How an unknown 16-year-old from New Zealand became the most sought-after new artist of 2013. Inside Lorde's ascent from quiet bookworm to alt-rock

"In a perfect world, I would never do any interviews," Ella Yelich-O'Connor says, "and probably there would be one photo out there of me, and that would be it."

Pausing a photo shoot in Auckland, New Zealand, for an interview, the 16-year-old singer better-known as Lorde delivers this without a hint of standoffishness. She's less distraught about the promotional trappings of a flourishing music career than she is clear about her desire to retain some mystique.

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