“You could always just tell that every time she played, she connected with people,” says Crane. “I’ve seen it work in Japan, and I’ve seen it work in South America, even when they don’t understand what she’s saying.”
She brings that same raw honesty to Twitter (“Too scared to close my eyes cos I keep having nightmares”), which, she says, has helped her become a more direct lyricist. Still, says Wonderland, “Social media doesn’t help mental health. It’s like, the worst thing ever, because it’s everybody’s highlight reel.” Online and in her music, Wonderland is unflinchingly honest about her own mental health struggles. (“Walked into the bathroom just so I could cry/Wish I knew why,” she sings on “Easy.”) She pulls back the sleeve of her hoodie to reveal a silver watch -- the one expensive thing she has bought herself since hitting it big. She wears it in an effort to look at her phone less.
The relentless schedule of a dance artist also weighs on Wonderland. “It’s so intense on the road,” she says. “You’re playing to tens of thousands of people for an hour and everyone’s with you. There’s this kinetic energy I can’t explain. Then I get offstage, and I’m in a fucking room alone, and there’s silence, and none of my loved ones are there. No one is giving me a hug. It’s two extremes, and that is not good for humans. It’s something I feel has almost killed me a few times, for real.” (Wonderland has long been candid about her suicide attempt in the wake of an emotionally abusive relationship.)
But that intensity also drives Wonderland’s prodigious creativity. She only does collaborations in person, with people she vibes with, often after having long conversations about their lives. “Honestly, being a female behind the producing desk kind of brings something out of males,” she says, recalling a session with Chief Keef that kicked off with her hugging him and confessing how nervous she was for them to work together. That session was supposed to last 30 minutes; it turned into five hours.
And therein lies the core of Wonderland’s success: Whether she’s in the studio with a star, playing to tens of thousands of fans, or alone with her pen and struggling to keep it together, she doesn’t know how to give less than everything. “Maybe the best and the worst thing about me,” she says, “is that I can’t hide how I feel.”