By Hayden Wright
Lorde burst onto the scene in 2013 as one of pop’s strongest, most gifted prodigies. It’s taken her four years to finish a follow-up to the GRAMMY-winning Pure Heroine, but the first tracks from Melodrama have thrilled her fans around the world.
Lorde sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss avoiding the pitfalls of fame, writing her new album and collaborating with Jack Antonoff of Fun. and Bleachers. With festival dates on the horizon and her album due out June 16, Lorde spoke candidly about her next chapter.
On getting super famous at age 16:
“Now I can look back and be like, ‘That was f—–. All of it. F—–. Insane.’ But everyone’s so crazy when they’re 16. 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.”
On finding a fresh start for Melodrama:
“It kind of takes a second, I learned, to write your way out of the record you just made,” she said. “I remember writing about the first step outside. These aliens have just lived in this hermetically sealed environment, and so what does the first step outside feel like?”
On meeting Jack Antonoff:
“We were at a Grimes show, and he was like, ‘I’ll go get you a drink,’ and sort of disappeared into another room and came back with a can of pineapple juice – which is quite a weird thing to bring someone – handed it to me, then whipped it back and rubbed the top of it and said, ‘Rats crawl over them in the factories.’ [It felt like I] had come home in the nicest possible way, to meet someone like that.”
On songwriting inspiration from real-life friendships:
“Everything written about on the album, give or take a couple of lines, all took place in New Zealand, is about me and my friends,” she said.
On Lena Dunham’s cooking (at the home she shares with Antonoff):
“Lena’s not really an award-winning cook,” Lorde said. “There were a lot of Postmates. But she would come in and be like, ‘You’re incredible, you’re the greatest people, I love you, goodbye.'”
On feeling like a little monk:
“In a lot of ways I felt like a little monk, drifting down into the subway, being very solitary and just thinking about the music all the time and not really socializing very much,” she said. “Every once in a while, a sweet little NYU student would come up to me and say some lovely thing, but really I felt like I was able to lose touch with myself as a person of note, which is a really valuable thing. By the end, this part of my life, this part that we’re doing right now, all of this felt very abstract.”
On returning to the stage (with prescription meds in tow):
“I’m f—— nervous,” she said. “I haven’t performed in three years, and so it’s like forced extroversion for a true introvert…I just got a prescription for some beta blockers. I was like, ‘Let’s do this. Give it to me, give it to me.’ ”
On being like Drake (or not):
“[On Pure Heroine] we reinvented the wheel by accident. It’s sort of a miracle, really,” she said. “That’s not the thing I was put on this Earth to do – to push things forward every time. Obviously, I would want people to like the music, but in terms of being like Drake, how he’s always pushing the culture forward musically? I know what my strengths are, and I think that would have given me a hernia or something.”
In case you missed it, watch the video for Lorde’s Green Light and her Rolling Stone cover below.
Lorde appears on our new cover. Head to RollingStone.com to read the story in full. In the profile, she opens up to us about how her life has changed since her debut ‘Pure Heroine,’ her upcoming album ‘Melodrama’ and more. “Now I can look back and be like, ‘That was fucked. All of it. Fucked. Insane,’” she says of the early flush of fame. “But everyone’s so crazy when they’re 16.” Photograph by Peggy Sirota (@peggysirota)