On early ambitions: ”I was 14 years old and ready to make an R&B album. I was like, ‘Where is that Mary J. Blige collab? Where is that Natasha Bedingfield writing session? Where is my session with India.Arie? I’m ready. Let’s go.’ I wrote this song called ’Higher,’ and the lyrics were too sexual, too mature. And my mom was like, ’This is a great song, but damn, you’re too young for this.’”
On hiding behind her Nickelodeon character: ”People liked her and they accepted her and they thought that I was like her. So I used to pretend to be a little more like her than I actually was.”
On her first single, ”Put Your Hearts Up,” tanking: "I was like, ’Guys, there has to be a really distinct difference between me and my character.’ And we did that with ’The Way.’ I dyed my hair back to brown. I made out with a rapper in the video. I made the point I wanted to make. And I was excited to do so after so many years of pretending to be somebody else in front of a lot of people."
On growing up in a Italian family: ”My grandparents were always playing cards or cooking or cursing about something, and my dad would be singing terrible, terrible Frank Sinatra karaoke, and I would always wear Halloween makeup or masks or costumes around the house.”
On being vegan: ”Coming from a strict Italian family, they thought nutrients were red meat and pasta. It was like, ’We’ve got a big day tomorrow. Be sure to have the prosciutto before you go to bed.’ It’s a commitment that I’m 100 percent dedicated to because a) of my love for animals, and b) I’m obsessed with my health because my family has a terrible history with cancer.”
On her first car accident: ”I was driving to Big Sean’s house on those windy hills in L.A. It was my first time going up those hills so I was going like 12 miles per hour. This lady was whipping around the corner, and I came to a complete stop so she bumped me really hard — the whole front of my Range Rover was wrecked. She jumped out and was like, ‘Sweetie, it’s okay, it’s totally fine. What do you do?’ I was like, ’I’m a singer.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, I think I broke my leg.’ And I was like, ’I mean, I make jewelry.’”