THE AGE OF LORDE

In cel­e­bra­tion of mod­ern youth and soar­ing suc­cess, the ac­com­plished singer-song­writer ex­plains why, after ex­it­ing her teenage years, she still feels like a new­born baby. By Alice Bir­rell.

VOGUE Australia - - Contents - Styled by Kate Darvill. Pho­tographed by Ni­cole Bent­ley.

Fash­ion The ac­com­plished singer-song­writer ex­plains why, de­spite find­ing her­self after ex­it­ing her teenage years, she still feels like a new­born baby.

How old is Lorde? If you’re a fan, then you know. If you’ve heard of her ca­reer arc, then you likely think she’s older than she is. You could av­er­age out the age of her celebrity friends – Tay­lor Swift (27), Jack Antonoff (33), Kar­lie Kloss (25) – but you’d still be off. Lorde has been on the world stage for just over four years and rarely is so much noise made about a mu­si­cian’s age. After the run­away suc­cess of her first al­bum, Pure Hero­ine, a US web­site asked a New Zealand reg­istry for a copy of her orig­i­nal birth cer­tifi­cate, at the cost of US$17, to si­lence a group of peo­ple on­line – self­dubbed ‘Lorde Age Truthers’. They didn’t be­lieve she could re­lease a de­but al­bum like that at 16. The cer­tifi­cate came back: Ella Mar­ija Lani Yelich- O’Con­nor, born Novem­ber 7, 1996. So, for the record, she’s about to turn 21.

A lot about Lorde de­fies tra­di­tional units of mea­sure­ment. Her daz­zling reap­pear­ance into the lime­light with her sec­ond al­bum, Melo­drama, has tested the lim­its of the tra­di­tional record cy­cle at four years, yet she says in one sin­gle evening she can pro­duce five songs. She seems to defy age. Her 2012 de­but EP, The Love Club, was re­leased for free on SoundCloud, where she be­came in­ter­net fa­mous be­fore any­one had time to count how many peo­ple had copies of her mu­sic. A re­cent Wall Street Jour­nal poll asked read­ers if they were her man­ager, would they ad­vise her to a) stick with her ‘edgy down-to-earth’ im­age or b) ‘pro­mote her into a big dy­namic star like Tay­lor Swift’; cat­e­gories all try­ing to be made to stick.

That the age el­e­ment has ac­tu­ally stuck con­fused her for a long time. Sit­ting in a spa chair in her Syd­ney ho­tel, the day be­fore her Vogue cover shoot, a month be­fore the re­lease of the al­bum, she’s ex­plain­ing what nav­i­gat­ing the mire of ques­tions on the topic was like. “The hard thing was when peo­ple would ask me: ‘Do you feel 16?’ and I’m like: ‘I don’t know, I’ve never been 40.’ It was re­ally con­fus­ing.” It’s after dark and the spa is closed, but one cor­ner room is open to get Lorde’s man­i­cure and pedi­cure done for the shoot, some­thing she’s apolo­getic about hav­ing to do dur­ing an in­ter­view, per­haps con­scious of a phys­i­cal en­act­ing of the dif­fer­ence be­tween celebrity and ev­ery­one else.

Her fame is not brand new, but new enough. Pure Hero­ine, which was her first full-length al­bum, came out in 2013 and soon after peaked at num­ber three on the Bill­board 200. The lead sin­gle Roy­als won her a Grammy in 2014 for Song of the Year where she also took home Best Pop Solo Per­for­mance. Her par­ents, in­clud­ing mum Sonja Yelich, al­ways by her side, watched as she col­lected the award in front of Bey­oncé and Jay-Z. That same year she made Forbes’s ’30 Un­der 30’ list.

That the al­bum en­shrined that for­ma­tive pe­riod of life was in part why the con­ver­sa­tion was kept alive. The crux was in the ma­tu­rity that the record, co-writ­ten with record pro­ducer Joel Lit­tle, beamed out, mak­ing it read like it was penned by a more sea­soned artist. It didn’t help that for a long time she didn’t put her face to her work; the al­bum cover was black with white text. In Team, the third sin­gle, she sings: ‘I’m kind of over be­ing told to put my hands up in the air/So there/I’m kind of older than I was when I rev­elled with­out a care.’ It was a ma­ture re­buke, a dec­la­ra­tion of self-aware­ness that a gen­er­a­tion didn’t want to be told what to be like.

