Bow down: Lorde makes US history

She rules: Lorde has made music history.
She rules: Lorde has made music history.

America, forget that you're a republic and bow down. Lorde is your new queen

The 16-year-old singer from Auckland's north shore has become the first woman in 17 years to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

The phenomenal success of Royals puts Lorde (real name Ella Yelich-O'Connor) in a prime position to conquer the US. Not bad for someone who's still at high school.

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The teenager, who was the surprise hit of Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia, retweeted the news this morning:

.@LordeMusic Becomes First Woman In 17 Years To Reach No. 1 On Alt Chart #Lorde #Royals

— KROQ (@kroq) August 12, 2013

For the past 17 years, the #1 spot on alternative charts has been dominated by men. I'm happy that @lordemusic did something about that. 👏💗🎶

— KATIE (@Katieeeb18) August 12, 2013

The last woman to top the Alternative Songs Chart was Tracy Bonham, whose Mother Mother went to No. 1 in June of of 1996. The wait between female chart-toppers was shorter back in the Nineties, with Alanis Morissette scoring three No. 1s in the year before Bonham's triumph.

Billboard was keen to stress that the Alt chart hasn't been men only locker room for the past 17 years, pointing out that "female-fronted groups like Evanescence (led by Amy Lee), Florence + the Machine (Florence Welch) and Paramore (Hayley Williams) have logged top 10s".

Lorde's EP Love Club is also racing up the US charts, preparing the ground nicely for her debut album, Pure Heroine, which will include Royals and her latest NZ hit Tennis Court.

She already has some big name Hollywood celebs raving about her talent, with Vanessa Hudgens giving her a big plug on Jimmy Fallon recently. "Not since we launched Gotye have we seen such instant reaction," veteran rock promoter Dennis Blair told Billboard.

But Lorde is staying grounded. She has no plans to be a token act, telling the Huffington Post last month: "I've seen people compare me to just about every female slightly alt female musician because people feel the need to put females with other females. I guess I understand, but I think I'm different because my music is accessible, but it's also smart and those are two things that don't often go together musically.

"I think it's probably because I'm an Internet kid. I'm watching 'Adventure Time' but I'm also reading Allen Ginsberg. I'm a mesh of references - fun and smart? I don't know where I'd put myself. I'd like to think I'm doing something different."