Lorde’s Unlikely Inspiration For ‘Royals’ And Other Things You Might Not Know About The New Zealand Singer

Today is Lorde’s 18th birthday. She’s had a huge impact on the world of music during her short time on earth, so to celebrate the occasion let’s look at some interesting facts about everyone’s favorite moody New Zealander.

1. Her knowledge of 80s music is pretty impressive.

For someone born at the tail end of 1996, Lorde is quite familiar with the best music of the 1980s. Not only is there her fantastic cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” on the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, she also recorded a cover of The Replacements’ “Swingin’ Party” for her first EP, The Love Club. Tears For Fears is one thing, but teenagers today who know The Replacements? There’s hope for this generation after all!

2. The inspiration for “Royals” was… a former Kansas City Royal.

People have argued about the meaning of “Royals” since it came out (more on that in a bit), but the inspiration came out of left field… or should I say third base? Yes, Lorde got the inspiration to write the song after seeing a picture of baseball Hall Of Famer George Brett in his Kansas City Royals jersey. While she likely did not write the entire song about a baseball, that picture was her starting point. Sadly, the song’s mojo wasn’t quite enough to vault the Royals past the Giants in this year’s World Series.

3. She was the first female solo artist to top the Modern Rock charts in 17 years.

Remember the Tracy Bonham song “Mother Mother”? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Well, 18 years ago it was a pretty big hit on alt-rock radio. Sadly, it was the last time a woman would top the modern rock charts until 2013, when “Royals” vaulted to No. 1. This is yet another example of Lorde’s far-reaching appeal, but seriously, let’s all try to make sure we don’t go until 2030 without another woman topping that chart. Because that would just be sad.

4. T-Pain’s remix of “Royals” indicated he might not be a fan.

There have been many interpretations of “Royals” since it came out, and not all have been positive. The most-common one is that the song is anti-hip hop, with some even going so far as to call it racist. T-Pain released this remix of the song, which seems to be a rebuttal of the original. Lines like “we were sippin Crown Royal/we don’t really give a f**” and most tellingly, “most n***as ain’t royal,” would be appear to be a response to the song’s critique of the flaunting of wealth, specifically in the world of hip hop. Whether you agree with this interpretation of the song or not (personally, I see it as a song about being alienated by all forms of rich people flaunting their wealth, not just in hip hop), T-Pain’s version is at least worth one listen, just to here his trademark auto-tune voice take on the chorus.

5. She was an impressive singer even at the age of 12 — check out her cover of “Use Somebody.”

If you thought Lorde was young when “Royals” came out, wait until you hear her version of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” that she recorded at the age of 12. Honestly, it’s a good thing she didn’t record an album at that age. The inferiority complex would have just been too much to take!

6. Writing seems to run in her family… her mother is an award-winning poet.

Lorde is a great writer, and at least some of that may be genetic. Her mother, Sonya Yelich, is one of New Zealand’s great poets, having being chosen for the collection Best New Zealand Poems in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2008. Based on this trend, one can only imagine what great writers Lorde’s children will be.

7. When South Park had some fun at her expense, she was a very good sport about it.

Over the course of 18 seasons, South Park has spoofed many celebrities, but not all of them were as good of sports as Lorde was. When South Park decided to make Lorde the secret identity of 45-year-old Randy Marsh, and have him sing “Ya Ya Ya, I Am Lorde,” not only was she cool with it, she sag the song herself. You could learn a thing or two from Lorde, Tom Cruise.

8. She had some pretty harsh words for Selena Gomez’s “Come And Get It.”

Lorde has certainly not been shy in giving her opinions about other artists, most notably her critique of Selena Gomez’s hit single “Come And Get It,” saying “I’m a feminist and the theme of her song [Come & Get It] is, ‘When you’re ready come and get it from me.’ I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.” Gomez wasn’t too hurt by this, stating she will support Lorde even if she’s not a fan of her because she thinks Lorde is doing great things.

9. She may be on her way to becoming a Chicago Bulls fan.

We’ve already discussed Lorde’s relationship to the world of baseball, but she may be on her way to becoming a hoops fan, too. Last March, she took in a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and seemed to enjoy the proceedings, even if she found them a bit stressful. Who knows, maybe her second album will be a moody meditation on the continuing injury struggles of Derrick Rose?

10. Taylor Swift has become one of her best friends.

Initially, Lorde and Taylor Swift didn’t seem like they’d become fast friends, after Lorde said she was setting an unrealistic beauty standard for young girls in October 2013, but these days, the pair couldn’t be on better terms. They sat next to each other at the 2014 VMAs, and are seemingly BFFs. Maybe they’ll collaborate under the name Lorde & Taylor. No one has that copyrighted, right?