Does anybody else remember the first time they heard Lorde back in 2013? I do. It almost seemed like she just appeared overnight with this sound more raw and real than anything else I was hearing on the radio at the time. Seriously, she caught fire. Everyone knew her name and her music was everywhere, especially her hit single from the Pure Heroine album, “Royals.” I didn’t think about it back then, but that whirlwind type of fame must have been crazy for a 16-year-old. I mean really, knocking out a best-selling album, winning big at the 2014 Grammys and collaborating on the soundtrack to the Hunger Games were only a few of her early accomplishments.
It’s no wonder she felt the need to take a break from the spotlight for a little bit. (Can two years be classified as a little bit though? Eh, we’ll roll with it.) Following the release of Pure Heroine in September of 2013, it seemed like everyone was vying to be just like the teenage star, trying in vein to replicate her undeniable realness and general disregard for the status quo.
“Everyone’s so crazy when they’re 16,” Lorde said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I think if you tell a 16-year-old that they’re going to Mars—’We’re gonna get on a rocket and go, and that’s going to be your life’—they’d be like, ‘OK, like, that’s all well and good, but I’m doing this thing by myself right now, and that’s what’s important.’ Everything kind of normalized week to week.”
She was was 100% content doing her own thing in the spotlight, but when “your thing” becomes a goal for others, what does it do to your feeling of authenticity? Facing this dilemma, it makes sense that Lorde decided to return home for two years in order to reconnect with her sound and herself. Being expected to release an equally (if not more) mind-blowing followup album after such a hit must be nerve wracking, and no easy feat. Again, a hiatus in the face of such a challenge only makes sense.
Now she’s 20, and she’s back with her new album Melodrama dropping June 16 of this year.
“Her first album was all about being this kid,” says Jack Antonoff of the bands Fun. and Bleachers, (he produced Melodrama.) “When your entire life changes, and you’ve built your career on being honest with your perspective, how do you continue to [find ways to relate]? It’s near impossible.”