I have to say I’m a huge fan of Ella Yelich-O’Connor, but not just for musical reasons.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Royals, and listen to it jogging a lot. But that isn’t what I find so appealing about her.
It is her obvious intelligence, substance and maturity which stands in such huge contrast to many other musicians, especially those who also had success at a relatively young age.
Her interview with Tavi Gevinson at Rookie is a great example of that. She just seems so real and such a great role model that you can be successful at a young age, without compromising who you are. I love the fact she dresses the way she wants to, rather than conform to what others might expect or want.
So often you see 16 and 17 year olds portrayed in such a negative light. They’ve treated as children, and juveniles. The fact they may drink is seen as appalling. It overlooks that young adults are often brimming with such huge potential and often have an intelligence which can be compelling.
Tavi puts it well herself in that interview:
I remember when people started paying attention to what I was doing, and it was like, “She should be getting knocked up like all the other kids her age!” It’s like, you complain when you think teenagers are stupid, and then when they try to do something, you’re all, “Oh, they’re growing up too fast, they don’t know what’s good for them.”
And she’s never done media training:
I have never done media training. I feel like I probably should have, because then I could’ve better identified some of that baiting in the beginning. Now I’m really good at it. But I think people don’t realize how weird it is to go from being a teenager or being just a human being who has opinions and freely discusses them with other people, to having everything you say scrutinized and taken out of context. In the space of three months, going from never having done an interview to being in Rolling Stone, being in Interview, and not really realizing how that whole thing works. That stuff was so weird. But now I’ve kind of got a handle on it. Now when people are like, “Tell me what you think of Miley!” I’ll say, “What doyou think of Miley?” and they like flounder and say, “Well, I think she’s really talented…” and I’m like, there you go.
And the power of relating to other people her age:
The biggest one for me is the total reward of having people our age be like, “I see what you did there, and I really like it and I can relate to it.” I have the “Ask” feature on my Tumblr enabled so people with a Tumblr account can send me a message. To me that’s a really useful tool, because I get to hear what people are thinking about what I’m doing, which is—for the most part—super redeeming. I actually have this folder on my computer of really lovely things that people have said to me on Tumblr, and whenever I’m in a super low, terrible mood, I’m like,Remember these wonderful souls who said incredible things to you and who have told you that what you do is worth it! Sorry, this sounds so “I LOVE YOU GUYS!! CATLUVR69, THANK YOU!”
I love that. Is catluvr69 a real one, or did you just make that up?
I just pulled that out. I love adding 69 to faux internet usernames.
So anyway, I will be looking forward to viewing the Grammys live, and hope that 2014 is as good a year for Ella Yelich-O’Connor as 2013 was.