Lorde – What Makes Her A Pop Star?

Lisa Witt  /  UPDATED Mar 4, 2022

Surprise, it’s her voice!

Lorde is one of a kind.

Breaking onto the global music scene at just 16, she immediately cemented herself as a true artist. Her voice is instantly recognizable and the best word we can use to describe it is intriguing!

But it would be all too easy to hear her and think, “I could never do that!”

And that’s what this lesson is all about.

Today we’ll take a look at 3 or Lorde’s biggest hits, and unpack the exact techniques she uses to create such incredible performances. And we’ll start at the beginning:


“Royals” speaks of the disconnect between the experience of everyday life and what was portrayed in pop songs and music videos.

Vocally, what stands out the most are the layered harmonies, which were pretty unique at the time (2013). They’ve definitely become a key feature of Lorde’s style though.

In terms of technique, she uses quite a bit of “vocal fry”, which is where you hear a slight cracking in the voice. It’s intentional and adds a slight percussive element to the phrase. It’s more dramatic.

Vocal fry can be practiced anywhere, but it’s more noticeable with a microphone.

Lorde also adds a little bit of vibrato at the end of several phrases. Both techniques you can add to your repertoire.

“Green Light”

“Green Light” is the next hit we’ll look at, and the first thing that stands out it how intensely connected Lorde’s voice is to the lyrics.

These are angry lyrics, and she sounds angry as she sings them. This is SO important, as it goes a long way towards creating a compelling and “truthful” performance.

The words matter.

In terms of technique, Lorde uses a type of “talk-singing” to create that emotion. Especially with the words:

“You’re such a damn liar.”

Another technique that really stands out is her use of breath. Lorde is NOT allowing a lot of air out, and that allows for the vocal fry we mentioned earlier.

Later in the song, she matches her voice with an octave higher harmony (an octave is the same note but higher up the register). She also uses super-rhymic vocals. It’s so unique.

When you’re singing, you can take artistic liberties with how you deliver the phrases.

Go for it!

“Solar Power”

“Solar Power” is the last song we’ll look at.

What we love about this piece is that it ties in everything we’ve already covered. Straight away we see the broken rhymic phrasing, complete with vocal fry. And do you notice the harmony?

It’s an octave higher again!

Lorde also uses her “talk-singing” style to create something unique and not commonly heard in popular music.

So what does this mean for you?

Lorde is unique. And the goal for any singer is not to sound like someone else, but to reveal your true voice. So while you shouldn’t try to sound “like” Lorde, you can learn from her.

Take a close listen to what we’ve highlighted today, and try to practice them for yourself.

Put a bit of vocal fry in a song…

Maybe even try “talk-singing”, and experiment with rhythms.

As always, happy singing!