With her unmistakeable alto and ability to command a stadium, the 21-year- old vocal powerhouse speaks about self- discovery and accepting being different.
The unstoppable force from New Zealand speaks about her j ourney of self- discovery
Ith as been four years since we bopped along to the anti-mainstream anthem’ Royals’ on the air waves, and Lord ea nd her voice were gifts we never knew we needed. Unapologetic and rebellious in a saccharine, carefully-packaged pop industry, Lorde won us , and t he world over, with her album ’ Pure Heroine’, before seemingly dropping off the face of the earth. Now, after secret ly reviewing onion rings via Ins tag ram( the account is now defunct ), Lord eh as come back to tug at our heartstrings with a second album, ’ Melodrama’ — and will be gracing Malaysian shores July t his year( make sure those calendars are marked !), as it was announced thats heist he headlining act for Good Vibes Festival 2018.
Departing from the minimalism of’ Pure Heroine’ and veering into a rich er sound built around piano instrumentation and maxim a list electronic beats ,’ Melodrama’ has an emotional and layered delivery, sounding like what you would feel if you had just woken up from a cryogenic sleep to explore the familiar, yet unfamiliar, world. The anti-royal of pop speaks here about her vocal range, how it was leaving her teen years, and feeling all the feels so intensely.
Four years ago you shot to fame and were called the‘ voice of a generation ’. What is the most urgent subject for young people now?
I think that young people are so politically and socially aware and just trying to be in conversation with each other about that stuff and trying to make sense of it. Because a lot of us are sort of newly aware of a lot of it. That sounds like ,‘ I only started reading newspapers a couple of years ago! ’ I read t he newspapers but a lot of people don’t. So, I think that right now there is just desire to make sense of everything going on in the world and trying to understand and listen and be in conversation with each other and find nice places to live in mentally and collectively, because it can be full-on being a young person now.
Let’ s talk about your singing and your voice. You’ re a natural alto right?
Yeah it’ s pretty low .[ Laughs]
It’ s quite unusual though to have a young woman in pop with a lower voice—why do you think that is? Are they not accepted by the industry?
I mean I think it’ s totally accepted. I think pop just love sand fetish is es youthful women and if their voices are girlish that helps the process. I’ ve always had a deep voice, I’ ve always sung alto in choir sand bass in quartet sand yeah, it’ s kind of just who I am. But I think I kind of like hearing lots of different voices on pop radio. I think it’ s a nice thing.
You do change your range often in the songs though. Do you do this instinctively or is it away of expressing different sides of yourself as a woman and your personality ?
I mean I wish it were that but I really just sing what I think is cool. I just write the parts and it’ s unfortunately a little more straightforward, although I’ m sure there is a subliminal element of that.
So you have a deep voice and you’re an old soul . Was the day you turned 20 a happy day that you weren’t a teenager anymore and people weren’t calling you a young girl anymore?
It was actually nice to turn 20. I wasn’t sure how it would feel but it was nice. I felt like it was time to leave being a teenager behind. I felt like good about moving on. But yeah, I’ m like 200. I’ m an old, old lady. [Laughs] People around me say ,‘ You’ re real old, like a witch .’ So it’ s very strange.
So you never cared much about typical teenage stuff ?
Oh no, I mean I definitely am just like a full young person and I want to go out drinking and sunbathe and lie around and do nothing. I sleep in like crazy and I watch so much Netflix , like I’ m definitely a teenager. I’ m also very old .[ Laughs]
You’ve called your album ‘ Melodrama’ — how melodramatic are you?
[Laughs] I don’t think I’ m that much of a drama ... But I do like feel everything like really intensely. So I think is an element of melodrama —these sort of vivid, exaggerated emotions which I do have. But I hope I’ m not too much of like a drama queen, I would hope [laughs ]. I think I’ m quite chilled. But I can see something out of t he
”[A]s I get older I realise that I am exactly who I am and that’s kind of awesome. I’m much more settled.”
window and be like ,‘ Ah that’ s so amazing’ and be like so moved by it, which is probably how melodrama manifests f or me.
Why did you decide to call the album ‘ Melodrama’?
So the album was called‘ Melodrama’ and it kind of speaks to a number of things. For one thing it’ s kind of ... It was almost funny tome, it felt like laughing at ourselves. When you’ re 19 everything feels like the biggest deal in the world and my emotions felt so singular like ,‘ No-one’ s ever been this sad before’ or ‘ No- one’s ever been t his happy ’.
