16-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, is the latest chart-topping pop sensation. In a time when other pop singers are posting multiple selfies on social media, and going farther and farther with oversexualized music videos, this teen shows very little skin and there are barely any photos out there of her at all. The ones that are out there are very specially chosen. This girl is flipping the script on the assumed guidebook of modern pop stardom. And it’s working.
The reason it does is because she has a very specific vision and is a master wordsmith. She writes her own lyrics, and carefully controls everything about her career. How does this even happen for someone who’s only 16?
Ella (who’s from New Zealand) was discovered by Universal when she was only 12. Somehow a tape of her singing Duffy’s “Warwick Avenue” at talent show got into the company’s hands, and they were so impressed they offered her a deal. Since then she’s been working with the label to carefully craft her songs and her image. She wanted to give a taste of what it’s like for real, not-rich teen. She saw a disconnect between what she and her friends were listening too, rap that constantly flaunted excess and wealth, and the not-so-glamourous lives they were living. “I’ve always listened to a lot of rap. It’s all, look at this car that cost me so much money, look at this Champagne,” she told NY Mag. “It’s super fun. It’s also some bullsh!t. When I was going out with my friends, we would raid someone’s freezer at her parents’ house because we didn’t have enough money to get dinner. So it seems really strange that we’re playing A$AP Rocky. I experienced this disconnect. Everyone knows it’s B.S., but someone has to write about it.”
As for her lack of selfies: “I feel like mystery is more interesting,” Lorde said in a Billboard interview. “People respond to something that intrigues them instead of something that gives them all the information-particularly in pop, which is like the genre for knowing way too much about everyone and everything.”
Lorde has recently spoken out about some of the messages about what it means to be a woman in some of today’s pop music. “I love pop music on a sonic level,” Lorde told Rolling Stone. “But I’m a feminist and the theme of her song ['Come & Get It'] is, ‘When you’re ready come and get it from me.’ I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.”
One thing’s for sure, without any selfies and with very few image, it’s been impossible to tell if Lorde has any tattoos. If she does, maybe she’s just keeping them private.