The Beatles famously sang, "Well she was just 17, you know what I mean, and the way she looked was way beyond compare."
Lorde is only 16, but she's giving this famous lyric a run for its money. Looking like she jumped off the screen of Disney's "Brave" with her massively long, curly mane, wide-set eyes and pouty lips, the New Zealand crooner (her real name is Ella Yelich-O'Connor) is turning heads across the globe. Her infectious hits "The Love Club" and "Royals" have sparked an underground following that translated into her first-ever shows in New York City and Los Angeles this week. And both were completely sold out.
Crowds lined up Thursday outside the Echoplex in LA's hipster-heavy Echo Park neighborhood two-and-a-half hours before the show. Ticket prices for the small, standing-room only experience jumped to upwards of $120 each. All of this for a teen?
During the 45-minute show (she only has a handful of songs, after all), Lorde mesmerized the audience with songs from her soon-to-be released first album (she put out a 5-song EP in New Zealand in November) and took command of the stage like someone double her age.
The Huffington Post met the artist during sound checks at the Echoplex a few hours before she went on stage. As the daughter of a poet, it's no surprise that Lorde puts immense pressure on her own writing -- but for anyone watching her performance on Thursday night, you would never know she had even a drop of insecurity in her bones.
HuffPost: You just played your first U.S. show ever and visited New York City for the first time. What was that like?
Lorde: New York is crazy. It's pretty overwhelming and it's so busy. But everything fits there. You go down some random street and you meet this dude who has owned a deli for 20 years and he fits into the city.
What does Los Angeles feel like to you?
LA is very different. I'm still adjusting. LA has these weird vacant lots and, like, smashed down shops that feel like they could have existed like 50 years ago.
I saw your post on Instagram of a photo of giant breasts above your bed in your hotel room. Typical LA.
Nuts! I got there and was like, "Man, I have definitely arrived in LA." In the lobby there's this picture of a dude's back and a woman's claws down his back. I'm thinking, "What hotel am I in? Who booked this!"
It's not summer in New Zealand right now. Are you home schooled or do you go to regular school?
I go to regular school.
Well not at the moment. I just take time off and make up the work.
Who travels with you when you're on the road?
My big sister travels with me and my mom will sometimes come in too.
Has performing come naturally to you?
I get terrified before going on stage. Like disgustingly sick.
Are you already feeling that way right now?
Not yet, but soon. We just bought a bit of new gear, which means that I'm way less nervous. We all wear ear monitors, so I can't hear anything that happens out here, I just hear the music in my ear. Usually you turn up to a venue and there's a guy who controls what you can hear in your ears, which is a huge gamble because you don’t know what he will do. We played this shitty farm festival in Australia and I told the guy what I wanted and he said yeah and I got on stage and basically had ten percent of what I needed. I was looking at him like what? And he didn’t know how to fix it. Ah! Hillbilly!
People have talked a lot about the meaning behind the songs "Royals" and "The Love Club." Is there a story behind writing "Bravado?" The song starts off with you saying, "All my life, I've been fighting a war..."
Yes. I am quite reserved in general and I'm not a very confident person. But I knew I was about to be entering an industry where you have to be. And so it was kind of my personal pep talk. Like kind of coming to a point where I could put on confidence. There's a Kanye West song where he says, "I found bravery in my bravado." It's kind of like that.
You've said you listen to a lot of hip hop. Have you heard the new Drake song "Hold On, We're Going Home?"
I haven’t heard it yet! I'm so excited! I'm a big, big, big fan of Drake. I've been snapping up everything Drake's releasing. I think he's so smart. He exists in this perfect place between hip hop and this totally gooey, sentimental Marvin Gaye style. I think he's awesome.
Who would you cast by your side in your dream hip hop video?
I don’t know who's a good dancer! It would need to be someone with really good hand gestures.
HuffPost has already called you "the next queen of pop." Do you feel comfortable in this role?
No pressure [laughs]! I mean it's rad. I never really thought of myself as pop music until I put it out. I didn’t think it would be music that's played on the radio.
Do you feel a lot of pressure or is it all fun for you?
I love it. I'm having so much fun. I put pressure on myself when I'm writing. Like, "You can do better than this!"
Do you think you're more critical of yourself during the writing process or when you're performing on stage?
Probably writing. Performing is much more -- it's just conveying it on a different level and I think it’s a little more open to interpretation. With writing, I'm harder on myself.
You were very selective over what images you had of yourself on the internet at first. But now you have 32,000 followers on Instagram. How has this transition been for you?
I've been on Instagram since I put my EP out. But it's a weird struggle between wanting that cleanliness of not putting a million pictures out there, but then also wanting to connect with people.
Celebrities are in two camps: they don’t have social media and someone else runs their Twitter (which I always find really weird, and I think these days it's really important that you are making that connection ) or they're like -- I love Nicki Minaj –-but she posts like 20 photos in one night. Like it's mental. That’s too much. I don’t know. I'm still pretty selective on Instagram.
There's definitely a balance. You don't need to go over the top and post nude photos of yourself on Instagram. Please do not post nude photos of yourself on Instagram.
No nudes? I can just take them on my phone and then oops! The photos will leak. Or I could do a classy nude like Scarlett Johansson [laughs].
You've been thrust into the spotlight quickly and at a pretty young age -- people might soon forget that you're only 16. Do you still feel like a typical teenager?
Pretty much everything about me is like a normal teenager. But I got "papped" today for the first time!
I was at Swinger's and I was standing outside.
Love Swinger's. What did you eat?
I had the breakfast burrito with like guacamole and salsa. But yeah aside from that, I guess it's little things like having to get on a plane for work and taking six people with you. That's not typical, it's nuts. But I just muck around like any other teenager.
You just announced that your new album will come out at the end of September. Will it have all new songs?
It's got "Royals" and "Tennis Court" and then eight new songs. I started writing as soon as I put out the EP. So I've been writing for about six months.
Do you lock yourself in a room to write or do you go about your day like normal and write things down as they come to you? You mom is a poet, right?
When we are in the studio it's like the whole day. And it's definitely a strange thing to do -- to decide, "Today I'm going to be creative!"
I think it's good to book like a week in a studio and even if you're completely uninspired, you have to just muck around. You have to write and eventually you'll get something. The best advice my mom gave me is if you sit there waiting for something to hit you, you're going to be waiting your whole life. You have to put the work in and it will come.
Check out photos and music videos from the teen sensation below: