Mystery Making Process Paying off in US
Identified only as her stage name, Lorde, 16, the artist kept her true identity a mystery for months, Wall Street Journal correspondent Megan Buerger writes. The only available representation of her was a drawing of a girl holding a snake. In an age of instant gratification, this elusive approach to publicity is increasingly popular among labels and artists. It’s a delicate courtship in which musicians must seduce success without seeming like they want it.
But while playing hard to get can earn an artist respect, it doesn’t guarantee record sales. “I always say mystery makes history,” said Charlie Walk, executive vice president of Republic Records, whose Lava imprint signed Lorde this spring. Walk has been working with a team of Lava employees on raising Lorde’s profile. He oversees strategy, which includes marketing and promotion. “But,” he said, “a funny thing happens when you don’t promote: nothing.”
In Lorde’s case, things escalated quickly when on 14 June, she became the first New Zealand artist to simultaneously have four songs in the country’s top 40. “Royals” is now getting airplay around the world and according to Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, it is the first song by a solo female artist to hit the top 10 of the alternative-music chart in the US since 1997. Lorde is currently working on a full-length album slated for release 30 September. I
n early August, she will perform sold out shows in New York and Los Angeles. Both shows, her first US appearances, are her label’s attempt to personally present Lorde to industry insiders, music journalists and bloggers. “It’s a process, but we want her to play the right venues, do the right press, licensing her music in the right places, and so on,” president of Lava Records Jason Flom said. Lorde was born in Auckland. She is currently a Year 12 student attending Takapuna Grammar School.