Lorde wins the staring contest in her “Tennis Court” video.
Considering her mature songwriting and music video presence, you’d expect Lorde to be a longtime music biz veteran, but Ella Yelich-O’Connor is only 16 years old. The Auckland, New Zealand, native is — as just about every mention of her you’ll read around the internet points out — poised to break out as a BIG worldwide star. Consider her new “Tennis Court” video as evidence.
Watch Lorde’s “Tennis Court” video after the jump.
OK, so Lorde didn’t exactly show up out of nowhere when her alluring song “Royals” surfaced this year. She’s actually been working with a team since singing to Universal at age 12. That song, from her The Love Club EP, shot straight to No. 1 on the New Zealand singles chart.
Aside from her smoky, jazzy, mature-beyond-her-years voice, there’s a thoughtfulness to Lorde’s lyrics (she shares her songwriting duty with producer Joel Little), which could be a quality she got from her mother, a poet, who exposed Lorde to the greats from an early age. (See? Read to your kids, people. It works!)
And we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed: Everyone from Grimes to Sky Ferreira are already fans. But Ella’s not planning on letting fame go to her head. “The idea of putting people on pedestals seems really strange to me,” she said in an interview with Pigeons and Planes. “Every time someone comes up to me and is starstruck I feel like I have to act supernormal to get them on my level, to make them realize I am not that cool. Because half the time people stop me I am on the train or on the bus, or waiting for my dad to pick me up.”
On “Tennis Court,” Lorde eschews the glitzy production you might expect from an ascendant pop star in favor of going minimal — really, really minimal. The clip is nothing but a single shot of Ella staring into the camera as the song plays, not even singing along to the lyrics. It’s a bit unsettling at first, but eventually it starts to make sense. She’s trying to do things a bit differently, and so far it seems like it’s working.
+ Watch Lorde’s “Tennis Court” video.
Photo credit: James K. Lowe