16-year-old New Zealand singer Lorde is VH1’s You Oughta Know artist for September. Lorde (née Ella Yelich-O’Connor) might still be a teenaged school girl in New Zealand, but her single “Royals” has made her an international alternative music princess. “Royals” became the first song by a female artist to top the Billboard Alternative charts since Tracey Bonham cracked it 17 years ago with “Mother Mother,” and the song has also been called the fastest charting alternative song since Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” So what inspired the hit song that takes its own hit at the luxurious lifestyles of famous musicians? Apparently a National Geographic photo…
“I had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs,” Lorde told us when we sat down with her recently. “He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.'” Lorde was so taken by the image and the word that she penned the song around that idea. “It was just that word. It’s really cool.”
It wasn’t just a photo of a baseball player, though. Lorde is also a massive history buff and her love of the real life royals of the past also played a part in creating the song.
“Obviously I’ve had this fascination with aristocracy my whole life.” She adds, “Like, the kings and queens of 500 years ago…they’re like rock stars. If there was a TMZ 500 years ago, it would be about like Henry VIII and Marie Antoinette and all those people.”
For more information on VH1’s latest You Oughta Know artist, be sure and check out Lorde.VH1.com all month long.