When Lorde and Little had finished their first collaborative effort, The Love Club EP, Maclachlan applauded it as a "strong piece of music", but worried if the EP could profit because Lorde was obscure at the time. In November 2012, the singer self-released the EP through her SoundCloud account for free download. UMG commercially released The Love Club in March 2013 after it had been downloaded 60,000 times, which signaled that Lorde had attracted a range of audiences. It peaked at number two in New Zealand and Australia. "Royals", the EP's single, helped Lorde rise to prominence after it became a critical and commercial success, selling more than 10 million units worldwide. It peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making Lorde, then aged 16, the youngest artist to earn a number-one single in the United States since Tiffany in 1987, and has since been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The track won two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year at the 56th ceremony. From late 2013 to early 2016, Lorde was in a relationship with New Zealand photographer James Lowe.
Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor (born 7 November 1996), known professionally as Lorde (/lɔːrd/ LORD), is a New Zealand singer-songwriter. Taking inspiration from aristocracy for her stage name, she is known for employing unconventional musical styles and introspective songwriting. Lorde's music is primarily electropop and contains elements of subgenres such as dream pop and indie-electro.
Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor was born on 7 November 1996 in Takapuna, Auckland, to poet Sonja Yelich (Croatian: Jelić) and civil engineer Vic O'Connor. Her mother was born to Croatian immigrants from the region of Dalmatia, while her father is of Irish descent. They announced their engagement in 2014, after a 30-year relationship, and in 2017, they married in a private ceremony in Cheltenham Beach. Lorde holds dual New Zealand and Croatian citizenship.
After a suggestion from a school instructor, her mother had her take the Woodcock–Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities to determine her intelligence. The results concluded that Lorde, age 6, was a gifted child. She was briefly enrolled at George Parkyn Centre, a gifted education organisation. Sonja, unenrolled her, however, citing social development concerns. As a child, Lorde attended Vauxhall School and then Belmont Intermediate School in her early teens. While attending Vauxhall, she placed third and first respectively in the North Shore Primary Schools' Speech competition, a national contest, in 2006 and 2007. Lorde and her Belmont team were named the runner-up in the 2009 Kids' Lit Quiz World Finals, a global literature competition for students aged 10 to 14.
Born in the Auckland suburb of Takapuna and raised in neighbouring Devonport, Lorde expressed interest in performing at local venues in her early teens. She signed with Universal Music Group (UMG) in 2009 and collaborated with producer Joel Little in 2011 to start recording material. Initially self-released in 2012 for free download on SoundCloud, UMG commercially released the pair's first collaborative effort, an extended play (EP) titled The Love Club, in 2013. The EP's international chart-topping single "Royals" helped Lorde rise to prominence.
In May 2009, Lorde and her friend Louis McDonald won the Belmont Intermediate School annual talent show as a duo. In August that year, Lorde and McDonald made a guest appearance on Jim Mora's Afternoons show on Radio New Zealand. There, they performed covers of Pixie Lott's "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)" and Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody". McDonald's father then sent his recordings of the duo covering "Mama Do" and Duffy's "Warwick Avenue" to Universal Music Group (UMG)'s A&R executive Scott Maclachlan. Maclachlan subsequently signed her to UMG for development.
Lorde was also part of the Belmont Intermediate School band Extreme; the band placed third in the North Shore Battle of the Bands finals at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland on 18 November 2009. In 2010, Lorde and McDonald formed a duet called "Ella & Louis" and performed covers live on a regular basis at local venues, including cafés in Auckland and the Victoria Theatre in Devonport. In 2011, UMG hired vocal coach Frances Dickinson to give her singing lessons twice a week for a year. During this time, Maclachlan attempted to partner Lorde with several different producers and songwriters, but without success. As she began writing songs, she learned how to "put words together" by reading short fiction.
Lorde performed her original songs for the first time at the Victoria Theatre in November 2011. In December, Maclachlan paired Lorde with Joel Little, a songwriter, record producer, and former Goodnight Nurse lead singer. The pair recorded five songs for an extended play (EP) at Little's Golden Age Studios in Morningside, Auckland, and finished within three weeks. While working on her music career, she attended Takapuna Grammar School from 2010 to 2013, completing Year 12. She later chose not to return in 2014 to attend Year 13.
In November 2013, Lorde signed a publishing deal with Songs Music Publishing, worth a reported US$2.5 million, after a bidding war between companies including Sony Music Entertainment and her label UMG. The agreement gave the publisher the right to license Lorde's music for films and advertising. Later that month, Lorde was featured on the soundtrack for the 2013 film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, performing a cover of Tears for Fears' 1985 song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". Time included her on their lists of the most influential teenagers in the world in 2013 and 2014. Forbes also placed her on their 2014 edition of 30 Under 30; she was the youngest individual to be featured. Billboard featured her on their 21 Under 21 list in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Lorde's accolades include two Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards, and a Golden Globe nomination. She appeared in Time's list of the most influential teenagers in 2013 and 2014, and the 2014 edition of Forbes 30 Under 30. In addition to her solo work, she has co-written songs for other artists, including Broods and Bleachers. As of June 2017 , Lorde has sold over five million albums worldwide.