“It was talk­ing about what it was like to be that age, so I did get it,” she says of the con­stant link be­tween her and teenage­hood since. “I’m not that much older than I was,” she says ac­ci­den­tally mim­ick­ing the words of her own song, “but when I do see a 16-year-old or 17-year-old do­ing in­ter­est­ing work, I’m like: ‘Huh, that’s in­ter­est­ing.’” What caught her was the ‘voice of a gen­er­a­tion’ la­bel.

“Peo­ple de­cided that I was the teenage per­spec­tive. They’d be like: ‘Oh, well, it’s not re­ally, be­cause it’s not cov­er­ing this sort of thing’ and I was like: ‘Ah, I’m just one kid! I can’t be ev­ery­body’s voice, you know,’” she says, speak­ing more out of re­spect to the grav­i­tas of such a ti­tle. She knew she was in a unique po­si­tion. “It was an in­ter­est­ing thing, and es­pe­cially be­cause I felt like my writ­ing was so spe­cific and so per­sonal, and peo­ple did re­ally take it to be this much wider thing, which is su­per­flat­ter­ing,” she qual­i­fies.

When Lorde turned 20 last year, she was in New York, part way through fin­ish­ing Melo­drama, when she posted a good­bye to her teens on Face­book. “To­mor­row I turn 20,” she wrote, “and it’s all I’ve been able to think about for days. I walk around the city, up by the park and by the health food store and down into the sub­way, this new age hang­ing in front of my eyes like two of those My­lar bal­loons that never come down. Can peo­ple see it, I won­der, that I’m about to cross over?” The marker was both for her­self and for her fol­low­ers. “I had been ob­sessed with teenage life since even be­fore I was a teenager, so to cross over felt re­ally poignant and like some­thing I had to ad­dress,” she says now. “It was say­ing good­bye to those years of be­ing 14, 15, 16 and just dis­cov­er­ing so much and feel­ing so in­vis­i­ble and run­ning around get­ting up to all this weird mis­chief in your own town. That was sort of the stuff that I was like: ‘Aww, guys!’”

Lorde’s close­ness with her fans is a con­stant. When she was 13, record la­bel ex­ec­u­tives tried to get her to build her fol­low­ing by go­ing on ‘lik­ing sprees’ after she had signed a de­vel­op­men­tal record deal. She re­fused. ‘Au­then­tic­ity’ is now the gold stan­dard in so­cial me­dia en­gage­ment, bandied around in board­rooms. The way she tra­verses Tum­blr, In­sta­gram – post­ing fan art­works – and shar­ing in­sights into her writ­ing process on Twit­ter is im­me­di­ate and en­gaged. Born in a post-in­ter­net age of in­ter­sec­tional fem­i­nism, she’s nim­ble and ra­zor sharp. When the me­dia ques­tioned her de­ci­sion to let go of her orig­i­nal man­ager who dis­cov­ered her, she hit back, tweet­ing: “Hey, men, [sic] – do me and your­selves a favour and don’t un­der­es­ti­mate my skill.”

Re­cently, a Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky study re­viewed lyrics of the top songs from 1980-2007 and found in­creas­ing amounts of first-per­son sin­gu­lar pro­nouns (‘I’, ‘Me’) than first-per­son plu­ral pro­nouns (‘We’, ‘Us’). They drew a link to re­cent ev­i­dence of rises in lone­li­ness and psy­chopathol­ogy. When her hit song Roy­als was re­leased in 2013, Lorde was an out­sider band­ing to­gether with other out­siders. ‘My friends and I we’ve cracked the code/We count our dol­lars on the train to the party,’ she sang. ‘But ev­ery­body’s like Cristal, May­bach, di­a­monds on your time­piece.’ She would be at home in Auck­land raid­ing friend’s par­ents’ cup­boards for food lis­ten­ing to A$AP Rocky rap­ping about cou­ture. ‘ We don’t care,’ she re­proached. ‘ We aren’t caught up in your love af­fair.’ Those try­ing to match up with un­re­al­is­tic stan­dards, or feel­ing the dis­en­fran­chise­ment of be­ing young and de­pen­dent joined the Roy­als ‘we’. Her fans grew, em­brac­ing her in­ti­macy and gloss-free de­scrip­tions. ‘Now

“The hard thing was when peo­ple would ask me: ‘ Do you feel 16?’ and I’m like: ‘ I don’t know, I’ve never been 40’”

bring my boys in,’ she sings on Team. ‘Their skin in craters like the moon.’ This new al­bum has more ‘I’, she tells me, adding she felt like “a lit­tle as­tro­naut float­ing around”, but the close­ness is still there. “I think the key is to keep mak­ing re­ally per­sonal records. That’s kind of al­ways been my thing, to tell my spe­cific story, in all its awkwardness and weird­ness and great­ness.”

