This has seriously got to be the biggest week of Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s life. Known to the masses simply as Lorde, she has seen her debut album Pure Heroine drop to solid initial worldwide sales (see our review here), watched as her hit single “Royals” dethroned Miley Cyrus for the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and made her national television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon—all in the span of a couple of days.
Lorde’s rise to the top has definitely been one to watch. Not quite 17 years old, she’s the youngest artist to have a Number 1 hit since then-16-year-old Tiffany did so waaay back in 1987 with “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Back in July, as Billboard reports, Lorde began raising eyebrows when “Royals” became the first debut single by a lead female artist to break into the Alternative Chart Top 10 since Meredith Brooks in 1997; since that time, the song peaked at No. 1 on the chart and stayed there for seven weeks, smashing Alanis Morissette’s record five-week run there in 1995 for “You Oughta Know.”
All this to say, Lorde has gotten very popular, very fast.
That isn’t to say she hasn’t had her detractors. As Spin points out, in keeping with her record’s theme of skepticism against celebrity pop culture, Lorde has made statements to the press in which she has called out the likes of Taylor Swift (for her “unattainable” image) and Selena Gomez (for the way her single “Come & Get It” portrays women). Predictably, these remarks sparked a backlash on social media by fans of the two pop stars, prompting a partial explanation/retraction by Lorde on her Tumblr account. Not necessarily the best way to introduce yourself to the club of young female pop stars, but very much in character for the young singer, who seems (for the moment, anyhow) to be slanted toward a more understated approach to pop stardom.
Even so, being a teenager and having your song out-chart Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga has to feel good. This is Lorde’s moment, and gauging from her national television debut on Jimmy Fallon (which you can watch below)…she’s wearing the moment well.