For a Grammy nominee who isn’t performing at the Grammys, Lorde is certainly owning Grammy Week.
On Wednesday night she performed with Jack Antonoff at his fourth annual Ally Coalition benefit at New York’s Town Hall, where they played four songs: a sublime cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me,” an amusing one of Roy Orbison’s “You Got It,” and two from her 2017 sophomore set “Melodrama,” which happens to be nominated for the big prize, Grammy Album of the Year. (Antonoff also shouted down a heckler who criticized Lorde’s decision to cancel a concert in Israel over the country’s policies toward Palestinians, but that’s a different story.) On Thursday she attended an A-list birthday party for new Columbia chief Ron Perry (who A&R’ed “Melodrama”) with manager Jonathan Daniel. And on Friday night she absolutely slayed “Silver Springs” — a Stevie Nicks song that, incredibly, was left off of “Rumors” due to space considerations — at the MusiCares tribute to Fleetwood Mac, bringing an intense physicality to the verses that contrasts with but also compliments Nicks’ sweeter, folkier take on the original.
It’s left many wondering why a charismatic young Grammy Album of the Year nominee who’s in town and has performed two out of the last three nights isn’t performing on the show. Sources close to the situation tell Variety that the Grammys approached Lorde about performing with other artists but not solo; one source says it was part of a tribute to the late Tom Petty involving his song “American Girl” (which would have been an odd fit for the New Zealand-born singer). Lorde declined.
That source added that the other Album of the Year contenders — all of whom are male — were offered solo spots performing songs from their respective nominated albums.
Last week Lorde’s mother, Sonja Yelich, tweeted a photo of a section of a New York Times article with the caption “this says it all”; the section reads: “Of the 899 people to be nominated for Grammy awards in the past six years, only nine per cent were women.”
Lorde was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 2014 and won two — Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance — for her breakthrough song “Royals,” which she performed on the show that year (solo, with her band). She was 17 years old at the time.
Reps for the Grammys and Lorde did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.