“Royals” singer Lorde appeared at the Brit Awards to pay tribute to singer David Bowie, delivering an acclaimed version of Bowie’s song “Life on Mars?”
Lorde performed at the Feb. 24 ceremony, which celebrates the best in British music. Singer Adele did particularly well at the Brits, receiving the award for British album of the year for her work “25” and the British female solo artist award, among others.
Meanwhile, Lorde’s performance received critical praise.
Entertainment Weekly writer Eric Renner Brown called the segment “rousing,” while Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos wrote that it was “moving… a faithful cover… the audience gave her a standing ovation.”
Singer Annie Lennox and actor Gary Oldman spoke about Bowie as part of the remembrance.
“I suspect that everyone is trying to process this event,” Lennox said during the ceremony. “Even if they didn't know him personally, many people feel like things will never be the same again… Everything he represented as an artist will always be vital and incredibly present.”
Bowie's son Duncan Jones tweeted about Lorde's performance, writing, "Just... beautiful. Thank you."
Bowie himself was quite familiar with the music of Lorde, with Lorde saying that at one point that Bowie stated hearing her work “felt like listening to tomorrow.”
She rose to fame after Universal Music Group saw a video of Lorde and another musician, Louis McDonald, performing. She released her first and to date only album, “Pure Heroine,” in 2013 and became the youngest artist since 1987 to have a song – her track “Royals” – become a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Lorde was 16 at the time.
Her album “Heroine” was largely well-received by critics.
“It’s a complex and stirring account of youth and its trappings,” Boston Globe writer James Reed wrote of the album. “[Ella] Yelich-O’Connor [Lorde’s original name] is, first and foremost, an astute songwriter, a keen observer of desolation and relationships… This is the rare debut that’s smart and disarming and instantly catchy.”
A.V. Club writer Kevin McFarland gave the album a B+, writing, “ 'Pure Heroine' is a scattered, but preternaturally gifted album… some of the catchiest songs of the year… Yelich-O’Connor’s voice is the alpha and omega of her talent. She has the presence and vocal development of singers more than twice her age… It’s hard to pick what’s best on Pure Heroine: the pristine and forceful production, Yelich-O’Connor’s voice, or her cheeky-yet-purposeful lyrics. That all three of those elements are so strong indicates Lorde’s promise.”