Grammy-winning Kiwi singer Lorde has revealed she felt both "innocent and free" and "a little feral" when she first saw the racy artwork for her comeback album, Solar Power.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, Lorde has spoken of the artwork which was the cause of huge debate among her fans around the world.
She also touched on her ongoing grief over the death of her beloved dog which delayed work on her latest and third album, and how the steps she had to take after becoming "very addicted" to social media.
The merits of her new music are not the only thing which have been debated over the past month; so too has the album cover, which features a risque shot of Lorde walking along a beach wearing a bikini.
The photo was taken by a friend of Lorde's, and the chart-topper told the Guardian: "When I first saw it I was like, oooh".
"It felt innocent and free, a little feral, a little spicy."
It also went with the theme of the album, which Lorde described as "this feeling of the clothes coming off and the skin being exposed and feeling this playfulness".
As her fans lap up her return after several years away from the music scene, Lorde said since she had been about 16 she had been "the master of my own universe. Which is a very unusual experience".
With two hit albums, a string of big-selling singles and two Grammy Awards under her belt, the 24-year-old is again soaring in the charts around the globe after the recent release of the single Solar Power, the first song from the pending album of the same name.
And she says she feels she is "only just not scratching the surface of my powers, which is a very exciting feeling".
The recording of release of her latest album had been delayed after her much-loved dog, Pearl, in late 2019.
At the time, she wrote in a message to fans that she had "lost my boy, and I need some time to see the good again".
The dog died in her arms after battling ill health.
Talking to the Guardian, Lorde described Pearl as her "ultimate tour guide".
His presence had helped her when she was learning to write a song on the piano for the first time.
"To feel this energy that was not being generated by me was really profound," she said.
"I could have the worst workday ever, but you come home and this being is pleased to see you. You've done that right for another day, you know?"
Lorde revealed the depths of some of her ongoing grief after Pearl's death, including that she has not been able to return to the park where they once walked.
"Grief is a really transformative force," she said. "I'd never experienced it fully like that, and it makes you question everything. It overturns a lot."
Grief isn't the only thing Lorde has endured recently. So too was an addiction to her social media, she revealed.
Previously a wide user and consumer of social media, Lorde said she had now transformed her phone to a "dumbphone" – where colours are removed from the home screen to make it less appealing to look at – in a bid to slash screen time.
"I think it was altering my neutral pathways and homogenising my trains of thought," she told the Guardian of her constant monitoring of social media.
"I was losing touch with my ability to explore an idea at my own pace, which felt like losing my free will at times. I was very addicted.
"To be able to put that aside has put me into such a position of power and fertility and creativity and confidence."
This week Lorde announced a string of concert dates in New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada, Sapin, Holland, Switzerland, Italy Germany and the UK.
Lorde's tickets to gigs announced in the northern hemisphere are selling fast.
Two concerts in London set for June 22 have sold out within minutes of going on sale.
The tour begins in Christchurch on February 26. The sixth and final New Zealand show will be on March 5 at Western Springs' outer fields, before she crosses the Tasman.
• Tickets for the New Zealand shows go on sale on Monday, July 5, and eager fans can snap up presale tickets on Monday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 30.