Lorde's debut studio album Pure Heroine containing the single "Royals" was released in September 2013 to critical acclaim; it appeared on several year-end album lists. The album received considerable attention for its portrayal of suburban teenage disillusionment and critiques of mainstream culture. In the United States, the album exceeded sales of one million copies in February 2014, becoming the first debut album by a female artist since Adele's 2008 album 19 to achieve the feat. Pure Heroine earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album, and has sold four million copies worldwide as of May 2017. Three other singles were released from the album: "Tennis Court" reached number one in New Zealand, while "Team" charted at number six in the United States, and "Glory and Gore" was released exclusively to US radio.
In the first half of 2014, Lorde performed at festivals including the Laneway Festival in Sydney, the three South American editions of Lollapalooza—Chile, Argentina, Brazil —and the Coachella Festival in California. She subsequently embarked on an international concert tour, commencing in North America in early 2014. Amidst her solo activities, Lorde joined the surviving members of Nirvana to perform "All Apologies" during the band's induction ceremony at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. Band members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl explained that they selected Lorde because her songs represented "Nirvana aesthetics" for their perceptive lyrics. Lorde also curated the accompanying soundtrack for the 2014 film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, overseeing the collation of the album's content as well as recording four tracks, including its lead single "Yellow Flicker Beat". In 2015, the track earned Lorde a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. Later that year, she was featured on British electronic duo Disclosure's song "Magnets" off their 2015 album Caracal.
Lorde was parodied in the South Park episodes "The Cissy" and "Rehash", broadcast in October and December 2014, respectively.
After her breakthrough, Lorde won four New Zealand Music Awards at the 2013 ceremony. The single "Royals" earned the APRA Silver Scroll Award, and two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year. In 2015, she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song as a songwriter for "Yellow Flicker Beat". Her second studio album Melodrama received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year at the 60th ceremony. Lorde has received two Brit Awards for International Female Solo Artist. The singer has also won two Billboard Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Award and three World Music Awards. She has sold over five million albums worldwide as of June 2017 and 15 million certified single units in the United States.
Lorde has been involved in several philanthropic causes. "The Love Club" was included in the 2013 charity album Songs for the Philippines to support the people in the Philippines who suffered from Typhoon Haiyan. In 2015, Lorde recorded "Team Ball Player Thing", a charity single, as part of the supergroup Kiwis Cure Batten. All sales from the song went towards research for the cure of Batten disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Later that year, the singer was featured in the compilation album The Art of Peace: Songs for Tibet II to raise funds for the preservation of the Tibetan culture. The following year, Lorde made a NZ$20,000 donation to Fuel the Need, a New Zealand charity that provides lunches for underprivileged schoolchildren. In 2018, she donated NZ$5,000 to Starship Hospital to fund the purchase of "five new portable neurology monitors." Lorde became a patron of MusicHelps, formerly the New Zealand Music Foundation, a musical charity helping New Zealanders who are vulnerable to or experiencing serious health issues, in November 2018.
In January 2016, Lorde relocated to Herne Bay, an affluent suburb in Auckland. At the 2016 Brit Awards in February, Lorde and David Bowie's final touring band gave a tribute performance of his 1971 song "Life on Mars". Pianist Mike Garson, a frequent band member for Bowie, explained that Bowie's family and management selected Lorde because he admired her and felt she was "the future of music". Later that year, Lorde co-wrote "Heartlines", a song by New Zealand music duo Broods from their 2016 album Conscious.
The lead single from her second studio album Melodrama, "Green Light", was released in March 2017 to critical acclaim; several publications ranked it as one of the best songs of the year, NME and The Guardian placing it in the top spot on their respective lists. It achieved moderate commercial success, reaching number one in New Zealand, number four in Australia and number nine in Canada. Later that month, she co-wrote and provided background vocals for American indie pop band Bleachers's song "Don't Take the Money", taken from their 2017 record Gone Now.
On Melodrama, Lorde attempted to showcase her maturity as a songwriter and incorporated her post-breakup introspection. The album was released in June 2017 to widespread critical acclaim; Metacritic placed it second on their list of the best-received records of 2017 based on inclusions in publications' year-end lists, behind Kendrick Lamar's Damn. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, giving Lorde her first number-one album on the chart, and on record charts of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year at the 60th ceremony. Two other singles from the album were released: "Perfect Places" and a remix of "Homemade Dynamite" featuring Khalid, Post Malone and SZA.
To promote Melodrama, Lorde embarked on an international concert tour, the first leg of which took place in Europe in late 2017, featuring Khalid as the supporting act. She later announced the North American leg, held in March 2018, with Run the Jewels, Mitski and Tove Styrke as opening acts. A political controversy occurred in December 2017 when Lorde cancelled her scheduled June 2018 concert in Israel following an online campaign by Palestinian solidarity activists supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. While Lorde did not explicitly indicate her reasons behind the cancellation, she admitted that she had been unaware of the political turmoil there and "the right decision at this time is to cancel". Pro-Palestine groups welcomed her decision, while pro-Israel groups were critical of the cancellation. Billboard included Lorde on their 2017 edition of 21 Under 21, while Forbes included her in their 30 Under 30 Asia list.
Lorde revealed in May 2020 that she started working on her upcoming third studio album with Antonoff following the death of her dog Pearl. In November 2020, she announced the release of Going South, a book documenting her January 2019 visit to Antarctica with photos taken by photographer Harriet Were.
In May 2021, Lorde was announced as a headlining act for Primavera Sound's June 2022 festival, her first live show performance in over two years. On 7 June 2021, Lorde posted an image on her website with the caption "Solar Power", along with the message: "Arriving in 2021 … Patience is a virtue." "Solar Power" was released on 10 June 2021, as the lead single from her upcoming third studio album, also named Solar Power.