“I would take a twirling baton and use it as my ‘icaphone’ – that’s what I called it – and lay a towel on the floor as my stage.”

“I sort of knew that singing was something I always wanted to do, since a really young age – like singing at block parties and local things like that. People would always ask me, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up’ and, at such a young age, I would always say, ‘A successful recording artist’.”

“I couldn’t be any happier. I mean this is my ultimate love. Ever since I’ve been out of diapers, I’ve loved to sing.”

“When I was 16, along with the Transylvania event [Lilith Fair], I had a track that was a duet with a Japanese artist and it was out as a single, and I did a couple dates with him on tour, and that was the last time I was in Japan before becoming a number one artist.”

“But there were, however, times that I did feel awkward when I sang, I was this little girl with a big voice that happened to sound very soulful. So I would sometimes be fearful that someone would say something like, ‘This girl was born the wrong color’ – you know what I mean? In that sense, it was weird for me.”

“It made me want to prove that I could do this [make it to Number One], and that what I was doing wasn’t something that would be painful without satisfaction.”

“Well, I’m on my way to being the kind of success that I want to be one day. It’s taken me a long time and I’ve worked very hard. It seems like forever, even though I’m 18. I’ve worked hard and even though I’ve doubted myself, I’m happy with where I am now.”

“When I saw it in black and white a few days after my label told me about it, it didn’t even seem like my name; it was weird, surreal almost, you know? It was a total dream come true.”

“I feel like it’s all starting to happen for me. I’ve been singing since I was three years old, when I used to perform in my parent’s living room. I’ve always been attracted to showing off. It’s kinda in my blood – I need that attention. As long as I can get up on stage and perform for an audience, I’ll be happy.”

“I forget words to songs all the time. It’s funny and I cover it up by continuing on and making up lyrics.”

“I’ll keep doing it ’till it stops being fun but, I don’t think that’ll ever happen.”

“Hitting that high note, that’s what I live for. Sometimes, it’s as if I’m soaring.”

“I fell in love with technique. I learned to make your range go even farther, all these things I never knew about. I never would have been able to hit the notes I’m hitting now a couple of years ago.”

“Getting out of the limo and getting interviewed by MTV VJs with fans all around cheering – it’s the first time I actually felt like a real celebrity!”

“I’m going to be working with a lot of people. Puffy actually called me the other day to get on it, and I’d love to be working with Timbaland too, and a lot of different producers.”

“I simply love the job I’m doing.”

“I really want to make music that makes kids feel confident and secure. I’m looking forward to reaching out and touching as many fans as possible. It’s really time for something different.”

“I’m in this business because I love music, it’s been a dream of mine since I was very young and I’m not going to let people’s negativity and unkind words hurt me and make me forget why I love singing. It’s just not going to happen.”

“Vocal warm-ups are something very important to me; it’s a routine thing I’m used to so I know every step. My mind will drift and that’s my way of finding normalcy in what I do.”

“Making music period is what I like to do.”

“It’s definitely a dream come true to be recognized and to be able to sign autographs. But, it’s also a lot of hard work and can be draining. If you don’t know already, you will quickly learn who your real friends are.”

“I don’t want to be just a straight pop singer. I’m a vocalist and that’s what I want to be seen as in the long run.”

“The roughest road often leads to the top.”

“It’s been quite a roller coaster ride, but I’ve grown and learned a lot about myself…the greatest thing is being able to interact with fans and touch people’s lives…For that I give thanks.”

“The schedule is crazy – it’s all suitcases and hotel rooms and you just go nonstop. It’s a crazy lifestyle, it really is.”

“At times it really is overwhelming. I mean, the schedule alone, and the loneliness of it too. You’re living out of suitcases, hotel rooms, you know? Different city every day, and it’s tough.”

“I’m always nervous before I go on stage, but once I’m out there everything is great and it’s my favorite place to be.”

“You know, I just wanted to create my own music, write my own music, co-produce, executive produce. It is very important to me now that I’m really in control of every single thing that I do, and I want to be as experimental and ever-changing as I possibly can.”

“I’ve heard the diva rumours, they crack me up. I’m such a ‘plain Jane’ and my roots are so instilled in me that it’s not that weird to go home. I think it depends on the kind of person you are; whether you’re easily drawn to the superficial things, but that’s not who I am. People driven by the money and fame, I’ve seen how it makes them and that life means nothing to me.”

“A lot of people out there lip-sync. I think it’s really unfair to those of us that are out there doing it for real.”

“It feels amazing because I’m not much of a studio-lover; I get bored with it really fast. I love performing live, I love being on stage and feeling the energy of an audience so it’s great to be back. Also, being a little wiser and me really doing my own record this time, I’m so happy to promote it and to be back out here, doing it. I’m excited, I’m very excited! Oh my God, you don’t even know! I can’t wait to perform, it should be a blast!”

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