Archives For Lorde

It’s astonishing to look back at the events and people that Webster Hall has hosted over the years, from both a variety and historical standpoint. Politicians, unions, musicians, celebrities, students, ravers and pretty much anyone who wanted to be someone or been seen with someone filed in to the venerable East Village venue for decades.

But of course, especially in the ever-changing borough of Manhattan, all good things must come to an end. Brooklyn Sports Entertainment purchased the concert venue back in April and following Thursday night’s performance from Flushing emcee Action Bronson, it’ll close for renovations. The new Spectrum Hall, outfitted for sports and concerts exclusively, is expected to be finished in about two years.

For me, it’s easy to reflect on Webster Hall because I only have two distinct memories from the venue. The first came on November 23, a little over a month following my move to the city. I caught a performance from Long Island’s own Hoodie Allen (thanks Hoodie for the guest list hook-up). I’ll never forget running up to the balcony (VIP status, you know) and grabbing a Brooklyn Lager on draft just as Hoodie took the stage. The sold-out crowd exploded, singing along to every word from his debut EP “All American.”

The second took place a little less than a year later. I strolled down to the East Village with a camera man from 95.5 on September 30 to interview a then up-and-coming artist by the stage name of Lorde. Born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, the 16 year-old had just released her critically-acclaimed and soon-to-be GRAMMY Award winning debut album “Pure Heroine.” She was also about to headline three sold-out shows at Webster Hall, which is where her and I chatted before sound-check.

A couple things stand-out from that experience: for starters, we set-up for the interview on the aforementioned balcony which was still disheveled from the previous night. I didn’t really mind though, save the tampon wrapper that was on the ledge and in our camera shot. If my memory serves me correctly, my friend Nikki who at the time worked for Republic Records handled its disposal (thanks again Nikki!). As for the empty plastic cups, those were purposely left there because… Webster Hall.

The other unforgettable part of that day was Lorde pulling a 180 during the interview regarding comments she had previously made about her label-mate and now-BFF, Taylor Swift. In hindsight, it wouldn’t be the first-time she’d have to walk-back a statement about Swift but nonetheless, Lorde found herself in the headlines due to an interview with Metro, a publication back in her native New Zealand.

“Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ‘I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift, why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde?’ That’s f–king bulls–t,” she said at the time.

The following Monday in Manhattan, the artist sang a different tune when I asked about who she believes is setting a good example for teenage girls.

“Taylor Swift is a really good role model, and I think what she’s saying is pretty cool,” Lorde replied. “Yeah, I think (her lyrics are) empowering. I think it’s cool.”

Lorde also addressed the situation, albeit non-directly, via her Tumblr that day. However that video of the “Royals” singer talking about Swift eventually went somewhat viral, gaining almost a half-million views to-date. It’s one of 95.5 PLJ’s most-viewed YouTube clips ever, empty plastic cups and all.

Tove Lo, who at the moment has the number one song on pop radio with “Habits (Stay High),” stopped by “Ralphie Tonight to chat about her hit single and album Queen Of The Clouds.

The Swedish singer/songwriter also looked back at her performance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and talked about the creation of the “Habits” music video.

(Note: This piece was written and released ahead of the announcement that Swift’s 1989 had sold over 1.2 million copies in its first week out.)

As of press time, the sales forecasts for Taylor Swift’s album “1989” were set to place the artist in a league of her own. Billboard reported that the latest album from the “Shake It Off” singer could sell more than 1.3 million copies. If it does, that will break the record set in 2000 by Britney Spears for the biggest album sales week by a female artist. “Oops! … I Did It Again” sold 1.319 million units in its first week.

“I’ve always been very optimistic about music sales and album sales, and to have that optimism kind of rewarded with people going out and buying the album; I was so happy about it,” Swift told me last Friday. “Yunno, I would look a little ridiculous if I was just going out for the last two years going, ‘No, people still care about albums!’ And then my album comes out and everybody’s like, ‘Well we don’t care about yours.’”

But people certainly do care, and it has made the launch for “1989” not just memorable, but quite possibly historic as well.

“It’s been the best week I ever had,” Swift responded, without hesitation, when I asked her how things had gone since Monday. “I put out this album that was very different from anything I had done before. Taking kind of a bold move and saying, ‘I choose this genre over that genre for this album’ was taking a bit of a risk. For people to completely see what I was doing and understand it and get it and love it… was the most amazing feeling.”

In addition to the masses, known collectively as “Swifties” or “Taylor Nation,” artists like Kacey Musgraves and Demi Lovato texted Swift on the album’s release date with well wishes. For Musgraves, the switch of Swift’s focus to pop may provide the country singer’s mantle with some extra hardware. For the first time since 2007, Taylor is not nominated for “Favorite Female Artist – Country” at the American Music Awards. When the honor is presented later this month, it will be the first time that an artist not named Taylor Swift wins it since 2008.

“I definitely thought about what I was going to be giving up before I gave it up,” Swift said when I mentioned this, adding that the idea of her not being nominated in the category is far from a sticking point. “I didn’t make this decision thoughtlessly. It was amazing to start out in country, and who knows if I’ll go back at some point. The one thing I was worried about was losing my relationships with the people who work in that industry, and thankfully they’ve all been really accepting of me making a creative change.”

Swift will perform at the AMAs, which air live November 23 at 8 pm on ABC. Also performing is her friend Lorde, who received nods in four different categories, including “Artist Of The Year.”

