Lorde covers RS: ‘I’m not completely impervious to insult, I’m a human being’

lorde cover

Lorde covers the new issue of Rolling Stone. I think this is her first cover, so it’s somewhat overdue considering she’s been big news in the music industry for a year. We like Lorde around these parts (even though we’re accused of not liking her, for some reason), but while I think she’s a breath of fresh air, she does have a sort of pretentious-teenager-vibe. Like, she READS. Which is excellent, and good for her. But are we really giving pats on the head to 17-year-olds because they picked up a book? Anyway, some highlights from the RS cover story:

Christmas gifts: She frets over what to buy as a Christmas gift for her manager. She’s torn between a hand-shaped brass bowl and a “minimalist globe table lamp,” so she texts photos of both to Taylor Swift to get her opinion. “Taylor’s super-good at this stuff,” the “Team” singer explains to Rolling Stone. “She’s decorated her own houses for ages.”

Lorde & Swifty became tight after Swifty sent her flowers: “I was floored,” Lorde says. The gesture was especially surprising since it came after she had insulted the “Red” singer. “Taylor Swift is so flawless and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls.” Swift wasn’t aware of the diss at the time, but she took it in stride when she found out. “She was like, ‘It’s fine. If all you’ve done is call someone perfect, it’s not that bad,’” Lorde recalls.

Lorde thinks Swifty is one of the “real teenage voices”: “There are very few of us. There’s Tavi [Gevinson] and the Rookie [Mag] group, King Krule, and, to an extent, Jake Bugg. The other teenagers sing other people’s songs, which is fine, but it’s not an authentic teenage experience.”

Criticizing Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It”: “People around me, who I’m really close to, were like, ‘Do you have to express your opinions all the time?’ I knew I was right.”

Social media trolling of Lorde’s boyfriend, James Lowe: Intellectually, she says, she knows that the commenters are usually “the type of people who use the word ‘f—-t as an insult.” But that doesn’t mean she’s immune to their vitriol. “[I'm] not completely impervious to insult,” she says. “I’m a human being.”

She loves Drake: “I think what’s so cool about an artist like Drake is it’s rare for people to get to that level and still write about their day-to-day and how that makes them feel. There’s something very unflinching about that, but also just so, so interesting.”

Reacting to criticism: “I get paralyzingly nervous a lot of times, so I tried bravado. The way I dress and carry myself, a lot of people find it strange or intimidating. I think my whole career can be boiled down to the one word I always say in meetings: strength.”

On what she’s learned about the record biz: “I’ve learned how to interact with people in order to get what I want, but also…you can’t just crush someone’s vision, you have to make compromises. That wasn’t something I was familiar with until quite recently. I was so kind of fixated on exactly what I wanted to do, but now I’m quite good at taking other peoples’ opinions on board. But that being said, I’ve totally learned in this process that 99 percent of the time your gut is right, and you know what’s right for you. I know exactly what’s right for my career and for my art, and sometimes, even if the whole room is saying, “Don’t do that, don’t do that,” you know that doing that is going to be good for you, in the long run. So, yeah, I guess it’s a balance between listening to what other people say and not listening.”

On five authors who inspire her: “Raymond Carver is definitely one. I have this thing with, like, words being in that perfect order, and you know exactly how they’re trying to make you feel. And the order of the words…just, like, slapping you in the heart: “Oh my gosh, I totally get it.” And I am really into how words sound out loud, so I was always the kid who would, like, read the page of the book to herself in her room over and over and over. And Raymond Carver is great for that. Tobias Wolff is an author who is really good for that as well. I’ve only read one collection from Claire Vaye Watkins, but it’s one of the best collections of short fictions I’ve ever read. Sylvia Plath, I would say, as well. I don’t read a ton of poetry, but hers is so good that you kind of can’t not, I think. And then probably number five would be Kurt Vonnegut, I reckon. He’s brilliant. I guess I like writers who have the kind of humor that I have, which is a sort of cynical, sardonic… black humor. He’s just the don.”

[From Us Weekly, Rolling Stone]

She also says some good stuff about young people getting into the music industry, how it’s not at scary as they think it’s going to be, but you have to know your own mind and you have to be committed to songwriting and staying with your vision. I can totally see how teenage girls would be really into the message Lorde is delivering, moreso than Taylor Swift. I’m not setting up a competition between them, actually. I’m just saying that if I was 15 years old, I’d be buying what Lorde is selling more than what Swifty is selling.



Photos courtesy of Rolling Stone.

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66 Responses to “Lorde covers RS: ‘I’m not completely impervious to insult, I’m a human being’”

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  1. bettyrose says:

    I love her look and I say that so rarely these days that I’m willing to overlook a lot with this girl. Thanks for bringing back moody but brainy adolescence girl!

