Singer-songwriter Lorde has released a mini-album in te reo Māori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Per the Guardian, the album, titled Te Ao Mārama (which translates to “world of light”), features a re-recording of five tracks from the New Zealand singer’s Solar Power album, which was released on August 20 this year.
During an interview with independent New Zealand magazine The Spinoff, Lorde, whose off-stage name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, described the mini-album as “powerful,” adding that the project is the “starting point” of a journey. “It’s kind of scary to start any journey, but I guess that’s my thing; I am at the very beginning, and this project is a starting point,” the singer said.
Opening up further about the album’s creative process, the “Royals” hitmaker discussed how she doesn’t speak the te reo Māori language herself, and worked alongside translators as well as Māori singer Hinewehi Mohi when recording the album.
“It felt really big when we were doing it … It was really emotional. I’d never had any writing or recording experience like it.” She continued, “I think the most important thing is to do these kinds of projects with integrity. As we break down all those fears that people might have, then we’ll get an amazing perspective of ourselves and how we fit into the world, and you won’t see any more placards saying ‘stop ramming Māori down our throats.’ Eventually.”
Proceeds of the Te Ao Mārama album sales will be donated to two New Zealand-based charities, the Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust and Forest & Bird.
News of the singer’s latest release arrives just days after it was announced she could no longer perform at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards line-up.
Confirming the news on Friday, Sept. 3, the official MTV VMA account tweeted, “Due to a change in production elements, Lorde can no longer perform at this year’s show. We love Lorde and cannot wait for her to perform on the VMA stage in the future!”
Per Metro, the “Tennis Court” performer later addressed her withdrawal from the 2021 ceremony, reassuring fans that she is “totally fine” and revealing that the show’s “very necessary” safety protocols meant she wouldn’t be able to carry out the performance she had “dreamed” of.