Anatomy of a Hit: Lorde – Royals

Anatomy of a Hit is new feature on This Must Be Pop, where my task is to analyse the highest new entry to the UK singles chart top 10 each week. This week I’m pleased to say it’s a new artist I’ve followed very closely this year…

#1 – Lorde – Royals

The success of Royals should be inspiring to all unknown musicians and people who work with them, as it proves that a great song and a remarkably talented artist will rise to the top, even if on paper it seems unlikely. New Zealand isn’t known for producing international stars, and the fact that Lorde had already been famous for months at home before any international online press discovered her shows how little attention the rest of the world pays to the NZ music scene. I looked back through Hype Machine to find the first blog posts about her, which came in late April (the same day as my feature in Future Pop). Among those early posts was one by a New Zealand blogger complaining about the “overhype,” which shows she was quite established by this point.


Once a few “tastemaker” blogs caught on, the Love Club EP (which featured Royals) spread like wildfire. The songs and the story stood out above all the other female indie-electro-pop artists, because of her age (not only is she just 16 now, but she was signed when she was 13), her nationality and her lyrics. Every week brings a new hyped artist, but there are only a few each year whose success is as unstoppable as Lorde’s. No marketing spin or tricks were needed as the music spoke for itself. Universal (EMI in the UK) used the buzz to open the right doors for Lorde, including carefully-selected TV appearances, interviews and live shows, then left her to do her thing.

Come back next Monday to read my thoughts on the highest new entry in the top 10. Will it be One Direction, The Wanted, Lady Gaga or Fatboy Slim?

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