When Lorde and her former band Extreme played at a school talent show in 2009, the 12-year-old New Zealand girl could have never imagined that in just four years she’d be an international pop star with a hit single that would outperform songs by Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. She did, however, seem like a most unusual adolescent, opting to open with Rainbow’s 1975 classic “Man on a Silver Mountain” (written 21 years before she was born) and making sure to namecheck both Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio to an audience of children. The band ended their brief set with a cover of the Cult’s 1989 song “Edie (Ciao Baby).” They came in third.
“She just looks adorable,” says Cult frontman Ian Astbury. “Her take on my song just melts my heart. It’s so beautiful. She’s a powerful young woman, and it’s gratifying she went with that song.”
Written as a tribute to Andy Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick, the song originally appeared on the Cult’s 1989 LP Sonic Temple. “It was a vehicle to talk about myself without revealing too much,” says Astbury. “I was at a place where I didn’t want to reveal my own internal turmoil struggle, so I used a female symbol to talk about it. As a very strong feminist, Lorde picked up on the energy of that.”
Astbury has been a big fan of Lorde since he first heard her music earlier this year. “She’s writing her own songs,” he says. “There is no machine behind her. So many other artists today have a big machine behind them, but these works genuinely come out of her . . . The surprise for many Americans is that there is a world outside of the United States. Welcome. With the Internet now, we live in a global age.”