12 Jan 2016

Lorde, Brooke Fraser pay tribute to Bowie

2:12 pm on 12 January 2016

New Zealand star Lorde has written a heartfelt tribute to David Bowie, saying after meeting him she was able to be proud of her 'strangeness'.

Lorde and David Bowie

Lorde met David Bowie when she was 16. Photo: AFP

News of the legendary musician's death yesterday from cancer, at the age of 69, prompted a wave of tributes from friends and fellow musicians, fans and politicians.

He released his latest album Blackstar on his birthday on Friday.

Lorde, who has topped charts around the world, said it felt "kind of garish" to talk about herself at a time when what had happened was "so distinctly world-sized".

"But everything I've read or seen since the news has been deeply intrinsic in tone, almost selfish, like therapy. That's who he was to all of us. He was a piece of bright pleated silk we could stretch out or fold up small inside ourselves when we needed to."

The pop star wrote on her Facebook page of meeting Bowie at a benefit in the United States honouring Tilda Swinton.

"I was not quite seventeen, America was very new to me, and I was distinctly uneasy and distrustful toward everything happening in my life that was putting me in these flat-voiced, narrow-eyed, champagne-ish rooms.

"I've never met a hero of mine and liked it. It just sucks, the pressure is too huge, you can't enjoy it."

But Bowie was different.

"I realized everything I'd ever done, or would do from then on, would be done like maybe he was watching. I realized I was proud of my spiky strangeness because he had been proud of his. And I know I'm never going to stop learning dances, brand new dances."

Meanwhile, fellow New Zealander James Malcolm has described appearing alongside Bowie in the film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence as a euphoric moment in his life.

Malcolm was 10 when he played the role of David Bowie's younger brother in 1981's Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, which dealt with a British soldier in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

He said sharing the stage with Bowie was tantamount to meeting a musical god.

"I got to sing in the movie, I got to sing to David Bowie which was pretty awesome. Not a lot of people can say that," he said.

Malcolm said the superstar was genuine, and that was evident in 1983 at Bowie's Western Springs concert to support the album Lets Dance.

"I got backstage tickets and he asked me to come on stage with him, and he introduced me as his New Zealand brother to the crowd.

"We threw a dove on to the stage as a sign of peace."

Another New Zealand star, Brooke Fraser, also paid tribute to Bowie. The singer recalled supporting Bowie in New Zealand on his 2004 Reality tour.

"After my soundcheck at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, I had wandered out into the middle of the field, taking in the 35,000 empty seats and the gravity of the occasion when all of a sudden I had a sense someone was behind me," Fraser wrote on her Facebook page.

"Turning, I saw David Bowie walking toward me. No minder, no entourage, just one of the great musical pioneers of our time approaching me with a warm, welcoming grin.

"He introduced himself and proceeded to give me some really specific feedback and encouragement.

"I certainly didn't expect him to be aware of who his support act was, let alone to have hand picked me himself, to have watched me in interviews and taken the time to listen to my record, and have nice things to say to me about it.

"Our interaction was brief but so impacting for me."

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