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CHANNEL FEATURE: Interview

Channel Interview: Ella Yelich-O'Connor, aka Lorde

2013 - The year of our Lorde
Newly-crowned Royal of pop music, Lorde, aka Ella Yelich-O’Connor, tells Channel about her favourite Shore spots and giving back to the community she has grown up a part of...

This year has belonged to Lorde. The new Royal in the land of music. The tender, truthful talent of Ella Yelich-O’Connor has been nurtured to prime popularity perfection, launching her as a whole new kind of popular music ‘princess’.
Timing is everything, and the planets aligned this year for the quirky Kiwi kid from Devonport; who, through her management and her own nous, has intelligently grown the embryonic nugget of Lorde and infiltrated the consciousnesses of presidents, screen legends, and young and old from every corner of the world.


Topping the music charts in the USA and UK, appearances on Ellen and David Letterman’s TV shows, socialising with David Bowie and Hollywood A-listers, and being named TIME Magazine’s most influential teen, are some of the successes this Takapuna Grammar School student has experienced this year. Add to this, dozens of interviews with some of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, innumerable covers of huge hit ‘Royals’ being performed on TV talent shows and You Tube clips, and, heck, even the incoming Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, made his entrance to his victory party to her haunting hit.

The definition of success in 2013 starts with a letter L. And late in this crazy-beyond-belief year, Lorde was awarded the AIMES Supreme Award - the North Harbour Club’s top honour that recognises and rewards young local talent, which last year went to Lydia Ko.
In between long-haul flights, song-writing requests from musical megastars, and the aforementioned engagements and honours, Ella fit in a visit to Belmont Intermediate School, where it all began. Ella was returning to the school as a guest judge of the school’s annual talent contest, Belmont Idol - on the very stage where she was first ‘spotted’ by a music industry executive and promptly signed to Universal Music, aged just 12. This Kiwi kid has come of age, and perhaps what this Age just needed was a Kiwi kid.
Whilst back on home turf, Lorde kindly squeezed the time in to answer some questions for Channel (and we were dead chuffed).

How do you stay grounded?
My mum is with me everywhere I go overseas, so she's good at doing that. I try to be at home with my family whenever I'm home, just hanging out and eating dinner together. But I think, being from New Zealand, it's not too tricky not to stay grounded...I still wear pajamas to the supermarket sometimes!

Your favourite North Shore hang outs?
You can't beat the beaches - Cheltenham and Minnehaha are two favourites. Eating Vietnamese food and going to Save Mart in Northcote, and driving up to the top of Mount Victoria for a big look at night.

What do you value as character traits in those you work with?
I think the most important trait in those who work with me is being open-minded or innovative. The music industry in particular is one where you really can't look at it the same as you did five years ago - it's constantly a new thing. So that's important to me. Honesty and dedication are also important - I really value people who aren't afraid to tell me when I'm being crazy!

And on winning the AIMES Supreme Award for 2013?
I couldn't feel more humbled! It’s just so incredible to be awarded that kind of honour - for years I have looked up to AIMES Awards recipients and their incredible community contributions. I aim to put some of the money back into the community too, so watch this space!

Lorde and Lydia - TIME Magazine’s Top Teens
Oh to be young and from Auckland’s North Shore in 2013. While Lorde has dominated the airtime and prompted even the most time-precious to see/hear/like her in some form of online medium, Lydia Ko has shaken the world’s perception of what’s possible with her unfathomable sporting success. When the 16-year-old Westlake Girl, and last year’s AIMES Supreme Award recipient, turned professional this year, the sport had to implement a rule change to accommodate her age.
Lorde and Lydia recently topped the TIME 100 list of most influential teens in the world (IN THE WORLD). Justin Bieber and President Obama’s daughter Malia had to be content, or not, with lower placings than these two Shore youths of titanic talent.
Then there is another North Shore connection with other young Kiwi who has achieved global success in 2013. Eleanor Catton worked on her Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Luminaries,
at The Michael King Writers’ Centre on Mount Victoria in Devonport whilst housed there as writer-in-residence.
We live in a small part of a small country but this year, more than any other, the North Shore could hardly have been bigger.

by Heather Vermeer

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