10 hit in the U.S.

Her next outing was the song 'Yellow Flicker Beat', from the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Now working with US producers Jack Antonoff and Frank Dukes, she's released two singles, 'Green Light' and 'Liability', from her upcoming album, Melodrama, due out on June 16th 2017.