Melo­drama peaked at num­ber one in the Bill­board 200 – and the ARIA charts – after its June 2017 re­lease. It is be­ing talked about as a de­par­ture, the cur­sory check-off for a sec­ond al­bum in a crit­i­cal sense. In it she’s ex­plicit but never gra­tu­itous. She’s raw but not crude. If Pure Hero­ine was a teenage dream – lis­ten­ing to Bro­ken So­cial Scene records, the buzz in the sum­mer air be­fore a house party, watch­ing dawn break in sub­ur­ban streets – then Melo­drama is a lu­cid dream of be­ing young, party vices and all the in­el­e­gance that comes with it. Her lyrics this time around have dis­tance, but there’s a par­tic­i­pa­tory layer. It re­flects a gear change in her life.

“I ba­si­cally turned 19 and the world was like: ‘Al­right, we’re go­ing to toss ev­ery­thing up in the air and it’s all go­ing to come down in a re­ally crazy way.’ All of a sud­den I moved out of home, I went through a breakup,” she says of split­ting with her boyfriend of three years, photographer James Lowe. “It felt like every day and every night I was to­tally hav­ing my mind blown by all th­ese new things. I re­ally felt like a young adult for the first time, kind of so­cially … That pe­riod was so cre­ative I just was like: ‘Oh, my God.’ I just couldn’t write it all down fast enough. So that’s very much what the record cen­tered around.”

Sit­ting op­po­site now, Doc Martens shoes with socks scrunched up in­side on the floor next to her, in an over­sized burgundy Y/Projects sweater with rust-rib­bon wrist ties, she is del­i­cate but not diminu­tive. She smiles a lot of the time as she talks. She looks into the air when she’s think­ing and then di­rects her grey-blue eyes back when she de­liv­ers an an­swer. The room is dim and a can­dle or two flick­ers on her pale yet warm skin. With­out the darker make-up she used to favour when she was younger, she looks both youth­ful and older. She is sub­tly, and serenely, un­like other pop mu­si­cians.

For one, she writes her own mu­sic. Green Light, the tow­er­ing suc­cess of which is crest­ing when we meet, doesn’t fit pop pa­ram­e­ters. Max Martin, who has writ­ing cred­its with Tay­lor Swift, the Weeknd and Katy Perry, has called her work “in­cor­rect song­writ­ing”. The key change that comes in the first quar­ter of the song piv­ots un­ex­pect­edly. “It’s a su­per­com­pli­cated song. There are a lot of paths to it. It is strange. And ev­ery­one I played it to was su­per-jived by it at first, then a cou­ple of lis­tens in they were pumped.” Boil­ing into a house-piano riff that blazes away the fog, it has the shout-out-loud en­ergy of Robyn’s Danc­ing on my Own and the po­ten­tial to be the same kind of mod­ern hymn.

Lorde wrote it think­ing of a girl at a party, drink­ing to for­get a break-up, plead­ing to fling free the ties that bound one to an­other. The pivot isn’t un­like the blind­sid­ing of a bro­ken heart, the cat­a­lyst for her foray into more adult realms. She met new peo­ple, she had to ad­just ex­ist­ing friend­ships, she learnt to do things dif­fer­ently. “Green Light talks about that like all of a sud­den you’re at the same bar but you’re not with the same peo­ple,” she ex­plains.

But don’t call it a break-up al­bum: when she was writ­ing, thick drums and soar­ing melodies kept com­ing to her. “The whole time I was writ­ing it I was go­ing out a lot, I was par­ty­ing a lot, I was go­ing to a lot of shows,” she re­flects. “I wanted to just be danc­ing all the time. It was al­most like I just want to make the stuff that I want to dance to on Satur­day or what­ever, which was a su­per-new thing for me,” she says with a kind of cur­rent crack­ling in her voice. “I think as you do grow up, you go through a break-up and be like: ‘I just don’t want to think about it and I want to drink tequila and dance to Nelly Furtado.’”

