Her real name is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor. She told The Guardian why she chose Lorde as her stage name (The 'e' is pronounced silently): "I wanted an aristocratic title, but I wanted it to look feminine, like, aesthetically."
Lorde's mother, Sonja Yelich, is an award-winning poet who has been included in the Best New Zealand Poems anthology series several times.
Before writing songs, Lorde wrote fiction. She wrote her first story aged 11 when her dog fell off her balcony and accidentally hanged itself.
Friends at school nick-named Yelich-O'Connor "Dusty" or "Casper." Why? "Because I'm real white," she revealed to radio host Smallzy on NovaFM.
Lorde was discovered when Universal Music NZ A&R Scott Maclachlan, saw a video of her performing Duffy's "Warwick Avenue
" at a Belmont Intermediate School talent show when she was 12. She was signed on a development deal by the label after turning 13 – "so young I didn't really feel like it was that much of a big deal."
In December 2011, MacLachlan paired Lorde with former lead singer of the pop-punk group Goodnight Nurse, Joel Little. They penned the teenager's breakthrough song "Royals
" during her school holidays.
Lorde has been obsessed with royalty since a young age, telling Vice, "I've always been into that stuff since I was a little kid. I used to write out all their family trees and everything!"
When "Royals" reached #1 on the Hot 100, Lorde was 16 years and 11 months old, making her the youngest solo artist to write and perform a US chart-topper.
Lorde curated the soundtrack album for the 2014 film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and contributed vocals to several of its songs. Speaking about her overseeing of the soundtrack to Rolling Stone, she said: "Everyone my age read the books and saw the films. I got a call: 'You've been asked to write the end-credit song.' But I wanted ownership in the process. They came back: 'Would you like to do the soundtrack?' I was like, 'Uh, that would work.'"
Asked by Billboard magazine what her non-musical hobbies are, Lorde replied: "I'm surrounded by the beach, so I love to fish and to dive and to swim. I walk a lot, and I bike around. I hang out at the beach, really, and muck around."
Lorde revealed to Look magazine that she refuses to give her fans a nickname like Justin Bieber's Beliebers: "I find it grating to lump everyone into a really awkward, pun-centric name," she said. "People joke about it on Twitter, 'You should call us The Disciples'. Never!"
Lorde added that she has actually "discouraged" her fans from using a name for themselves. "I have discouraged it. I've tweeted multiple times, 'No fan name, I do not condone this'."
Asked by Time Out if she finds it annoying that people think she's this miserable witchy goth who never smiles, Lorde replied: "I find it really funny because I definitely cultivate it. I don't think I look good smiling, so I don't smile in photos."
Lorde was in a pre-teen rock band
at school, an experience she is not proud of.
"Because I started all of this when I was like 14, 15 so I didn't have a lot of gig history before that," she told Radio X. "But I was in a band when I was like at school called Extreme. It was a rock band."
Lorde continued: "We were the 12 year old version of Extreme. There were a lot of bad moves. There was a lot of getting people to clap. I distinctly remember thinking 'I am not cool in this moment. This is not a cool year for me.'"
Lorde is a big fan of onion rings to the extent that she was behind an anonymous Instagram account featuring ratings of the deep fried appetizer from around the world. The singer told Jimmy Fallon she considers onion rings to be much underrated. "I don't think they get enough credit for how delicious they are," the New Zealand songstress said.
Speaking to Canada's Fashion magazine in 2017, Lorde explained how she writes songs despite not playing any musical instruments.
"I'm hyper-musical, but I don't really play anything," she admitted. "I write the songs with different chords because I know exactly what I want chord-wise, and then I sing out the chords. I'm very musical, just not in the traditional way, I guess."
Lorde has synaesthesia, a neurological condition she shares with Coldplay's Chris Martin, Pharrell and John Mayer that can make her see sounds as colors.
She has Croatian citizenship thanks to her mum Sonja Yelich's family, who immigrated to New Zealand from Dalmatia. "There's 100,000 Dalmatian, Croatian Yugoslav people in New Zealand," Lorde told Marc Maron for his WTF podcast. "I have Croatian citizenship. I got that for being a fancy famous Croatian. They hooked me up, so to speak."