Lorde: ‘It’s a fine line between being a role model and preaching to people’


Lorde has a feature in the March issue of Vogue (the one with Rihanna on the cover). Lorde has officially arrived! Well, she’s “arrived” more than Kim Kardashian in any case. I really like this Tom Munro photo, but I do feel like they Photoshopped her body. Lorde is a tall, slender girl but they made her look like a size-zero model here and I’m not sure that’s how she really looks. Maybe it’s just that she’s standing up straight and usually she’s got a slumpy posture? As for the interview… it’s pretty good. You can read the piece here. Lorde manages to not disrespect any other artist by name, which shows growth. Some highlights:

Being a pop star is still work: “It’s nice to be using lots of my brain all the time. I feel like I’m not yet sitting comfortably in what I’m doing, and I definitely feel a hunger for branching out.”

Doing shows and appearance in NYC: “It feels like coming home, in a sense, because every film is set here, and every TV show,” she says of New York. “But also like another planet.”

Her style icons: “People like Grace Jones and David Bowie, who have such a sense of themselves… The kind of clothes that I’ve found I like to wear over the past year and six months have all been things that make me feel powerful and strong. I wear a lot of pants. I wear a lot of long, structured dresses.”

Knowing that her young fans look up to her: “It’s a fine line between being a role model and preaching to people. I never want to tell anyone how they should be, especially not someone my age. But, that being said, I’m conscious of the fact that people my age are reading what I say and listening to what I say, and that’s cool—particularly for the girls who are into what I do.”

She’s not a poet: “I’ve never written poetry, but I’ve written short fiction for a long time, and that’s the thing that I read, pretty much exclusively,” she says. “It’s much more similar to songwriting for me—having to make something big and get it into a small space.” She’s been a close reader of newer American writers (such as Wells Tower and Claire Vaye Watkins) as well as the old masters (Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Kurt Vonnegut, Tobias Wolff). These days, her composition takes another approach: “Now when I have an idea and I write it, it comes out in the form of a song.”

But she’s a blogger & tweeter: She still writes prolifically and elegantly on her blog (“last night, i played to a room of people whose names i worship, breathe like fine gold smoke, reverent,” she mused after a recent performance) and has an active Twitter presence. “A lot of the writers that I like aren’t really about narrative; they’re just about perfectly formed sentences. That’s always been something I’ve been drawn to—one word or five words that sit perfectly.”

Teenage angst: “I had a strange kind of tussle writing the record, in that I had been in this place my whole life that I had ached to get out of,” she explains. “I had wanted to live in a city. And then I had this experience of traveling and being in the biggest cities in the world. Coming back home, I realized that (a) where I live is beautiful and (b) did I want to grow up? Did I want to leave the suburbs? It was sort of a weird coming-of-age thing or something.”

Her “voice” as a pop star: “Obviously, if I were to come out with a record about living in my town and doing the things that we always did, that wouldn’t be accurate. I’ve always wanted someone in my position to write about what it’s like to be in my position”—but how to do it without becoming tiresome? Songs like “Royals” lampoon the bling culture of rock and hip-hop from the point of view of an outsider, an approach that provoked its own controversy. (Some thought it was caricaturing African-American rap culture.) If Lorde, now very much inside, tries to report from fame’s front lines, she’ll have to do it with finesse. “Hopefully I don’t write the record which is like, ‘I’m sitting in my spa, and I’m very sad,’ ” she jokes.

[From Vogue]

That’s nice that she’s a reader and she’s going through a short story/essay phase. I get the feeling that she does think a lot about writing and how her songwriting voice is developing. I think this is wise beyond her years: “It’s a fine line between being a role model and preaching to people.” Exactly. And Lorde plays around on that line a lot, and it’s interesting to see her grow and learn more about that line. As for the stuff about style… well, I probably would have said something similar when I was 17. So I tend to think that even though she’s a major pop star now, Lorde still has a healthy dose of normal teenage BS.


Photos courtesy of WENN, VOGUE/Tom Munro.

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22 Responses to “Lorde: ‘It’s a fine line between being a role model and preaching to people’”

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  1. QQ says:

    Love Her ! I really do, Hopefully she can keep herself amidst all this fame and doesn’t turn into Bieber… Gawd! I hope they dont surround her with sycophants

    • Liv says:

      I don’t get this girl. She has one hit (or is there more?) and thinks she can lecture everyone else….please. Shut up and try to make music for the next few years, then you can say one or two things about other artists.

      • Jay says:

        She’s had a couple hits in the US so far, and she won a Grammy. Extremely impressive for a girl her age.
        Also, she isn’t lecturing anyone. She’s eloquent and intelligent and answering questions she’s asked.
        But continue to hate, I guess…

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I like the way she expresses herself. She seems intellectually curious, yet at the same time she knows there is a lot of learning and growing ahead of her. I don’t think she comes across as condescending at all.

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I have found her slightly irritating in the past, but I was moved by her thoughts on home and growing up. I remember being her age and knowing that everything was about to change forever and being excited and scared at the same time. I like that she is able to admit that.

  3. agentscully says:

    She kinda reminds me of a 2010′s version of Fiona Apple.

  4. Erinn says:

    I try to like her, but I just can’t muster it.

    What happened to the whole “Oh, Lorde’s so mature and smart” thing? Because reading that, I just hear a teenage girl who happens to know a few more words than some other teen aged girls.

    Even her ‘elegant’ blog post “last night, i played to a room of people whose names i worship, breathe like fine gold smoke, reverent” Should that not be ‘revere’ instead of reverent?

    I don’t know. I’ll keep reading her interviews, and try to find something about this girl that seems extra special or extra mature, but until then I just see a reasonably talented kid who is a bit of a try-hard when it comes to being different.

  5. the other Kate says:

    I can’t believe she’s only 17. Really, she looks much older.

  6. crab says:

    I like her but I wish she would lose the dark lipstick! She looks so beautiful in the light colored lipstick in the first picture and her hair is absolutely gorgeous!!

    • AG-UK says:

      exactly that dark lipstick doesn’t do her any favours but maybe in a year she will be over it and try something else. Her hair is great though. I wish mine would get that long.

  7. Lark says:

    I like Lorde. She comes across as a talented, thoughtful girl in my opinion. Also, she may be pretentious but she’s 17….people need to cut her a break and remember what they were like in their late teens/early 20s. I don’t really understand the hate she generates….I decided to take a permanent break from ONTD because I was really disturbed by how vicious they were to this kid (they are vicious to everyone, but she’s a kid).

  8. Shay15 says:

    Change the lipstick color, Lorde! It makes you look years older than you really are…

  9. We Are All Made of Stars says:

    I want a daisy crown and pouffy hair! And what’s so wrong about her calling out other people by name? I like it when she has the temerity to smacktalk all the fakies. It’s so refreshing compared to the usual “Oh darling, you are bah-rilliant!” nonsense that usually goes around Hollywood. Some of this post is very patronizing.

    • Erinn says:

      Except, she disses TSwift, and then goes and hangs out with her and talks about a collaboration. I think she’s just as fake as the rest of them, just packaged differently.

      • We Are All Made of Stars says:

        Anyone who disses the Swizzle is a friend in my boook. If you read what she said, it was along the lines of “She’s so perfect and unattainable, girls look up to her and nothing good can come of that.” It wasn’t an outright dis, more a truthful observation of what idolizing unobtainable airbrushed perfection does to young kids. And she’s right, you know.

  10. Lucy says:

    Well, she sure is one of my role models now!!!

  11. Jane says:

    She´s awesome, I want to be her when I grow up.

  12. Lipsy says:

    On a random note, I’m reading Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places right now and Lorde is who I picture young Diondra looking like… I haven’t finished reading yet though.

  13. Leila in wunderland says:

    She’s really pretty here.
    In general, I think it’s a bad and unhealthy idea to hold celebrities up as role models for kids- especially young celebrities. These people need to be free to live their lives, express themselves, and figure out what they want. But so far, she’s a good example if we’re going to do that. I say this because I like her progressive values.

  14. Lou says:

    If Merida from Brave had black hair, that’s Lorde. :)