Ella Yelich-O’Connor

October 11th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian has an interview with Ella Yelich-O’Connor who performs as . The parts I found most interesting are:

Perhaps her calmness has something to do with New Zealand, a country that, by her account, doesn’t really go in for excitable celebrity culture: “I’ve had two of the biggest songs in the country and I can do exactly what I’ve always done. I can walk around, go to parties with my friends, it’s still relatively casual.” Or perhaps it’s the result of what, by anyone’s standards, seems a pretty unique musical apprenticeship. The daughter of a civil engineer (dad) and a writer (mum), she was signed aged 12 – “so young I didn’t really feel like it was that much of a big deal” – after a record label talent scout saw a video of her singing in a school concert, “doing Warwick Avenue by Duffy. Not cool. Sorry.”

They suggested she put out an album of soul covers: she refused, telling them she wanted to write her own material, even though she had never written a song in her life, only short stories (albeit short stories influenced by Raymond Carver, her favourite author “when I was a kid”) and had no idea what she wanted her music to sound like. “They were pretty open-minded about it,” she shrugs, as if a major record label taking orders from a 12-year-old who doesn’t seem to have a clue what she’s doing is the kind of thing that happens all the time.

Described like that, it is sort of funny that you had a 12 year old laying down the rules to a recording studio. I suspect they are glad they let her do things her way.

“They got straight away that I was a bit weird, that I would not be doing anything I didn’t want to do, and they completely went with that. I dunno,” she says, noticing my faintly incredulous expression, “maybe it was because the record company was in New Zealand. Anyway, it’s cool that they were cool with that, because if they hadn’t been,” she laughs, “it wouldn’t have been a very good outcome.”

Self-describing yourself as a bit weird is pretty healthy also, suggesting the fame is not going to the head – like it has tragically for many other young artists.

Tags:

38 Responses to “Ella Yelich-O’Connor”

  1. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    Manufactured pop rubbish- Has about as much ‘Artistic credibility’ as Vanilla Ice.
    Don’t believe me? She is already having carefully choreographed ‘Twitter wars’ with Katy Perry etc…(the sort of stuff 12 year old fans really go for)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 19 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Obsessing about this woman, and that Korean girl who’s good at golf, does quite a lot to make New Zealanders look like a pack of desperate Rubes.

    It’s getting to the point where you are deemed a hater of achievement if you don’t cheer wildly because a New Zealander placed fourth in a Nepalese throat singing contest.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Kiwiblog commenters for real music

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    Give the kid a break.

    Mean old bastards.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    Yep Tom.
    It’s bizarre that everyone is gushing and pretending to love her “She’s so groundbreaking” “Oh she’s incredible” simply because she is a New Zealander.
    I guess it’s a Nationalistic version of small man’s syndrome??

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. iMP (2,364 comments) says:

    Kate Bush meets Cruella de Ville from 101 Dalmations.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “Give the kid a break”

    I’m not having a go at the kid Red-Good on her for making some cash. But don’t try and tell me how ‘innovative and brilliant’ she is and how the is the ‘game changer’ just because she is from New Zealand..
    She is a manufactured teeny pop star no different to Katy Perry, Keisha etc etc

    Now Dragon and Hello Sailor- There were a couple of great Kiwi acts!

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Interestingly, Lorde’s video was just on my TV and my little boy was studiously ignoring it. However, as soon as he heard that accadacca vid start on my computer, he started to boogie.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    Yeah well, if he’s got his father’s gene’s then he’ll always struggle with anything cerebral.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Now Dragon and Hello Sailor- There were a couple of great Kiwi acts!

    Just hope she doesn’t end up an ex junkie with hep C like the boys above

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    Talking of cerebral, not many wimmen around with the spunk of Susan Tedeschi-

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Lucinda Williams and she’d out drink her

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    PEB: You have to hand it to Brazier…the life he’s led and still looking pretty good at 60+…I heard him play in New Plymouth once, years ago….He didnt look any different from when I had last heard him about 20 years before….I went up afterwards and asked him what his secret was… “moderation in all things my boy” was the reply…

    Perhaps he was/is like Keith Richards, who is on record as saying he is still alive because “he always remembered how much he had taken”…

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. wf (426 comments) says:

    Oh get over yourselves.
    She’s a nice kid who’s made a catchy song and she may or may not ever have such success again.
    At least she’s not vulgar like wossername, the one who waved her bum in the air, (or do you guys think that’s real talent ?) and the guy who does her arrangements clearly knows his job. I suspect that if he wasn’t involved she would not have reached the #1 spot.
    I like Paloma Faith -

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DG

    I see him reguarly at his book store, the piss has got him pretty good ( hopefully the last Court appearance a few weeks ago will sort him out) but if you get him early enough he is outstanding conversation. Exceptionallly well read

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Longknives, comparing Lorde to Vanilla Ice clearly shows that you do not know what you are talking about.
    Bunch of grumpy old men in here!

