Lorde, who David Bowie once praised for creating music that “felt like listening to tomorrow,” made a surprise appearance at the 2016 Brits to pay homage to the late, incalculably influential British icon at the awards show.
Drenched in red light, Lorde covered Bowie’s classic “Life on Mars?” from 1971’s Hunky Dory. For a song that found Bowie exploring the upper regions of his vocal register, her comparatively low voice sounded incredibly at home with the song. When the performance wrapped, Lorde looked immensely humbled by the opportunity to cover Bowie at the Brits.
Prior to Lorde, Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman offered some impassioned words in tribute to their departed friend.
“I suspect that everyone is trying to process this event. Even if they didn’t know him personally, many people feel like things will never be the same again,” Lennox said. “For me, it’s almost impossible to mention Bowie’s name in the past tense. Everything he represented as an artist will always be vital and incredibly present.”
Oldman, a friend of Bowie’s who starred in his “The Next Day” video in 2013, recalled that when Bowie shared the news of his failing health, he still retained his humor.
According to Oldman, Bowie told him of his cancer fight and added, “The good news is, I got my cheekbones back.”
Of his late friend, Oldman recalled, “I can share with you that David faced his illness with enormous grace, courage and customary humor… David was funny, hilariously so. The laughs were many and massive and I shall miss them.”