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.
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.