Lorde: More ‘Real’ Than Bieber, Cooler Than You

The 16-year-old's single 'Royals' is taking the music world by storm.

Lorde is cooler than you. Not only does she name-drop the likes of Nick Drake and SBTRKT as influences, her first song was inspired by Larry Clark’s 1995 dark coming-of-age tale “Kids,” which, coincidentally, was shot before she was born. That’s right, this erudite and articulate songstress is no weathered and weary musician who’s jaded by years in the biz — she’s just 16 years old. And despite her soon-to-be-status as “the next big thing,” she’s no manufactured pop princess either.

“I’ve always written. I wrote short stories until I was about 13 and then messed around with songwriting until I got a bit better,” Lorde, a.k.a. Ella Yelich-O’Connor, told MTV News of her budding and oh-so promising music career. “[My first song] was called ’Dope Ghost.’ I had just watched that Larry Clark movie ’Kids’ and I thought it was rad. I think it was poking fun at this girl in my year who was kind of going off the rails.”

Yelich-O’Connor, who grew up on New Zealand’s North Shore with a Neil Young-loving father and a poet for a mother, first caught the ear of the music world at a talent show when she was 12 years old. “It was my intermediate school talent show, so it was very low-key, just in my school hall,” Lorde said. “I sang ’Warwick Avenue’ by Duffy.”

Although she never posted a video to YouTube — this isn’t a Justin Bieber kind of fairy tale — footage of the show somehow found its way to her now-manager, Scott Maclachlan, which led to the tween to being signed by Universal Music at age 13.

After that initial signing, it was, obviously, not a meteoric rise for Yelich-O’Connor. She didn’t release any music until the end of 2012, when she dropped her Love Club EP on SoundCloud as a free stream, which was downloaded 60,000 times. The jams were released under the name Lorde, a nod to her affinity for royals of the traditional and pop variety.

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