Teenage music sensation Lorde has captured the world - with a song made to be given away.
Ella Yelich-O'Connor, 17, won two Grammy awards - for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year, becoming the first New Zealander to take those awards and the youngest Kiwi to win at the music industry's most prestigious awards.
The irony of Lorde's anti- glitterati lyrics in Royals was not lost as she rubbed shoulders with the world's biggest names in music at the 56th Grammys in front of an estimated worldwide audience of 30 million.
Grammy Awards host LL Cool J introduced the teen from the North Shore, as a "global sensation" before she appeared on a dimly lit stage to perform her smash hit as the second act of the ceremony.
However, her industry freshness remained obvious as she broke into giggles during her first acceptance speech, and could not get off the stage fast enough during the second.
She appeared overwhelmed as she stepped onto the stage to accept the award for best pop solo performance, shyly greeting the thousands of music industry professionals in the audience with "Well, hello".
"This is the one thing that I did not expect the most tonight, so thank you so much," she said.
Lorde paid tribute to her fellow nominees in the category, Bruno Mars, Sara Bareilles, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake, and said their work had inspired her.
Royals co-writer and producer Joel Little, who shared the song of the year Grammy, described the win as "intense", and said it was a "complete honour".
"I just want to say, we made this song originally just to give away for free and to be here now in this room with so many legends and people who we all admire is a complete honour, so thank you for that."
Lorde took to the microphone and said she would "forever owe" Little, who had nurtured her through her early songwriting years.
"Thank you to everyone who has let this song explode, because it's been mental," the Kiwi performer said.
Royals beat Pink and Nate Ruess' Just Give Me A Reason, Bruno Mars' Locked Out Of Heaven, Katy Perry's Roar, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Same Love to win the coveted award.
Lorde was denied a Grammy in two other categories: record of the year and best pop vocal album.
Daft Punk's Get Lucky won album of the year and best pop vocal album went to Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox.
Phil Howling, general manager of 2013 Grammy winner Kimbra's label Warner Music New Zealand, said Grammy wins led to increased sales and bigger live audiences.
Lorde and her co-producer, Joel Little, were congratulated by Prime Minister John Key.
"This Grammy success underlines a fantastic year for Lorde and Joel Little. They have achieved something no other New Zealander has."
LORDE'S WIN GREAT FOR NATION
Tall poppies are regularly hacked down to size in New Zealand, but Lorde's Grammy wins are to be celebrated. What a mighty achievement.
As winner of the Grammy for Best Song, she has her name etched instantly alongside the likes of Michael Jackson and Carole King.
At St Jerome's Laneway Festival in Auckland yesterday the word quickly spread among partygoers: "She has won best song."
Double Grammy winner Lorde, aka Ella Yelich-O'Connor, was to have played Laneway before she and producer Joel Little got the call up to attend the 56th Grammy Awards where Lorde was a nominee in four categories.
Pure Heroine is her debut album, and it'll be difficult for Lorde to top.
But isn't it wonderful to think a young girl in New Zealand can make a song, give it away for free and end up a multiple Grammy winner?
It is also to be hoped that Lorde's accolades will make the wider music world turn its gaze towards New Zealand and the wealth of music talent here, which is richly deserving of a bigger audience.
If Lorde's win serves to share the spotlight with other gifted Kiwis, we will all be better for it.
One anonymous Kiwi music veteran commented yesterday: "Many of us have tried to conquer the United States and come home with the tail between our legs. I never thought I'd be asking a teenager from the North Shore to be lifting us all up with her, but that's the crazy world of pop music."
Tomorrow, Lorde returns home as a multiple Grammy winner, not just a household name.
- The Press
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