Lorde has been outed as a rule breaker, a fashion rebel and a home-town hero in a worldwide news documentary tracing the chart-toppers early days.

The singer is the topic of a CNN International special, which was filmed in Auckland a week after her double Grammy Award win. It will screen in more than 200 countries.

Executive editor for CNN International Features Neil Curry travelled from London to cover the documentary item, talking to the singer's school friends, former band mates and teachers, and it is clear the Takapuna community is proud of their most famous export.

"I think we are all inspired, we are overjoyed. This is like having a Michael Jackson amongst us," Lorde's former music teacher, Jenny Bezuidenhout, told CNN.


Her intermediate school rock band manager, Leon Jacobs, was among those interviewed. He described the teen as intelligent and insightful and that even at a young age, "there was just no doubt she loved performing".

And according to her school mates, despite all the attention, the 17-year-old is still the same.

"If I was friends with Beyonce and Taylor Swift, I'd stop caring about my other friends," said Albert Cho. "The last time I talked to her was last night and she was so cool and exactly the same, which was actually very pleasing."

But it seems Lorde wasn't always the perfect pupil. Takapuna Grammar acting principal Bryan Wynn recalled the edgy, rule-breaking fashion choices of the singer, who is still technically enrolled at the high school.

"Ella was always a little bit different. She would like to wear her Doc Martens to school. It was really just with a gentle reminder, she'd give you a smile and she'd take it on board."

CNN said people were interested in Lorde's story.

"She's very popular overseas and we just wanted to do something that would go back to where it all started - what school she went to and where she grew up," Curry said.

"And it all started here, at Belmont Intermediate. It's an item that shows the background of her story, where she's come from and the people behind Ella's success."


Lorde will perform with Disclosure at the Brit Awards in London on February 20.

- nzherald.co.nz