Singer Lorde's switch from pop stardom to domestic life inspired new album Solar Power

The album also casts an introspective lens into how much Lorde has changed in the past few years. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - After the tour for her 2017 album Melodrama ended, singer Lorde took a break from the "busy, crazy life" of a global touring pop star to enjoy a quiet, domestic existence.

The downtime turned out to be a transformative experience that led to the Grammy-winning New Zealand singer-songwriter's latest album, Solar Power, which comprises songs that celebrate nature as well as family.

The inspiration for her third album arose from her morning routine of walking her dog in a park.

"Through that little routine, I saw the seasons changing for the first time and I saw the morning light every morning," the 24-year-old says in an online press conference from New York.

"I really started to feel the magic of nature and the outside world, even just from going to a park."

The idea for the album title came to her while she was on a trip to Antarctica. "This album is very much a celebration of the natural world. I also thought a lot about our changing climate, and how different our environment and natural world will look for my children."

She has been thinking a lot about family. She singles out Oceanic Feeling, a six-minute-long tune that closes the album, which she calls a "really personal, long song" about her life in New Zealand.

"I talk about my little brother and about my dad and what my kids will be like one day. It was sort of a meandering journey of thinking about all these different things."

Written together with American musician Jack Antonoff, the producer famous for working with music stars such as Taylor Swift and St. Vincent, the album also casts an introspective lens into how much Lorde has changed in the past few years.

The song Secrets From A Girl (Who's Seen It All), for example, was written as a letter to her 16-year-old self.

Born Ella Yelich-O'Connor, the singer was only 15 when she released her debut single Royals in 2013, a song about her suburban New Zealand life that became a surprise hit worldwide.

The following year, it picked up Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the Grammys. In 2019, music industry bible Billboard crowned Royals as a song that "defined the decade".

Her sophomore album Melodrama was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2018 Grammys.

At the Brit Awards, she won International Female Solo Artist in 2014 and 2018.

"I think I have become someone who sees the world a little bit more clearly," she says of how her personal growth has corresponded with her artistic growth between albums.

"I lived in New Zealand, in a sort of nice suburb, and I didn't know that much about the world, sort of common for most young people.

"And just the nature of the journey my life has taken, I feel like I have seen so much and have a much greater understanding of lots of different things. My mind is a lot broader now and I try to be a lot more understanding."

She harbours no regrets about stepping back from social media in 2018, calling it one of the best decisions she has ever made.

"I felt so much pressure to be wearing the right clothes and saying the right things, going to the right places on holiday, taking the right Instagram photos. I don't know if this is the best use of my energy.

"Once I removed myself from that a little bit, I ended up feeling really good and that made me feel okay about not necessarily being the person with a finger on the pulse."

While live shows are off the cards for now due to the pandemic, she hopes to go back to staging concerts for fans worldwide when the situation gets better.

"I care so deeply for my fans. I think of them as like my kids, so I want us all to be able to do it in a way that is safe.

"But I hope we can tour next year because I think people really want it. I think that the shows will be a real release for people."

Solar Power is now out on music streaming services.

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