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How Aliens Inspired Lorde's Latest Album and More Revelations from Her Rolling Stone Cover Story

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Christophe Gateau/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Lorde was just 16 years old when she burst onto the world stage in 2013 with her debut album, Pure Heroine, which packed the unforgettable pop juggernaut, “Royals.” The singer has done a lot of growing up since then, and she says it shows on her upcoming full-length, Melodrama, out June 16.

“That felt like a kid,” Lorde, now 20, says of her previous work in a new Rolling Stone profile. “This feels like a young woman. I can hear the difference.” Riding high with her new single, “Green Light,” the artist covers a lot of ground in the revealing interview—from aliens to art, studio freakouts to Lena Dunham‘s culinary skills. Read on for some of the biggest revelations.

Her new album was originally about aliens arriving on Earth

The young star initially found it difficult to separate herself from her smash debut. One early concept for her follow-up concerned aliens arriving on planet Earth. “I remember writing about the first step outside,” she says. “These aliens have just lived in this hermetically sealed environment, and so what does the first step outside feel like?”

She can see and feel music 

Lorde says she has synesthesia, a neurological condition which allows one to “see” music as colors and “feel” it as textures. She says that the ability was nurtured by her upbringing, thanks her parent’s teaching techniques which offered an “overwhelming sensory experience of the world.”

“Everything is so vivid to [my mum],” she says. “And it’s all kind of governed by the senses in quite a literal way — like, the taste of different fruits can be art.”

Peggy Sirota for Rolling Stone

She has a painting in her bedroom, which may or may not depict genitalia

After moving out of her parent’s house in her native New Zealand, Lorde purchased a place of her own nearby—a midcentury home which she decorated in her own unique style. Her living room boasts hand-painted de Gournay jungle wallpaper, but there’s something a little different in her bedroom: a “big, weird, very beautiful, quite saucy” painting by Celia Hempton.

“It’s definitely a vagina,” Lorde confirms.

She met her producer through Lena Dunham—whom she met online

Melodrama was produced by Jack Antonoff, formerly of .fun and more recently of Bleachers. The pair first connected through Antonoff’s longtime girlfriend, the super-talented Girls writer/director/star, Lena Dunham, whom Lorde first met on the internet. “We just started chatting online, as you do,” she says.

Through much of last year she worked on the album in Antonoff and Dunham’s Brooklyn home. Dunham lent moral support and was a consummate host, expect for a small detail. “Lena’s not really an award-winning cook,” Lorde said with a laugh. “There were a lot of Postmates. But she would come in and be like, ‘You’re incredible, you’re the greatest people, I love you, goodbye.'”

She once freaked out in the studio and her colleagues forced her to take time off

The recording process wasn’t always smooth. The singer admits that at one point she had a “freakout” in the studio and Antonoff insisted she return home to rest. “Everyone was like, ‘Get out of here,'” she says. “They barreled me out of the studio, and flicked me across the globe.” She remained away for a month.