The rest of the al­bum cen­tres on a party, less an ac­tual sit­u­a­tion than the party as mo­tif. It be­came a back­drop to the things she was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. “It’s such a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to be sin­gle and 20 and sud­denly every party means some­thing dif­fer­ent. It’s like a crazy game, like play­ing Risk; there’s so much to it and the moves peo­ple make, and the coded mes­sages that ev­ery­one leaves for each other. Fig­ur­ing all of that out was so in­ter­est­ing to me.” The other punch in Melo­drama is her droll­ness at the height­ened emo­tions and bac­cha­na­lian reck­less­ness that al­ready ap­pears ridicu­lous to her even as she does it. ‘I’d get your friend to drive but he can hardly see’ comes the sar­donic drawl on Home­made

Dy­na­mite. ‘We’ll end up painted on the road/red and chrome/all the bro­ken glass sparkling/I guess we’re par­ty­ing …’ The self-dep­re­ca­tion is a thread that makes Melo­drama both mea­sured and emo­tive. ‘Got to won­der why we bother,’ she asks on Sober II. ‘And the glam­our, and the trauma, and the fuck­ing melo­drama.’

Her col­lab­o­ra­tors recog­nise deft­ness with a life phase that is daily bread for mu­si­cians. “Ella is un­de­ni­ably bril­liant,” Grant Singer, di­rec­tor and cre­ator of Lorde’s videos for Green Light and Per­fect Places, writes over email. “She’s not only a ge­nius but she’s also un­be­liev­ably kind and thought­ful and sin­cere and po­etic. That’s a very rare com­bi­na­tion. I’m amazed by her tal­ent, but I’m not sur­prised by it.” When they first met over din­ner in New York, he “im­me­di­ately re­alised I was with some­one truly spe­cial and in­cred­i­ble and un­like any­one I had ever met”.

Ella Yelich-O’Con­nor grew up in Devon­port, New Zealand, a fin­ger of land jut­ting into Auck­land’s Shoal Bay. She was writ­ing songs at 13, and short fiction be­fore that. Her mother is a poet, her fa­ther is an en­gi­neer, and both en­cour­aged a love of read­ing and drama. Some of her favourite au­thors are Alice Munro, Kurt Von­negut, Ray­mond Carver and To­bias Wolff – all masters of the short story. She grew up lis­ten­ing to Neil Young and Fleet­wood Mac and Ra­dio­head. She ad­mired the lean­ness and the lyri­cism of bands like Ar­cade Fire and their abil­ity to nar­rate through song with su­perb word econ­omy, and the un­der­state­ment and so­cial re­al­ism of Carver.

She as­pires to write mu­sic that stands the test of time. “Some of my favourite records of all time – you think about Ru­mours by Fleet­wood Mac – and I think about how strong a record that is and how that doesn’t feel like some­thing some­one just thought: ‘Oh, well, we can just blast it out,’” she says, also by way of ex­pla­na­tion at the four-year gap be­tween al­bums, the be­gin­ning of which was a de­lib­er­ate cre­ative breather.

Jack Antonoff, who has worked with Tay­lor Swift and Sia, was a new link on the al­bum. They met at a Grimes con­cert and clicked. “I think I’ve never felt so close on a per­sonal level,” she says. “We would kind of write a song and then leave the stu­dio and go to his apart­ment and get the dog and, you know, walk the dog down by the wa­ter­front and talk about each other’s re­la­tion­ships.” Fa­mously friends, it was a con­nec­tion that was both a step out­side her realm in New Zealand and a line back to it. “Jack … he’s a freak and we were raised sim­i­larly,” she says as she laughs, ex­plain­ing their mums spend time to­gether. “Oh, they hang out all the time. They hang out prob­a­bly more than Jack and I. We’re like: ‘Okay, I guess this is just a thing that’s hap­pen­ing now.’”

