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Because the way teenagers are and the way they live is really special and really different to any other stage in life.” From the off she refused to abide by the usual pop rules, making her songs available for free online. But then it kind of kept going,” she says, referring to the word-of-mouth success of those early tracks, “and I realised that, if people my age are to get it in some way, I have to put myself out there for them.” When I suggest that, compared to many of her peers (Rihanna, Iggy Azalea, even the notionally more restrained Ariana Grande), she dresses demurely, she bridles at the word. But if it happened to be a bra and undies that made me feel that way, why deny yourself that?
“Even at 14 I had this feminist idea: why should I have to deal with people commenting on what my legs look like? “The stuff that I feel comfortable in, and beautiful and cool and strong in, is different to what this pop star or this indie musician feels comfortable in. In a world that is trying to tell women all the time that you can’t have something that you want for whatever reason…” She stops.
She grew up in a nice beachside suburb of Auckland, the second of four children.
Her mother, a poet, and her father, a civil engineer, created a home environment that was cultured and inquiring, and Ella was a voracious and precocious reader.
“No, I don’t think about being demure.” She’s also aware of the narrative that attaches itself to young female artists: a boy with an “attitude” is a cool rock’n’roller, a girl is a diva-brat. They don’t even have to be young, they don’t have to be in this industry.
People find it difficult to watch women being assertive or dominant.
“Part of what is really difficult about being ‘new-famous’, as I call it,” she says, “is having to watch the people that you really care about being subjected to the kind of scrutiny that they wouldn’t be normally.
When people don’t know you and they’re making judgments, they look at you as they would a character on a TV show, or the CEO of a brand. But I always feel bad for other people.” Soon, Lorde will finally take some time off. I just let my dad deal with it.” Has she treated herself to anything extravagant yet? “See, I’m boring because my favourite thing to do is trawl the inorganics. ” This, it transpires, is a New Zealand reuse/recycling initiative: a period each year when everyone clears out their old televisions, sofas, suitcases, clothes. Apparently even superstar teenagers – no matter how preternaturally wise and cool – can be mortified.
’ “It surprises me still that people are surprised that I want to sit at the lighting desk and do my own lighting design for my show. “It would be weird for them if I went to Hollywood and came back different – ‘Look at my big bodyguards! The eloquent, confident Lorde pauses uncharacteristically before replying – she rarely discusses her relationship.There are spas, hikes, rides, scenic vistas at every turn and a dramatic, scenic coastline.In winter, however, the place really comes into its own.And she’s the BFF of Taylor Swift, who wrote on her Instagram account earlier this month, “It’s Ella’s 18th birthday technically but we all know she’s really 300 and knows all the secrets of the universe.” As is evident in her anti-consumerist lyrics, feminist messaging and thoughtful electronic balladry, Lorde is also entirely her own person – no mean feat in a modern pop world of pasteurised homogeneity.On the wintry afternoon that we meet, her familiar gothic tumble of hair is scraped and tied back, and she’s pale and make-up free, with no attempt to hide the acne troubling her cheeks. I thought it was very cool, very 1990s,” she says of the decade of her birth.
Real name Ella Yelich-O’Connor, she’s a chart phenomenon who has sold 27 million records around the world, a double Grammy-winner, and the Best International Female Artist at this year’s Brit Awards.