Lorde has been the source of much speculation since debuting on the international music scene in 2012. When she released “Royals”, it became a global hit. And Lorde became pop music’s most unlikely star. With her ghostly vocals and mass of black, curly hair, she evoked an eerie maturity that belied her years. Then, she was just a teenager. Rumors circulated that she was much older than she claimed. Others suggested she wasn’t writing her own music. In 2015, people accused her of lip syncing during a performance on SNL. But one rumor that’s seemed to dog her career is one claiming she’s transgender.
On the surface, it seems like a mean-spirited attempt to discredit her, taking the approach that it’s not okay to be trans. But digging deeper, it seems the rumor was somewhat started by the star herself.
Lorde was hilariously spoofed in a 2014 episode of South Park. In the episode, she was positioned as a 45-year-old Colorado geologist. There was also a storyline about how Lorde was an alter ego created by one of the South Park boys’ dads. The young singer praised the show for its humor and posted several times on Instagram about how much she loved it.
One of those posts set off a firestorm of speculation.
“This is actually surprisingly cute—and from what I can tell also has a message of transgender acceptance (I’m still very new to this type of humor so I’m not sure if was actually genuine but it seemed so to me),” she said.
At face value, it’s simply an acknowledgment of the show’s fun take on trans rights. But many fans and gossip columnists thought she was praising that aspect of the episode because she was transgender.
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The controversy was just one in a long list of mysteries swirling around the singer. But it turns out this is all just a bunch of hoopla.
In 2014, Lorde’s birth certificate started circulating on the web in an effort to dispel the rumors about her age. According to that birth certificate, she was born female on November 7, 1996, as Ella Marija Lani. Medium publication The Hairpin purchased a copy of the document directly from the New Zealand registrar for less than $20.
That certificate put to rest a ton of issues including her gender and age. It turns out her origin story wasn’t all that controversial. She was born just as she is now a woman.
Singers with mystique seem to generate controversy without trying. In modern times where fans demand access to everything, those celebs who choose to keep their lives private often end up at the center of vicious rumor mills. However, it seems the biggest mystery about Lorde at the moment has nothing to do with her gender identity or her age. It’s about her music.
The singer is signed on for a string of tour dates later this year and promises that new music is on the way in 2017. The only question left to ask is if the new music will be any good.