Indy Yelich, Lorde’s Sister, Forges Her Own Musical Path

by Hannah Jackson

A photo of Indy, bathed in purple light
Photographed by Jones Crow

At the very end of our Zoom call, Indy Yelich’s eyes widen. Her mouth slightly agape, she raises a finger. She has something really, really important to say. “I am not Carrie and I’m not anyone, I don’t think,” she says of her Sex and the City character alignment. “But I may have a bit of Carrie tendencies, and it’s very important to include that.”

As someone so enamored with the show where “the fifth main character is New York,” Yelich, who goes by the stage name Indy, is itching to get back to the city. The 23-year-old singer and poet beams in from New Zealand, where she sits before a window boasting a blue sky and palm trees. “It’s spring now, so you can be in your bikini until about 6 PM,” she says. It speaks volumes that Indy is willing to leave behind a balmy Southern Hemisphere in favor of a frigid New York—her second winter of the year.

But to Indy, New York holds that scrappy je ne sais quoi which has drawn in generations of young artists before her. She moved to the city from suburban New Zealand at 18, and credits the uprooting for helping her find her writing voice. Since her move, she’s published two books of poetry—sticky notes and Dudette—which delve into the intricacies of young womanhood. “I fell into poetry and felt that it was really natural to me, and then obviously, the next step is songwriting,” she says. “I think, as a young person, it takes a while to forge your own voice anyway.” Clearly, though, she has found it. Just last month, she released her first single “Threads,” and her chat with W coincides with the release of “Killer,” a sad, sexy, poppy-bop emblematic of Scorpio season (both her sun and rising sign lie in Scorpio, with a moon in Leo, a tempestuous mix almost fated for songwriting). In true Scorpionic fashion, Indy stays mum on details of her EP, but it can be expected in early 2023.

Though she may be new to the music industry, Indy has a very familiar face: she’s the spitting image of her older sister, Ella, who is widely known as Lorde. While the two share everything from physical features to a knack for poetic lyricism, Indy is setting out to make her own name for herself. Having an older sister to lead the way is a boon in any capacity, but it’s especially helpful to have one so dialed into the music industry. “The main message that we talked about is to forge my own path, especially with my EP, but also [write] stuff that you believe in. If you write stuff that you think other people like, it doesn't feel doesn't feel like you’re authentic,” she says. “I can only really write about the experiences I’ve been through. I owe it to myself as a creative to be sincere.”

Lorde and India Yelich at the MTV VMAs in 2017.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Like most other early twenty-somethings, Indy is trying to figure this whole adult thing out. She’s still getting a grasp on cooking, thanks to her older sister and mother’s intervention. “I mean, she teaches me how to cook!” she says of Lorde. “She makes these beautiful vegan slices for me, and one time she did frozen coconut yogurt matcha bars. She cooks it and I just eat it.” She can regularly be found haphazardly doing her makeup on her white couch—much to her roommate’s chagrin—while Gossip Girl plays in the background. (“I liked the new one, but I’m an OG girl,” she insists. “I’m a Blair person.”)

It’s kind of a bizarre thought, to imagine someone who has long existed in proximity to fame as living such a normal life. But Indy insists her upbringing demands it, singing careers and poetry collections be damned. “I have three siblings. You’ve always got to do the dishes,” she says. Many nights, she can be found sitting on the couch with her friends as they examine the Hinge accounts of New York’s most (or, oftentimes, least) eligible, over a glass of cheap white wine from Trader Joe’s. “In New York, no one cares. Literally, no one,” she says. “I have a three-block radius where I can walk around looking grotesque in my hoodie and pimple cream.” For someone who has seen fame rip off the cloak of anonymity, perhaps two buck chuck and pimple cream is heaven after all.