Gary Flockhart: 2014 is year of Lorde

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IT’S that time of year when music journos delight in telling us who to look out for in the year ahead.

Most critics’ lists are much the same and, I suspect, a tad over-reliant on the BBC’s Sound Of... poll.

The Beeb’s annual hitlist, compiled by journalists, broadcasters, bloggers and DJs rocketed Adele, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J to stardom after they topped the list – and the reason it’s such a reliable barometer of success is because it guarantees that Radio 1 will champion the winner.

My big tip for 2014 isn’t on the BBC’s longlist. Nor is she what we’d call a newcomer. Still, if I had to pick out one artist who I think will own 2014, I’d have no hesitation in plucking for Lorde, the Kiwi teenager who came out of nowhere in 2013 to emerge as one of pop’s most exciting new talents.

Musically, we know she’s special. Her breakthrough single, Royals, was one of 2013’s best pop songs, and her debut album, Pure Herione, was one of the year’s best pop albums. And the scary thing is, there’s so much more to come from this 17-year-old wunderkind.

Certainly, Sony Music Publishing would agree. Its president, Ron Perry, says: “She’s going to be a really big songwriter outside of Lorde. She’s going to have a lot of big songs out there as Ella (Yellich O’Connor), she’s a once-in-a-generation type artist.”

As well as being musically gifted, Lorde is savvy to boot, tackling sexism and industry hype in a recent interview in which she warned people against calling her a “teen hottie”.

“The phrase ‘teen hottie’ literally makes me want to throw up,” she said. “I’m a pop princess at heart. Pop is about distilling what you want to say and making it easy. And the way I write isn’t about making things easy. It’s a weird juxtaposition.”

Now there speaks a young woman who is wise beyond her years.

Don’t doubt that world domination is on the cards for Lorde – and granted, you probably didn’t read it here first.