“I think as you do grow up, you go through a break-up and be like: ‘ I just don’t want to think about it and I want to drink tequila and dance to Nelly Furtado’”

“No­body is im­mune to feel­ing so over­whelmed and so trau­ma­tised and so hurt. Ob­vi­ously, I’m very lucky, but a year like the year we’ve had shakes ev­ery­one”

Antonoff and Lorde would spend days and nights in the stu­dio, be­fore Lorde would head back to her ho­tel room. The process had its downs, and at one point Antonoff sent her home to New Zealand. There were pe­ri­ods of quiet re­flec­tion, in­ac­tiv­ity, coun­ter­ing the in­ten­sity of the stu­dio. “I was just walk­ing around the city like a ghost; ev­ery­one’s got their own life and their own place to be and I re­ally liked feel­ing in­con­spic­u­ous there,” she says. “I feel like the city kind of chooses when it’s go­ing to show it­self to you. For me it was when I started to fig­ure out the pub­lic trans­port sys­tem. I started tak­ing the sub­way and sud­denly the city had a face.”

Lorde has in com­mon with David Hock­ney, Phar­rell Wil­liams and Duke Elling­ton the per­cep­tual phe­nom­e­non of synaes­the­sia, where one sense leads to an­other cog­ni­tive path­way. It can take many forms, but Lorde sees colours and tex­tures when she hears sounds or says cer­tain words. Thus a song can be a colour. “I have that when I’m say­ing some­one’s name or or­der­ing at a restau­rant. That’s some­thing that’s in my life every day,” she ex­plains. “Mu­sic can put your brain in sort of the best pos­si­ble state for synaes­the­sia I think. Brain’s like: ‘Okay, here we go!’ It’s just a good medium for it to go psy­cho.”

Songs some­times come to­gether in pieces from notes she takes. “I’ll no­tice some­thing and write it down and I’m def­i­nitely do­ing that all the time,” jok­ing that her friends must find it an­noy­ing. “I do it con­stantly: my notes are just full of my ob­ser­va­tions.” When a com­mon thread emerges, she joins the dots. She’s done it for so long, she doesn’t let it get in the way of ex­pe­ri­ences. “Peo­ple close to me def­i­nitely re­alise me pulling my phone out and writ­ing down some­thing they’ve said … but I don’t try to chase the story too much,” she says. “I just sort of let it happen.”

Some­times this process ex­hausts her. “All the time. It can be so crazy,” she says. “I have just al­ways been the kind of per­son who … life just stops me in my tracks. I just find such glory in peo­ple and things that peo­ple do. When you are sort of moved by ev­ery­thing … I have to crys­tallise it.” Though the se­duc­tion of nights out is strong right now, she’s a self­pro­claimed in­tro­vert. “I’d much rather stay in for the most part, be­cause my ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing through the world is so in­tense,” she says em­phat­i­cally. “At the same time, I recharge very quickly. Give me an hour in my room and then I’m ready to go and party.”

Months later, Lorde per­forms an in­ti­mate gig on Cock­a­too Is­land in Syd­ney Har­bour, just weeks after Melo­drama comes out. In a se­quined Tem­per­ley jump­suit, she is en­er­getic and open on stage, a marked con­trast to the girl in black dresses, folded in­wards, who used to not ven­ture far from the mi­cro­phone. “Per­form­ing is kind of not my num­ber-one dis­ci­pline,” she tells me later over the phone. “It would make me crip­plingly ner­vous.” She per­forms the song Per­fect Places and at the cho­rus she melts back into a parox­ysm of dance be­fore creep­ing back up to the mi­cro­phone to de­liver an­other hit. “I have kind of ex­pe­ri­enced a re­ally amaz­ing, sort of rekin­dled pas­sion with per­form­ing and it’s such an amaz­ing feel­ing,” she says. “[It] has re­ally sur­prised me. I feel like I’m like: ‘Oh, I’m book­ing it across the stage’ or ‘Oh, now I’m in the crowd grab­bing things from peo­ple’ and I’m like: ‘How did I get here?’”

With a gru­elling tour sched­ule stretch­ing into 2018 – her Aus­tralian leg, in­clud­ing a con­cert on the Syd­ney Opera House fore­court, com­mences in Novem­ber – she is now fo­cused on de­tails to keep her feel­ing cre­ative at every per­for­mance. “I’ve got flow­ers and ar­ranged them in a lit­tle way be­fore I go on stage, or a few times I cov­ered my hands in glit­ter us­ing my hands like lit­tle en­ergy con­duc­tors. So I’ve been do­ing weird witchy things.” She thinks of it as trans­fer­ence of en­ergy from her to the crowd, know­ing it sounds kooky. “Ev­ery­one on my tour is like: ‘You’re a full-on witch, there’s no bones about it, that’s who you are now.’”

