David Knight - 9th Oct 2013

It's threatening to become one of the songs of the year, and it already holds the distinction of bouncing Wrecking Ball from the top spot on the American Billboard chart. But before that all happened, Lorde – aka 16 year old prodigy Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor – got together with Joel Kefall of Special Problems to make the video, and document and dramatise the special (and not so special) moments of teenage life in their native New Zealand.

With Royals, the 16 year old singer-songwriter expresses what modern teenage life means right now. The video captures that sense, through a wide-ranging series of vignettes, with an unvarnished honesty. Long may the girl keep that feeling, and make a few more videos like this... 

Joel Kefali: The intention with Royals wasn’t to tell a story that went from A to B but to capture a mood, capture a particular (sometimes ignored) slice of teenage life. To achieve this, Ella and I spent a lot of time trading stories of what it is like to be a teenager in Auckland – mine reminiscent, her’s current. Those conversations informed a lot of the content in the video.

"There seemed to be a lot of anticipation around Lorde and it felt like this was the only time we would really get to make a video like this, unaffected by the expectation of a record label and fans – so it really was just Ella and me figuring it out for ourselves. The lyrics allude to dreams of riches while being faced with the mundane reality of not having riches, I think some fans were frustrated we focused on the reality and not so much on the dream.

"Shooting several days in various locations on two different formats on a very tight budget, I guess the whole production was a challenge in a way. We kept the crew very small, which allowed us the time to shoot the way we did.

"The talent were non actors. It was their first time on camera, so to avoid any self-consciousness that may have come with inexperience we shot in a way that would avoid them being conscious of the camera. That was crucial in helping us achieve natural action and reaction."

PRO Credits


DirectorJoel Kefali
ProducerAmber Easby
Production CompanySweetshop
Director of PhotographyAndrew Stroud
EditorJoel Kefali
Post production companyMany VFX
Director's RepresentationLock It In
VFXMat Ellin
Post production companyBeryl

David Knight - 9th Oct 2013

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