Lorde, the 17-year-old pop sensation from New Zealand, has already accomplished more in the first three months of 2014 than most aspiring performers achieve in a lifetime. On January 26, she shocked the music community when her song “Royals” was given the Grammy Award for Song of the Year – making her the youngest artist to win in a general category outside of Best New Artist.
Even before the big win, Lorde, born Ella Yelich O’Connor, told Twitter followers that her 16-date U.S. tour had sold out on January 13 – less than a month after it was announced. Last Saturday, rock legend Bruce Springsteen opened his Auckland concert with a solo acoustic rendition of “Royals.”
As if being covered by The Boss – 47 years Lorde’s senior – wasn’t flattering enough, Rolling Stone magazine wrote a very favorable review of her inaugural U.S. show in Austin, heaping praise on her minimalist approach.
“Even as a young woman the singer is clearly comfortable and in control onstage and when a black curtain behind her dropped to reveal her only two band members – on drums and keyboards – the picture of Lorde as a performer became even clearer,” wrote Rolling Stone’s Chad Swiatecki.
“The immense production on Lorde’s hit album Pure Heroine features layers of vocal tracks, which were delivered Monday night via pre-recorded backing tracks instead of using live singers,” Swiatecki added. “Using backing tracks locks a performer into a set song structure and can make a show feel like something of a karaoke set at times, but Lorde’s live singing meshed with the recorded elements and her band in a way that seemed far more organic and natural than would be expected of someone so young who’s just starting their first major tour.”
Lorde’s American tour kicked off on Tuesday and runs through May 17. Her Austin set spanned 14 songs and lasted 70 minutes. Pure Heroine was nominated for four Grammys, an impressive feat considering that she didn’t even have an album in circulation a year ago.
“While I dress and talk somewhat differently from other people whose songs are in the Top 40, I feel like more people dress like me than the media makes out,” Lorde told RookieMag.
She has no qualms about being a different kind of teen idol and has called out peers like Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus for being fake or overtly sexual. Lorde once referred to Swift as “too flawless and unattainable,” while claiming that Cyrus’ celebrity relied on “shock tactics” like nudity and lascivious behavior.
Lorde will follow her U.S. tour with performances at major music festivals, including Lollapalooza in Chile and Brazil and Coachella in California.