Lorde is 17, articulate, self-aware, and — as much as she's claimed she'll never be — is becoming royal.
The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O'Connor, is taking the changes that come with international success in stride. She's also naming names of artists who inspire her and those she disdains, according to her cover story in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.
The mag dubs the daughter of a civil engineer and an acclaimed poet-photographer (who still lives at home) "the unlikeliest superstar in pop."
But the New Zealand artist, up for four Grammy Awards at Sunday's show, and her hit song, "Royals," which she wrote when she was 15, are a musical take-down of all that glitters in the a vapid industry — an industry quickly enveloping her.
"It's a really weird thing to write a song like 'Royals' and then go through something like this, which changes your entire world and way of living and changes what you do every day," she told the mag. "And then you find yourself writing and being in a completely new stratosphere in terms of what you're talking about and how you approach certain subjects. So it has been weird."
The teen with an unconventional pop image also said that she's been absorbing inspiration from her new surroundings and using them as an opportunity to write new music.
"The coolest thing at the moment is I travel so much," she said. "I've never really traveled before this year. And that is really affecting how I write, because I'm looking at new stuff every day and experiencing new people. ... I'm really interested in social interactions and that sort of stuff. And I get to see ... a lot of that on the road."
Lorde does "exactly what I want to do," so don't expect her to "flirt and wink and all that"). She also dresses like a witch and doesn't smile. At least not all the time.
"I've always been into the idea of confidence. Like, I called my record 'Pure Heroine," she said. "Even my stage name is kind of cocky or grandiose."
"I get paralyzingly nervous a lot of times, so I tried bravado," she added, quoting Kanye West's "Dark Fantasy" ("Me found bravery in my bravado"). "The way I dress and carry myself, a lot of people find it intimidating. I think my whole career can be boiled down to the one word I always say in meetings: strength."
"I've totally learned in this process that 99 percent of the time, your gut is right, and you know what's right for you. I know exactly what’s right for my career and for my art, and sometimes, even if the whole room is saying, 'Don't do that, don’t do that,' you know that doing that is going to be good for you, in the long run. So, yeah, I guess it’s a balance between listening to what other people say and not listening."
The singer also talks about country darling Taylor Swift, whom she previously described as a bad role model for girls because her image is "so flawless and so unattainable." But the two became fast friends after actually meeting. They celebrated Swift's 24th birthday together in Australia and even text about shopping — yes, that's the first soundbite from the singer in the profile.
"Taylor's super good at this stuff," she told the magazine. "She's decorated her own houses for ages."
Now she counts Swift as one of the few young artists with "real teenage voices."
"There are very few of us," she said. "The other teenagers sing other people's songs, which is fine, but it's not an authentic teenage experience."
Who's she talking about? Swift's BFF Selena Gomez and her ex, Justin Bieber. Lorde once called Gomez's hit "Come & Get It" anti-feminist.
Gomez recently addressed the outspoken singer's distaste for her music and didn't let it get her down.
"I'm going to support her whether she likes me or not because I think she's doing great things," Gomez, 21, said in Seventeen's March issue. "Some day I will see her and we'll be cool."
The songwriter also addressed the media maelstrom that transpired in November when a photo of her in a bikini surfaced showing her with boyfriend, James Lowe, a 24-year-old of Chinese descent.
"When I heard about the photos, I was like, 'now there will be a bunch of people on the Internet talking about what my ass looks like.' " Instead, the haters compared him to the "Chinese exchange student from '16 Candles' " and Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung. The reaction surprised her, given the diverse community she lives in in Auckland.
"You almost wonder about humans," she said. "That's why the reaction comes as such a surprise to me. No one I know would even think this was a big deal."
That's not to say that she-of-the-dark-lips doesn't still get starstruck.
"When I meet people whose music I really inspire, and they may be a little bit famous, I still get the little, 'Holy crap! This person wants to talk to me.' And I think when you stop having that feeling, and you're like 'Oh, of course they do,' then maybe you're not who you were anymore," she said.
"I think what’s so cool about an artist like Drake is it’s rare for people to get to that level and still write about their day-to-day and how that makes them feel. There's something very unflinching about that, but also just so, so interesting."
The latest issue hits newsstands Friday. Check out more Lorde quotes here.
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