    Tom AC/DC was music for braindead boofheads when they first came out. Still liking them over 30 years later is just sad!

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. NZGroover (13 comments) says:

    bc +1…although don’t agree with comment re: AC DC, they’re fucking awesome and so is Lorde. For a 16 yo she has a maturity to her music and attitude that a lot of “entertainers” could learn from.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    bc
    tad arrogant there mate, when you’ve put out the biggest selling album in history get back to the AC/DC fans and inform them, and people have been following them for 40 years so if you must be arrogant please don’t be ignorant with it

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    AC/DC are legendary- Prefer the Bon Scott era but was sadly too young to see that line-up live…
    Still enjoyed old Johnno croaking away at Western Springs a couple of years ago…and those Young brothers are fucking incredible…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    that should have ben “biggest selling rock album in history-“

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay- Back in Black in generally considered the second highest selling studio album of all time (not counting ‘Greatest Hits’ compilations) behind Thriller.
    Not bad for “Braindead Boofhead” music…but hey, they clearly can’t compete with Lordy…(“She’s from Aotearoa don’t you know??” Gush Gush)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    yea I just corrected myself

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Since when is being proud of an artist from your own country being successful internationally a bad thing longknives?
    Or are we only allowed in New Zealand to be patriotic when our sportspeople do well?

    (We will have to disagree on our opinions of AC/DC. When I was at high school it was the boys in the ‘second year fifths’ classes that listened to them! Showing my age here, that was the days when you failed an exam you got held back and had to repeat the year.)

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Tom AC/DC was music for braindead boofheads when they first came out. Still liking them over 30 years later is just sad!

    Haha. My record collection would likely make you feel like the boofhead. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. noskire (839 comments) says:

    You know, it’s not a bad thing to have even a little tinge of pride when someone from our own little corner of the world makes it big on the international stage – be it music, sport or industry.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Inky_the_Red (756 comments) says:

    I like much of music but some is not to my taste.

    I listened early to all on the website. Royals is by far the strongest tracks. It all beats the rubbish my wife and daughter was watching on X factor US earlier

    https://soundcloud.com/lordemusic

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. bhudson (4,738 comments) says:

    When I was at high school it was the boys in the ‘second year fifths’ classes that listened to them! Showing my age here, that was the days when you failed an exam you got held back and had to repeat the year.

    Good to see there is no elitism practiced by those on the left in New Zealand.

    Oh, and how are them four legs looking right now?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Farrar should have a music thread.

    My guess is his lack of taste prevents it. ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    I can’t stand her music personally but bloody good on her for her success and if you have some kind of grudge against it I think it’s more your problem than hers. It is amazing that a 16 year old form New Zealand is number one in the US! That is something to be proud of!

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. itstricky (1,797 comments) says:

    Opionionated people bitch slap each other about music preferences. Hillarious. Lorde has no artistic credibility because it’s “pop trash on the US charts” but Accadacca do because they are second biggest album sellers of all time. Priceless.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Say what bhudson – pointing out that AC/DC is music for bogans, makes me a member of the ‘left’?? Go figure.
    I think bhudson subscribes to the Redbaiter definition of politics, namely everyone is commies or socialists except him.
    So no I wouldn’t claim to be from the left. I do claim to have excellent taste in music, however. (Which is why a AC/DC album is not part of my music collection).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Noshire: exactly!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. V (701 comments) says:

    You’d never find an Aussie go on about AC/DC because they come out of Australia now would you?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Azeraph (604 comments) says:

    Maybe kiwi’s and the media or maybe it’s just the media need something to replace the lost fervor of being solidly thrashed alive over the cup? Do you think the average white kiwi has had their image projection seriously shaken? My girls don’t even register this young artist in their musician tastes, she is just one of many more to come. It’s the adults that are making the fuss. What does this tell you about our media and those who are following this young girl?

    What most old coots here don’t realize is that young people world wide have access to the latest trends and styles when ever they want and if they have a natural talent for it will naturally follow it.

    She’s 16? We should leave alone. I don’t know about other 16 year olds but i didn’t give a rats ass about this country or any other.

    Good on her for CQ.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    I do claim to have excellent taste in music, however.

    I bet you don’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “It is amazing that a 16 year old form New Zealand is number one in the US! ”

    Why?

    Do you rave about how “amazing” LMFAO, Kesha, Lil Wayne, Katy Perry etc etc are
    Because they all had recent No 1s on that chart..
    And I don’t think even one of them can play a musical instrument.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Ha ha Tom. Talk about missing the point of my post – everyone thinks that they have excellent taste in music, maybe I should have put a smiley face next to it to make it more obvious.
    Clearly based on your comments, we must all praise your superior taste in music, and don’t dare think otherwise.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Clearly based on your comments, we must all praise your superior taste in music, and don’t dare think otherwise.

    Retreating now, eh? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.