New Zealander of the Year Finalist 2013: Ella Yelich-O'Connor/Lorde

By Alan Perrott

Whether it be a Man Booker Prize-winning novel or a Grammy-nominated song or work in offices and on golf courses, sportsfields and basketball courts afar, the talent of young New Zealanders has featured regularly in global headlines. So this year's Herald New Zealander of the Year awards take on a new theme - under-30s. This week we're profiling ten finalists and will announce the winner(s) in the Weekend Herald on Saturday.

In less than a year, Lorde has gone from a Year 12 student at Auckland's Takapuna Grammar to a global pop star.

The Kiwi's single Royals spent nine weeks at the top of the US Billboard chart, with close to eight million sales and going platinum in mid-October. It was also number one in Australia, Britain, Belgium, Canada, Ireland and, naturally, here in New Zealand.

And, even though she probably never has to work another day in her life, Lorde has no intention of resting on her laurels.

"That's just mental, isn't it? It's the craziest thing to think about, the possibilities ... I'm just so lucky that I now have a platform to do whatever I want to do ... and it feels good. I'm so glad I stuck to my guns."

However, the Belmont Intermediate old girl is well aware that becoming an industry mainstay is no easy feat.

"I'm super conscious of not resting on the success of one song and one album," she said. "I feel so inspired, what with all the travelling and learning I've done in the last six months."

To put things into perspective, Royals was released only in March, while its album, Pure Heroine, came out less than three months ago. In such a short space of time, Lorde - real name Ella Yelich-O'Connor - has rocketed to stardom.

Lumped together, she has sold more music this year than New Zealand, as a single, 4.2 million-headed consumer, has bought.

She's performed on a host of US daytime and late-night talk shows, including Ellen and the Late Show with David Letterman.

She also performed for, and then met, David Bowie and actress Tilda Swinton in New York, while also hanging out with Taylor Swift in Central Park.

Now, to top things off, she's in the running for four Grammy awards. Royals has been nominated for three awards - record of the year, song of the year and pop solo performance - while Pure Heroine is up for best pop vocal album.

- NZ Herald

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