Most acts featured on the cover of Pollstar have logged countless miles on the road. But Ella Yelich-O’Connor – the New Zealand electro-pop singer/songwriter known as Lorde – has done only a dozen shows or so. Sometimes the buzz is too loud to ignore, touring history be damned.

Asked to explain all of the attention the 16-year-old has generated, Lorde’s agent Tom Windish simply told Pollstar, “Great songs.” He added, “‘Royals’ definitely seems to have gone viral but she’s got a whole album of stuff and an EP that’s just great.”

Photo: Carlos Castillo

Whether it’s her authentic lyrics or compelling vocals, people are listening. After posting her first EP, Love Club, last fall on Soundcloud then officially releasing it in March, “Royals” hit No. 1 in August on the U.S. alternative songs chart. The last time a solo female artist topped the chart was 1996. Lorde’s debut album, Pure Heroine, is due out this month.

Although Lorde is new to touring, she’s having no problem selling tickets. Her first two U.S. shows in August sold out – as did all the stops on her upcoming return trip to North America.

Windish was “really happy” with her U.S. debut.  

“I thought it was really, really good. I’m sure it will get better as she plays more shows and develops that, but I think she’s starting from a really strong place. I’ve worked with bands that have played the same number of shows that she has, where it took a lot longer to develop a really solid live show.” 

Photo: James K. Lowe

Windish said he’s impressed with Lorde’s vision for her career. He notes, “She wants to keep things real and grounded and she’s into doing smaller shows.” It’s a strategy he agrees with.

“I think it’s kind of weird when something brand new comes out of left field and gets really big and all of a sudden is playing the biggest room possible. I think that keeping demand for tickets … makes it kind of special. … The shows will get bigger.”

Plans for next year include a U.S. tour and festival appearances.