Lorde Reveals How She Goes Unnoticed Riding the Subway in New York — and Which Katy Perry Song She Thinks Is 'Holy'

The pop star opened up about the inspiration behind her new album Melodrama, due June 16

Lorde Visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show"
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Lorde is back to reclaim her throne.

The “Royals” singer will release her sophomore album, Melodrama, on June 16. Ahead of the much-anticipated LP’s release, the New Zealand native, 20, sat down with The New York Times Magazine to discuss the album’s inspiration (heartbreak! house parties!) and how she maintains a low-key life since shooting to fame with her 2013 album Pure Heroine.

Below, three of the biggest revelations from her Times interview.

1. She’s a Katy Perry fan!

While her bff Taylor Swift and Katy Perry have shared some “Bad Blood,” Lorde has no problem with the “Chained to the Rhythm” singer — in fact, she finds her 2010 hit “Teenage Dream” sacred in the pop sphere.

“There’s this sadness about it, where you feel young listening to it, but you feel impermanence at the same time,” Lorde told the Times. “When I put that song on, I’m as moved as I am by anything by David Bowie, by Fleetwood Mac, by Neil Young. It lets you feel something you didn’t know you needed to feel … There’s something holy about it.”

Apparently there’s a mutual respect, as Perry took to Twitter in March. to rave about Lorde’s new “Green Light” video, writing: “@lorde That’s a yus kween dance on that @lyft.”

Lorde also opened up about her zealous appreciation for the science of pop songwriting.

“I have such reverence for the form,” she said. “A lot of musicians think they can do pop, and the ones who don’t succeed are the ones who don’t have the reverence — who think it’s just a dumb version of other music. You need to be awe-struck.”

2. She still takes public transportation and eats in diners without being recognized.

The “Green Light” singer relocated to N.Y.C. to record most of Melodrama and figured out how to go under the radar in one of the biggest cities in the world.

“Nobody recognizes me,” she told the magazine.

Added Times writer Jonah Weiner: “When Lorde does spot someone spotting her, she went on, her move is to smile, place a finger to her lips and mouth a conspiratorial shh. Her thinking is that this gesture, warm and direct in its appeal, will pre-empt any further encounter.” And, “it usually does,” Lorde said.

Courtesy The New York Times Magazine

What’s more, the Grammy winner can even go unnoticed at restaurants she frequents, including The Flame, a run-of-the-mill N.Y.C. diner, near Central Park.

“I spent about four months here last year with my laptop out and my headphones on, listening to demos, looking at lists of what I needed to get done and writing songs,” she told the Times. “People must have thought I was an aspiring poet or something.”

FROM COINAGE: What Is the Grammy Bounce? (No, It’s Not a Dance Move)

3. Her new album is inspired by heartbreak — but don’t call it a breakup album!

Lorde said that Melodrama — cowritten and produced by pal Jack Antonoff — is inspired in part by a recent split. (The singer and her photographer boyfriend James Lowe broke up in 2015.)

“After your heart is broken, music enters you on a new level,” she said. “You suddenly find yourself crying when [Alicia Keys’] ‘Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart’ comes on.”

Even so, Lorde insisted that Melodrama isn’t a “breakup album,” but rather “it’s a record about being alone. The good parts and the bad parts.”


Adding another creative layer, the star said her new set is a concept album about a house party.

“With a party, there’s that moment where a great song comes on and you’re ecstatic,” she explained, “and then there’s that moment later on where you’re alone in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, you don’t think you look good, and you start feeling horrible.”

For her first album, the “Liability” singer focused on teen angst, telling the Times she wanted “to make sense of every weird thing that happens at a party with 15-year-olds” so she didn’t partake in alcohol — not because of “discipline as much as just wanting not to miss anything.”

When it came time to commit herself to Melodrama, though: “I went to the party and got drunk.”

Melodrama drops June 16.

Related Articles