Lorde Talks Taking a Long Break, David Bowie Influence on 'Melodrama'
Lorde was 16 when she became an international pop star, toured the world and became part of Taylor Swift's squad. That's a lot to process at such a young age. Any age, really. So, she went away for a few years to do some growing, thinking and reflecting. Now 20, she poured that mind-spinning experience into her upcoming second album, Melodrama, whose first single, "Green Light," has already got critics doing back-flips.
"For me it was kind of about processing what I wanted to say next, I knew it couldn't be just any old thing, it had to be really special. It had to be really singular," she told Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 radio show on Thursday (March 2). "It couldn't sound the same as the old stuff and there was a lot of discovery that went on."
That seeking led to "Green Light," which Lorde said was a kind of "oh s--t" moment that made all the other songs she worked on for 18 months with Jack Antonoff (Bleachers/fun.) suddenly make sense. "The song is about a heartbreak and it's not something that I really am used to writing about," she said of the propulsive single that features a drum break by whiz kid producer Frank Dukes (Camila Cabello, Drake.) "It took me a while to figure out how to write about that... my first major heartbreak."
Antonoff went on a Twitter spree on Thursday in which he described the genesis of "Green Light," saying he went into his New York apartment's kitchen and when he returned Lorde had written a key line and the song sprang to life.
ella and i made green light in NYC in my apartment in a very small studio that looks like a club house— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) March 2, 2017
nobody around. just her and i wondering if we could get away with that chord change when the "i hear sounds" bit begins.— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) March 2, 2017
i remember going to the kitchen and when i came back ella had the "ill come get my things but i can't let go" line and i was just in heaven— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) March 2, 2017
Growth came in other forms as well, with the singer noting that she is a co-producer (along with Antonoff) on every song, telling BBC Radio 1 that much of it was inspired by her all-time musical hero, David Bowie. "I feel like the whole time spent writing this record I've had him in my thoughts, I've had him in my heart," she explained of the rock icon who she paid memorable tribute to at last year's Brit Awards.
"It's hard not to make something and think, 'What would David think of this? If I could play it to him, what would he say?" she added. Some of the songs, in fact, were laid down at New York's iconic Electric Lady studios, where Bowie recorded his single "Fame" and mixed his final album, Blackstar.
After the crush of global fame, the "Royals" singer said she needed to take a long break, so she went back home to New Zealand, got her own place and took some Lorde time. "[To] hang out by myself and figure out what I was going to do next," she told the BBC. "I knew I couldn't make the same thing again, and I had to figure out what it was that I wanted to say. And I'm so glad I took that time, because this record is the coolest thing I've ever made."
Listen to the full interview with Lowe below: