Filed Under:

Lorde Doesn't Have A Bentley, But The Charts Will Do

Play associated audio

While young women dominate the dance and pop charts, it's been nearly 20 years since we've seen them top the alternative-rock charts. This year, a 16-year-old girl from New Zealand got the job done with a tune that's just about the opposite of anything you'd hear from her peers. Ella Yelich O'Connor — better known as Lorde — is the voice behind the snarky, chart-topping track "Royals," which is the lead single from her debut album, Pure Heroine.

The teenage musician says the disconnect between her life in Auckland, New Zealand, and the messages behind the top songs of the music charts she's dominating inspired her to write the hit.

"I was just sort of reeling off some of the things which are commonly mentioned in hip-hop and the Top 40. I did get a little ridiculous on it, but the sentiment's there," O'Connor says. "I've always loved hip-hop, but as a fan of hip-hop, I've always had to kind of suspend disbelief because, obviously, I don't have a Bentley. There's a distance between that and the life I have with my friends going to parties and getting public transport and doing the things that every other teenager does."

O'Connor's interest in reading and discussing literature is a characteristic she says was instilled in her by her mother, Sonja Yelich, a prize-winning poet. It was this influence that ultimately led to the selection of her moniker.

"I was looking through a bunch of aristocratic titles, and I liked the word 'lord' — I liked the masculinity of it," she says. "I just put an 'e' on the end to make it feminine, because I thought that juxtaposition was kind of cool."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Ricky Gervais On Controversial Jokes, Celebrities And 'Special Correspondents'

"I didn't go out there to ruin everyone's day or undermine the moral fabric of America. I was making jokes." Gervais talked with NPR's Rachel Martin about his new movie and how he approaches humor.
NPR

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.
NPR

Iran Parliamentary Election: Moderates, Reformists Make Gains, Fall Short Of Majority

Supporters of President Hassan Rouhani fell short of a clear majority despite receiving the most votes. Analysts say the coming period will be combative, with many big issues decided by independents.
NPR

Apple's Lousy Week Could Signal Times Of Trouble For Tech Giant

Apple got hit with a lot of bad news this week. First, the company posted its first quarterly revenue drop since 2003. And then billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn revealed that he has dumped all of his shares in Apple. NPR explores whether the company is really in trouble or if is this all just a bump in the road.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.