    • TheOriginalKitten says:


      On another note, classy move for Swift to send flowers.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Agree. Also, despite my posts today, I am not a Taylor Swift fangirl/stan. Lastly, wouldn’t it be cool if teenagers (and adults) would recognize that no one is all one thing? Lorde isn’t all brainy, moody, songwriter girl and Taylor isn’t all sparkles, boy-crazy, immature girl. We are all, I’d like to think, a grand and great mix of all kinds of things. Maybe, these two girls get that and it’s why they can be friends and appreciate each other, differences and all.

      • Lucy says:

        Exactly! Music and style aside, I never really thought of Lorde as a “moody, brainy, goth, better-than-everyone-else” girl, and to be honest, I don’t think she thinks of herself that way, either. She has likes, dislikes, passions, and insecurities, just like every other girl her age. The difference is that she’s in the spotlight and happens to be quite outspoken about all that . And of course, the media loves taking advantage of it to make her look and sound like an insulting little witch who wants to take all the poor pop princesses down.

      • cs says:

        I thought that was classy of Taylor too.. I don’t believe it was mentioned in this article that she sent flowers to congratulate her on Royals reaching #1 on the charts.
        I’m a grown woman that happily admits to being a fan of Taylor’s after listening to her full discography. Wish she was around when I was a teen and early 20′s. I can totally see why she sells 5+ million albums, each album. But I can appreciate their difference in style and lyrics. Lorde is correct, you tell the difference between a teen and a young adult singing other people’s (adult) songs.
        Destiny Child’s recorded Bills Bills Bills as teens about how they don’t need a man to pay their bills, they can pay their own bills. Well, as a teenager I can firmly state my parents paid my bills bills bills (clothing, school books, etc.)
        I did like the song tho.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I know some think she is pretentious, but I REALLY hate the idea that if someone expresses an interest in learning or aspiring to be intelligent or simply being a fan of books, that they are shaded for that. There seems to be a trend in pop culture recently where people are proud to be ignorant, they wear it like a badge of honor. I find it refreshing that a young female is doing the opposite.

      Lorde liking books doesn’t mean that she is insulting people who don’t like to read books. Reading well regarded books doesn’t mean she is pretentious, it means that she is trying to fill her brain with something of quality.

  2. BendyWindy says:

    I’ll be glad when her backlash starts. I really don’t like her.

  3. Janet says:

    Great interview. She has her head screwed on better than I did at 15. I like her ans Swift both for different reasons. She represents a serious side and Swift a light hearted will always be young feeling. They are both great in their own right.

  4. Patricia says:

    I don’t know, I am starting to find her very annoying. It is probably just that she’s 17. If you give any 17 year old a platform and tell them how amaaaazing they are they will probably say annoying things. But yeah, I thinking I’m over her already.

  5. bluesmurfette says:

    So this girl is 17 in Courtney Stodden years, right?

  6. Kali says:

    Argh, I feel slightly protective of her, mostly because she reminds me of me at 17 (without the talent, obviously). But yeah, quite often 16-21 yr olds can often be a write off due to insufferable earnestness. I just can’t help but wonder if the fact that she was basically signed at 13 had something to do with it?

  7. Nerd Alert says:

    1. I would love to see her in a non-harsh lipstick shade. Just to know what her face is really like.

    2. We have the same taste in authors? Except Sylvia Plath. In my writing courses I always thought of her as “the first emo kid.” Like, she was talented but bleak. Anyway, Kurt Vonnegut is amazing. So are Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff.

    3. I love her music. When I say that people go, “you must love Lana Del Rey then!” NO NO NO NO. STOP that comparison post haste.

    4. Why is commenting closed on the baby bieb post? I wanted to make a joke about Little Za and personal pizzas.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      Oh, and…
      5. My mom got me a subscription to RS and I used to love it, but Lorde is one of the few relevant acts they’ve putting on the cover. It’s a bi-weekly and every other cover is Bob Dylan/Paul McCartney/Beatles/various dead people. I’m definitely not renewing because I’m sick of looking at Bob Dylan and some headline about how he’s the most genius genius to ever genius at anything, ever.

  8. Aurie says:

    If she’s not impervious to insult then why does she constantly feel the need to insult various people. Wasn’t she the one who claimed some guy was a creep with no evidence? (It might have been someone else who said that, but I think it was Lourde).

    And sorry but most fifteen year olds don’t buy Lorde’s message…her song Royals was only popular because non-rich people could be “Omg look we’re so much better than rich people, haha”

    The rich are not automatically righteous and the poor are not automatically virtuous.

  9. Tiffany :) says:

    How great is it that RS has a fully clothed young female pop star on their cover who isn’t being sexualized? Yay!!!

