Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lorde at Pier 97

Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, known by her stage name Lorde, began performing as a child in Auckland, New Zealand. At age 5, she followed her friend into a drama group and discovered a love of singing and acting. She began singing cover songs publicly at age 12, began writing songs at age 14, and performed her original songs publicly at age 15. Lorde chose her stage name because she was fascinated with "royals and aristocracy," but felt the name Lord was too masculine, so she added an "e" to make it more feminine. "Royals," a song from her debut The Love Club EP that mocked the glamorous lifestyle of the rich, became a number one song internationally in 2013 when she was 16 years old. The track won Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Lorde's debut album, Pure Heroine, released in September 2013, strengthened her public appeal. Time in 2013 listed the self-identified feminist among the most influential teenagers in the world, and Forbes in January 2014 placed Lorde on their "30 Under 30" list of young people "who are changing our world."

Earlier in her career, Lorde performed in New York music clubs, but at Pier 97 tonight, it appeared that Lorde's audience has grown increasingly younger, with many pre-teens in attendance. Lorde performed 15 songs, including covers of Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" and Bon Iver's "Heavenly Father." Backed by a synthesizer player and a drummer, the music was sparse, focusing attention on her alto and mezzo-soprano ranges. Beyond the bubble machines and confetti canons (shooting out little drawings of Lorde), there was very little spectacle. From the opening "Glory and Gore" to the closing "A World Alone," put on a low-key performance, singing sweet and sultry songs and responding to the rhythms with twitchy non-choreographed dances. Her floating dream-pop melodies were alluringly mystifying without ever booming beyond the electronic musicscape. Although still a teen-ager, Lorde showed that her art pop was made of mature substance.

Visit Lorde at www.lorde.co.nz.