David Bowie forever had his finger on the pulse and could smell where the future was heading ahead of everybody else. Before his death, he made a prognosis about who the next star of music would be, and once again, Bowie showed his mystical touch.
Truthfully, some eyebrows were raised when organisers announced that Lorde would be leading the tribute to Bowie at the Brit Awards in 2016. However, the singer would prove her doubters wrong with a wondrous rendition of ‘Life On Mars’. On the night, the group she fronted featured close associates who had been by the side of ‘The Starman’ throughout his career, including keyboardist Mike Garson, who Bowie had confided in when revealing his love for Lorde.
At the time, Lorde was only 19, with just one full length album to her name. The week before her performance, Lady Gaga had delivered an underwhelming David Bowie megamix at the Grammy’s, and people were expecting the New Zealander to follow suit. Fortunately, she blew the roof off the O2 Arena, and Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, was elated at the justice she did to his father’s work. He tweeted, “Just … beautiful. Thank you” in the immediate aftermath.
It later emerged that the Brit Awards consulted Bowie’s family members when planning the tribute, and they suggested Lorde would be an ideal fit. Unlike the Grammy’s, who decided to enlist the biggest achievable name, they went with someone the late singer believed was “the future music”.
After the event, Garson took to Periscope and told fans, “David really liked Lorde, and he felt like she was the future of music, and they had a few wonderful moments together”.
He continued, “She was the perfect choice. Some of David’s family members and David’s management had some suggestions she’d be the right one. They wanted to bring the next generation in”.
The evening had a profound impact on Lorde, too. When she accepted the invitation to appear at the ceremony, she was midway through recording her second album, Melodrama, and Bowie then unwittingly became a shining influence on the record.
“I feel like the whole time spent writing this record, I’ve had him [David Bowie] in my thoughts, I’ve had him in my heart,” Lorde told Radio 1 in 2017. “It’s hard not to make something and not think, ‘What would David think of this? If I could play it to him, what would he say?'” she added.
In the years since Bowie’s death, Lorde has continued to make his prophecy on her career come to fruition, as she asserts herself as one of the world’s premier pop stars. Much like ‘The Starman’, she has reached this feat on her own terms and expresses unflinching originality every step of the way.