Introduced by Gary Oldman and backed by a band that played for Bowie for years, the 19-year-old songstress stepped onto the stage in an understated pantsuit and sang an emotional rendition of the Bowie classic that captivated the audience and marked a strong contrast to Lady Gaga’s somewhat over-the-top and highly stylized tribute at the Grammy's earlier this month.
Lorde’s performance also earned the seal of approval from David Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, who took to Twitter to express his gratitude. “Finally found the links to tonight's Brits,” he wrote. “Just... beautiful. Thank you.”
While the New Zealand–born singer earned Jones’s praise, she admitted in a Twitter post Thursday that she was in fact frightened before hitting the stage.
“I was so nervous in the wings,” she wrote. “and then I whispered to myself "just sing it to david," and nothing else mattered.”
A longtime admirer and fan of Bowie, Lorde took to her Facebook page after the news of Bowie’s passing in January, describing Bowie as a “hero” of hers, and recounting the first time she met him.
“I think in those brief moments, he heralded me into my next new life, an old rock and roll alien angel in a perfect grey suit,” Lorde wrote. “I realized everything I’d ever done, or would do from then on, would be done like maybe he was watching.”
We have little doubt Bowie was watching last night. Watch the full tribute by clicking on the above video (Lorde's performance starts at 8:38).