And so there was sort of an element of me laughing at myself. There was also, you know, we just had the craziest year[ when it was released in 2017]. So politically turbulent and I think a lot of people looked really closely at themselves and at their lives. That backdrop and t hen my kind of personal life and all the ups and downs and all t he vivid colours of what was going on there, the culmination of those felt like, you know, a melodrama was like a Greek theatre, like really overexaggerated plot sand characters, and it really felt like we were living in a literal melodrama. So a bit of both. The songs are written with Jack Antonoff, who is 12 years older than you—were there ever moments where you couldn’t understand each other’ s ideas? I mean Jack is definitely young at heart and I’ m definitely an old lady at heart. So I think that maybe we meet in the middle somewhere. It’ s interesting because he would be writing about a deeply single person and having all t he experiences you have when you’re single and you go out at night , and he hasn’t been single in five years. So it was kind of like, ‘Right, OK I guess that’ s how it is now .’ So yeah, there were definitely funny moments like that. But no, for the most part we both just want to write music that speaks to what it means to be a human. So I think that 10 years or 12 years, in the scheme of things, that is not so crazy really. Yeah, I feel like we’ re the same age. I feel like he’s my brother. ‘Liability’ on the album seems to be a little bit about loneliness and trying to find a connectivity. Would you say young people feel more isolated these days? Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. I think everyone is probably having a different experience. Obviously, my situation and what I do f or a job is different to a lot of other young people and t hat song was quite specifically about what I do can affect the people around me. But it’ s also kind of about having to really like yourself. If everyone around you is eventually going to be ,‘ It’ s quite hard to be friends with you or be close to you’, you really need to be comfortable being your own friend and hang out with yourself[ Laughs ]. Sounds depressing but it’ s weird ly kind of not as well. Do you feel you have learn tove rt he last couple of years to love and accept yourself and how you are better? Yeah, I definitely think that was one of the things that I got more in touch within the last couple of years. You know, I think when you’ re 17 there’ s an element of self-deprecation or being like ,‘ I suck’ or‘ I’ m not that cool’ or whatever. And I think as I get older I realise that I am exactly who I am and that’ s kind of awesome. I feel like I’ m much more settled in knowing that I am quite singular and that’ s OK. It always gets a bit deep with this music. I find myself talking about my mental state and it’ s full-on.
You were i n Brooklyn while you wrote the songs for ‘ Melodrama’ — how was that and being away f r om New Zealand?
Yeah, I mean I would kind of go back ever y month or like two months for a week or a couple of weeks at a time and sort of stock upon, you know, see as many people as possible and go out and kind of see everyone and then go back over there. Yeah, I definitely miss everyone when I’ m away. Even right now I ’m counting down until I can get back t here because I love it so much. But at the same time it’ s quite nice to goto somewhere like New York and have some distance from all the stuff that I was experiencing and be able to write about it in more of a neutral setting. I’ m from such a small city and often I would feel when I was working on music, the second time around in Auckland, that the faces of everyone that I know and everyone that I was writing about were like five minutes down the road whereas in New York, I really felt free to kind of be quite confessional in away that maybe would have been a bit more inhibited back home.
You also worked as a producer for ’ Melodrama’. Has it changed your feeling about the album compared to ‘ Pure Heroine’?
That ’ s a good question. I mean I ’ ve always , even f rom the very first stuff that we made, had such a strong opinion about all things production and it would always kind of have kind of general ways in which I would push as on gina particular sonic direction. As I’ ve gotten older, I’ ve felt more confident asserting myself in that way in a room. It’ s much harder than songwriting I’ ve found to be like ,‘ Actually no, I don’t like that attack of that kick drum, I want it smoother .’ And people kind of look at you like ,‘ What are you talking about ?’.
For me, t here’s no way we would have made a record that sounded the way I wanted it to sound if I hadn’t produced it. The music is the inside of my brain, I’ m just trying to show people the inside of my brain. And if I just stopped at the writing it wouldn’t sound like my brain. So, it’ s stepping up and becoming a producer that I found super liberating. I love doing it and in the next couple of years as I’ m on tour, I want to get better and I’ ve got a bit of a goal for myself. I don’t know if it will be the next record or the one after, but I eventually want to produce an entire record myself.
And write i t ?
Oh yeah, and write it. Yeah, yeah .[ Laughs] Because I already write everything, production will be super sick to be like ,‘ Yeah I made this awesome thing .’
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