  10. CaribbeanLaura says:

    I don’t know about Lorde. She just seems so….smuggy. Maybe it because when I was 17 I was a complete spaz and nowhere near this self assured? I dunno I like that song she did, but she seems like she’s trying so hard to be…I dunno. I think that Taylor swift is a very shrewd businesswoman to align herself with Lorde tho. It’ll definitely get her points with “the cool kids”

    • Erinn says:

      I think that may be my issue with her as well. She’s SO confident which is great. But thinking back to my 17 year old self? I was a wreck. I’m sure I was smug about the odd thing, but mostly I was kind of shy. I can’t relate to it.

    • whateveryouwantittobe says:

      After all that she’s achieved as a 17 year old I honestly think she’s allowed to be a little bit smug, how could you not be? She’s in a whirlwind of Grammy nominations, chart conquering, rolling stone cover, critical acclaim and international fame, and she’s a 17 year old from New Zealand. Those are pretty good reasons to hold your head up high.

  11. jess says:

    I hate her and her music. I only started hearing about her when she started insulting other singers. I cant believe she is 17, she looks much older.

  12. Lila says:

    Damn she’s 17. I normally shade her but I’ve never read this much of an interview with her. I can’t shade her here. This interview is just so reminiscent of my teen years. She’s all smug and pretentious because she knows she’s right, no matter how many adults tell her otherwise. And she’s gushy because the popular girl decided she wanted to be her friend. In ten years she’ll look back and see the over-compensation. God knows I can looking back. This interview just reminded me to be extra grateful no one recorded the crap I spouted at 17 for posterity.

    • GreenTurtle says:

      So true. There’s some great Oscar Wilde quote about how he doesn’t know everything, because he’s not 17 anymore. I was the same way that you described yourself. Everything is very intense and dramatic and serious when you’re that age and you think you know eeeeverything- lol. It’s part of growing up.

  13. Melina says:

    I love her. She’s so well-spoken and even though she’s becoming a bit over-exposed, her music stands for itself. It’s ridiculous that her criticisms of a super-flawed music industry have been turned into a media fuss about her “dissing” other singers– come on, in what world do Selena Gomez’s marshmallow crap and Katy Perry’s faux-minism NOT deserve valid criticism? Lorde is super talented, good at what she does, and she’s a breath of fresh air. It’s too bad that media attention has negatively played up some of what she’s said but I will always defend this girl. She’s got her head screwed on straight.

  14. frankly says:

    I’m just happy to see that my hair is hip again. It is large and in charge.

  15. Hannah says:

    So a month a go Taylor Swift wasn’t “breeding anything good in young girls” but now she’s the bee’s knees from the sound of it. Because she has decorated her own houseS(!) for years *eyeroll*

    • Latisse says:

      Agree! Also Taylor Swift is a horrible, horrible, horrible role model for young girls. That song she did supposedly about Camilla Belle, Better Than Revenge, was disgusting. It is basically her calling Camilla Belle a slut: “She’s an actress, whoa. She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress, whoa.” I mean talk about vindictive.

      Lorde thinking TSwift is a viable role model while bashing Selena is ridiculous. In my opinion that song was way worse for young girls that Selena Gomez’s Come and Get It.

  16. InvaderTak says:

    Take off The Cramps shirt!! For f*+%? Sake! does she even know who they are?? Thanks rolling stone for cheapening classic bands into a fashion statement.

    And can we discuss how she mispronounced mabach? it ends with Bach like the composer not back.

  17. ray says:

    Lorde is the kind of artist I would like my little sister grow up listening to.

  18. Lucy says:

    AAAH, the fresh breath of air I needed after The Bieber Hurricane of Doom!!! Love the cover, love the interview, don’t mind the slight smugness. Just let the girl love herself a bit!!! She earned it and knows what she’s doing.

  19. J.Lee says:

    Lorde is extremely talented. I can listen to Pure Heroine in its entirety which is more than I can say for most of her contemporaries. I like her & she was right to call out Selena. Her music is over produced and not authentic. The truth hurts

  20. Jayna says:

    An article with a teenage singer and she talks about books, words, authors, and then we have Miley, older, talking about twerking, her tongue, and Molly. (Sigh)

  21. Nene says:

    She is a breathe of fresh air from all the rather ‘toxic’ pop stars.
    And boy, I’ve got hair envy. Lorde has one of the best hair on any celeb around – same with Penelope Cruz, Kelly Osbourne’s ex,Vanessa Hudgsen(sp?) and Selena Gomez and Demi Moore.

  22. sorrynotsorry says:

    i like her look, but that’s it. not impressed with her voice at all, it’s not that great.