For fans it will be a re­minder she hasn’t changed, and that the fame fac­tor hasn’t al­tered her out­sider sta­tus as much as peo­ple feared. Li­a­bil­ity dealt with this in her per­sonal life, when she felt like peo­ple were ‘danc­ing in my storm’. “Even though now I can take my friends to a fancy restau­rant if I want to, I still want to do right by them,” she says. “I try to just re­late to them on the lev­els that I can. Be­cause, you know, I still feel so deeply hu­man and or­di­nary in a lot of ways.”

She can now ac­cess de­sign­ers like Valentino for the Met Gala or Dior on stage, but she re­minds me that “stuff you wear on a red car­pet, I don’t own that”. In her own life, she loves Mar­ques Almeida, Simone Rocha and Comme des Garçons. The new ques­tion that’s be­gun to fol­low her around: is she be­com­ing the same type in Roy­als that she poked fun at? “I think if I avoided every hall­mark of that song for­ever, it would kind of be be­side the point. Some of it is just a side ef­fect of what I do, but I’m still …” she trails off, be­fore be­gin­ning again pur­pose­fully. “I think if emo­tion­ally you’re in the right place, who cares what your hand­bag is?”

On the cold win­ter’s day of the Vogue shoot, Lorde is on the plat­form of a dis­used but well-kept train sta­tion in Syd­ney. The neo-Gothic arches of Mor­tu­ary Sta­tion rise be­hind her. In the late 19th to mid-20th cen­tury, twice-daily trains would carry some pas­sen­gers who would never re­turn: mourn­ers and their de­parted loved ones to be buried at Rook­wood Ceme­tery. A smoke ma­chine is mist­ing up from the tracks cre­at­ing an eerie back­drop to the wooden bench she’s shift­ing her weight on. Her hands are shak­ing with the ef­fort of hold­ing her­self off the seat in weighty bead-laden Gucci. Dead leaves scud by in a breeze that ruf­fles her hair. She could be one of Carver’s pro­tag­o­nists, Gucci gown aside, on her way some­where – leav­ing or re­turn­ing – in an un­spec­i­fied era.

Back in the ho­tel, she recog­nises her world is ex­pand­ing, her cir­cles grow­ing big­ger. She feels close­ness in her work and in her life is more cru­cial, given the state of af­fairs in the world right now. “A lot about mak­ing work is be­ing like: ‘I’m scared, are you scared?’, ‘I’m happy, are you feel­ing this too?’ And the fact we’re all feel­ing a lot of the same things, even with the year we’ve just had which has ob­vi­ously been so tur­bu­lent po­lit­i­cally and so­cially,” she says. “Ev­ery­one’s seen such dra­matic change. No­body is im­mune to feel­ing such com­plex feel­ings, feel­ing so over­whelmed and so trau­ma­tised and so hurt. Ob­vi­ously, I’m very priv­i­leged and lucky, but a year like the year we’ve had shakes ev­ery­one.”

As a song­writer she feels like she still has a lot to learn. “I keep say­ing I feel like a new­born baby … I feel like I can barely write a song. I’ve only been do­ing it for five years.” The al­bum con­tin­ues to rocket sky­wards and her tour is sell­ing out. “I just want to keep spin­ning away from the thing I last did. So I feel like I just ric­o­chet out­wards and make some­thing very dif­fer­ent but also with sim­i­lar bones to what I will al­ways make and I re­ally look for­ward to that part of it.” She hopes that in a cou­ple of years she will spin in an­other di­rec­tion.

With our time fin­ished, she picks up her shoes and, after giv­ing me a warm hug, walks to the lifts where a min­der joins us. The three of us get in be­fore she re­alises her mis­take – it is go­ing down to the lobby. The min­der shoots a look. I leave her there, nearly alone, shoe­less and make-up free. The oc­cu­pants of the bar on ground level aren’t quick enough to glance into the lift and catch sight of the bare­foot young su­per­star. Then just as sud­denly the doors slide closed and the lift glides to the floors above. Up and up.

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