After launching her career into the stratosphere with her global hit "Royals" and its accompanying album Pure Heroine at 16 years old, Lorde dialed back on her music to focus on the rest of her formative teenage years.
Now, after a very long hiatus, the New Zealand artist (born Ella Yelich-O'Connor) returned to the music scene as a 20-year-old with long-awaited material inspired by major life changes. On Lorde's comeback single "Green Light" -- which is her first release since Disclosure's "Magnets" in 2015 -- she partnered with Jack Antonoff of Bleachers/fun. to create a rare kiss-off track swathed with uptempo piano arrangements and synth-pop beats.
"I did the classic: Went through a breakup, I cut all my hair off, I moved out of home, and all of a sudden I had all of this stuff to talk about," Lorde told On Air with Ryan Seacrest on Thursday about the inspiration behind her comeback and forthcoming record, Melodrama, out on June 16.
Lorde is also stoking excitement for the sophomore record with the release of "Liability," a somber, piano-driven ballad about the negative effects of her fame on personal relationships and friendships. "Obviously I'm somewhat of a famous person, and there can be things that happen to the people around you that make it hard to be friends with you and want to be close with you," she explained, "and you feel like, 'Am I just the biggest punish to be friends with or to know?'"
Aside from citing personal experiences and turning them into catchy hooks and melodies, another ingredient in Lorde's secret sauce to songwriting is her sound-to-color synesthesia. In layman's term, she sees certain notes and sounds as different colors. For Melodrama, she devised a color-coding process where different notes for songs were represented by different colors and hues, which she shuffled around on her kitchen table and wall until she was able to map out the whole album.
"A lot of sounds and a lot of words have some sort of visual counterparts or textual counterparts. So a lot of color, a lot of texture, especially with music but with words, generally," she said. "So making music is very visual for me. I can see it. Sometimes it can be really overwhelming color-wise, and we'll have to sort of dial it back through the music."
Lorde will continue to promote her forthcoming Melodrama project at Weekend 2 of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival this Sunday. During Weekend 1, she surprised the crowd with another track off the album called "Homemade Dynamite."
"It is hard when people have never heard a song before, but I definitely felt like the response was super good to the new stuff which is nice," she said of last Sunday's surprise performance. "It all definitely does work really well in the live context, which was like definitely a consideration for this record."
You can purchase "Green Light" and "Liability" on iTunes here.