Zendaya. She has been an idol for me since I was super young. And it’s funny because usually your inspirations and idols change as you grow up, but the older I get the more respect I have for her. I watch her interviews, movies and projects all the time and I feel like she’s so invested in her art. The biggest thing that inspires me as an 18-year-old is how she presents herself. She’s one of the most educated, classy and admirable individuals.
What’s the biggest misconception about being a teen in this industry?
That we are so clueless and we’re going to say yes to everything. I feel like people think they can convince me way easier than they actually can. I’m super stubborn and also very opinionated at my age, and I feel like I can read through people so easily when they try to spitball me random information that clearly isn’t going to win me over, but they really think it’s going to. Our generation is way smarter than people think — people underestimate that.
What’s the most adult decision you’ve made since turning 18 this summer?
When I moved into my apartment and started writing my album, which I’m in the process of now, I realized everything is in my hands, and that’s terrifying. I was like, “I’m out of high school, I’m out of my family’s house, and I have no one around me to ask for a second opinion.” It was the first time where I was like, “Wow, I’m doing this on my own.”
CONTRIBUTORS: Katie Bain, Griselda Flores, Josh Glicksman, Lyndsey Havens, Carl Lamarre, Jason Lipshutz, Joe Lynch, Heran Mamo, Taylor Mims, Jessica Nicholson, Jessica Roiz, Neena Rouhani, Andrew Unterberger, Christine Werthman
METHODOLOGY: A committee of Billboard editors and reporters weighed a variety of factors in determining the 2021 21 Under 21 list, including, but not limited to, impact on consumer behavior, measured by metrics such as album and track sales, streaming volume (listed here as each artist’s career global total to date), social media impressions and radio/TV audiences reached; career trajectory; and overall impact in the industry, specifically during the past 12 months. Where required, record-label market share was consulted using MRC Data market share for album plus track-equivalent and stream-equivalent album consumption units. Unless otherwise noted, MRC Data is the source for sales/streaming data.