“We talk about everything,” Swift insisted. “Lorde knows everything. Ella’s (her birth name) has got the inside scoop on everything. I don’t know what it is about her. People tell her everything. She sees everything. She’s also got an incredible amount of insight. She’s the person I go to for advice. She’s 17 years old.”

Granted, the “Royals” singer turns 18 on November 7 – but Swift turns 25 next month. What makes Lorde great at giving advice? Her friend credits Ella’s lack of a filter. But the fact that the world’s biggest pop star will actually listen to someone who gives it to her straight well, may put Swift in her own league for an entirely different reason.

As “Royals” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a sixth consecutive time this past week, its singer Lorde celebrated her 17th birthday on Thursday. Here at “The Ralphie Show,” we pondered what a party would entail for the artist born Ella Yelich-O’Connor. Perhaps more importantly, we begun to tally up the price tags on the various items she names throughout her hit song.

The big ticket item in Lorde’s fantasy (or anti-fantasy?) is the Maybach, which we budgeted a cool half a million dollars for. The luxury vehicle is probably the only thing rapper Jay Z and radio host Rush Limbaugh can agree on as they both own at least one each. For some reason Lorde jumps from Maybachs to Cadillacs. No offense to Cadi-owners because they’re great cars, just not even near the price range of the former brand. There’s $60,000 budgeted for that expenditure.

The other six-figure cost we have is the private jet, which we assumed the singer would rent for her friends and not buy. If in fact they are flying to some exotic island, we have the travel for the trip costing about $200,000.

No tigers on gold leashes included, the grand total for Lorde’s grand bash could be $768,560, and that’s a rather conservative figure. Our math is below – and happy birthday Lorde!

Bottle of Grey Goose: $60
Bottle of Cristal: $300
Hotel Room (Suite): $1000
Ball Gown: $1200
Diamond Ring: $6000
Cadillac: $60,000
Private Jet: $200,000
Maybach: $500,000
TOTAL: $768,560

At this rate, perhaps they’ll be “Royals” after all.

Lorde, the 16 year-old singer from New Zealand that has stormed the alternative and pop charts with her super-smash hit single laid claim to the top stop on the Billboard Hot 100 for a third consecutive week last week.

“Royals” looks like it will be around for a while. The radio hit was also the biggest selling digital song of the week, moving just under 300,000 units.

“It’s nuts,” the singer, nee Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, told me earlier this month about simply appearing on the cover of “Billboard Magazine,” let alone topping it’s Hot 100 chart. At the time, she had yet to tweet anything about the cover. “Yeah, I dunno. I don’t want to clog people’s feeds too much.”

Not exactly what you would expect to hear from a 16 year-old with almost 400,000 followers, especially given her success and the times we live in. Lorde did take time to celebrate with fans on Twitter when the song first when number one on October 2.

We can only hope her humility, and desire to not over-share, are around as long as her music.

The artist behind the current number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart has made headlines over the past few weeks for more than just her music, and now it seems she is changing her tune. Ella Yelich-O’Connor is taking the globe by storm as Lorde, a pop artist who is so different that people first classify her art as alternative.

But besides the success of “Royals,” the teenager is finding herself in the news for her opinions on her peers, namely Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. In Rolling Stone she said Gomez’s “Come And Get It” that she was “sick of women being portrayed this way.” Yelich-O’Connor is a self-described feminist who also admitted that sonically, she enjoys pop music and the aforementioned track.

Speaking to Metro magazine in her native country of New Zealand, Lorde called Swift, “so flawless and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls.”

In an interview that aired Wednesday on “The Ralphie Show,” when asked what artists set a good example, Yelich-O’Connor mentioned the “22” singer.

“Taylor Swift is a really good role model, and I think what she’s saying is pretty cool,” Lorde replied, focusing more on her American label-mate’s lyrics than looks. “Yeah, I think (her lyrics are) empowering. I think it’s cool.”

There are certainly more layers and depth to the teenager’s initial quotes about Swift, but on her Tumblr page, Lorde went in to more detail about what she said and apologized for the comments about Swift.

“I’m so new to, like you say, ‘the game,’” explained Lorde. “It’s such a weird thing, and I am just like a big-ole dorky teenager and I say what I think all the time and run my mouth about everything and get in trouble for it.”

The songstress did not want to elaborate about what exactly she got in trouble for.

“I try not to say things unless I have a reason for saying them,” she noted. “So most of the time, my ass is covered.”

There are conflicting messages not just in Lorde’s interview excerpts, but also in her music. On her first album Pure Heroine, which dropped Monday, she declares on the hit single “Royals” that, “she’ll never get caught up in your love affair,” of fame and its materialism, yet insists you call her “Queen Bee.” Earlier in the LP on “400 Lux,” she claims, “we’re hollow like the bottles that we drink.” But later on during “Still Sane,” the singer who spent “three to four years” on this project sings, “all work and no play never made me lose it.”

Should we get caught up in attempting to decipher the 16 year-old’s lyrics? The songwriter doesn’t always think so.

“It’s awesome,” Lorde first responded to the idea that people’s minds are traveling beyond the melodies. “My only thing is sometimes in songs I will say something that isn’t full of meaning; just because it sounds pretty or I really like the words and it’s just like a superficial choice.”

Especially in regards to her age, it doesn’t seem like the singer makes many choices with “superficial” in mind. Lorde’s tenacity and courage to simply say “no,” whether it be in response to a web design, commercial placement, or touring partner, is fascinating and in probably many artists’ circles, commendable.

“I think I just care so much about what I do and it’s like a child: I know what’s best for it,” she said. “I just have its best interests at heart all the time I guess, so I’m quite protective of kind of making sure that (my art) stays pure.”