Lorde, born Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, was born on 7 November 1996 in New Zealand. The “Solar Power” singer-songwriter’s mother, Sonja Yelich, is a poet, while her father, Vic O’Connor, is a civil engineer. At age five, Lorde joined a drama group, and her mother encouraged her to read a range of genres, which the pop star cited as a lyrical influence. With three albums under her belt, she has cited the 2002 dystopian novel Feed and authors J. D. Salinger, Raymond Carver, and Janet Frame for influencing her songwriting.
Early Beginnings of Lorde’s Music Career
In 2009, Lorde and her friend Louis McDonald won their middle school’s annual talent show. A few months later, the duo appeared 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 recordings of their Pixie Lott cover “Mama Do” and Duffy’s “Warwick Avenue” to Universal Music Group. Lorde was subsequently signed to UMG for development. In 2010, Lorde and McDonald formed a duet called “Ella & Louis” and performed covers live regularly at local venues. The following year, UMG hired a vocal coach to give Lorde singing lessons for a year.
Lorde performed her original songs for the first time in 2011. She and singer-songwriter Joel Little recorded five songs for an extended play, The Love Club. Lorde released the EP through her SoundCloud account for free and was downloaded over 60,000 times. UMG commercially released the EP following that success, which featured her hit single, “Royals.” The song helped Lorde rise to prominence after it became a critical and commercial success, selling more than 13 million units worldwide.
At 16 years old, Lorde became the youngest artist to earn a number-one single in the United States since Tiffany in 1987. The track won two Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year. Her second studio album, Melodrama, was released in 2016, featuring such hits as “Supercut” and “Liability.” The album Solar Power came a few years later in 2021, classified by the artist as her “weed album.” Solar Power is a psychedelic pop and indie folk record, marking a departure from her previous synth-heavy, dance-oriented works.
See below our ranking of Lorde’s 12 best songs: