Welcome to #TBT Mixtape, Billboard’s series that showcases artists’ very own throwback-themed playlists exclusive to Billboard‘s Spotify account. The curated set features the artists’ favorite tracks from their youth and childhood.
This week’s edition comes from Netta. The Israeli pop artist (born Netta Barzilai) has been in the midst of a whirlwind breakthrough following the release of her single “Toy,” which earned her the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest prize and even topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with over 600 million streams on Spotify alone.
The singer wrote her next viral cut,”Ricki Lake,” as a love letter about American pop culture. “I used to watch The Ricki Lake Show obsessively when I was a teenager. It was a glimpse into America at its best and worst,” she says. “Like Ricki’s guests, we’re all seeking guidance, quick solutions and simple life hacks that would make us happy and would take away the sadness: a new jacket, a new nose, a happy meal, cellulite reduction. ‘Ricki Lake,’ the song and the person, is about listening to your gut instead of society’s rules, and dancing to your own drum.”
To further spread that message, Netta put together this week’s #TBT Mixtape to highlight some of her early sonic influences, featuring cuts from Aretha Franklin, Die Antwoord, Metallica, Lizzo, Lou Reed, and more.
Check out the playlist and Netta’s track-by-track reflection on each song below, plus a few throwback pics of the rising star growing up.
1. GALA, “Freed From Desire”
“Everybody knows I’m a 90s freak, this song has such a characteristic 90s vibe,” she says. “It’s so dramatic and moving but still able to make you dance.”
2. Aretha Franklin, “Think”
“When was 12 years old my heart skipped a beat when I heard her powerful voice for the first time,” she says. “I didn’t know who it was, and I missed her name on the radio, so my mother took me to a music store with the sobbing child that I was by her side, and made the poor saleswomen play singer after singer to my 12 year old ears, until I found my beloved Aretha. Then and there she became my eternal idol.”
3. PSY, “Gangam Style”
“The most overrated and underrated song of the past decade,” she says. “It means a lot to me in so many ways but let’s not get into this.”
4. Lizzo, “Phone”
“About 3 years ago my gay best friend played me this song, which became our anthem in a heartbeat,” she says. “Lizzo back then had 50k on her IG and I felt like she was my dirty little secret. Oh well.”
5. Die Antwoord, “I Fink U Freeky”
“Every time a guy likes me this is what’s going on in his head,” she says.
6. Etta James, “All I Could Do Was Cry”
“When I heard this, it caught me in a time when I had a bad crush on someone in my dramatic teen years and couldn’t move on,” she adds. “I would play this song on my computer looking at his pictures and crying hysterically. Best broken heart song ever.”
7. Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
“I have two metalhead brothers and they made me fall in love with Metallica. [Laughs.],” she says. “I had no choice. It did change my personality and my taste in music.”
8. The Pokemon Theme Song
“Just listening for that makes me feel so emotional,” she says. “Who didn’t dream of being of a Pokémon catcher? Who’s with me?”
10. Lou Reed, “Perfect Day”
“It’s just one of those songs that brings back a really vivid memory,” says Netta. “I met a guy during summer school in London, and had an unbelievable crush. I never got to tell him but we became really good friends, but when I was 13 he came to visit me in Israel and he gave me my first kiss and sent me this song after he left.”
11. The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”
“The video is epic,” she says. “And it’s such a good song.”
12. BbyMutha, “Heavy Metal”
“[Laughs.] I just think she’s so bad ass and so original,” she adds.
13. tUnE-yArDs, “Bizness”
“tUnE-yArDs is one of the most interesting and influential artists for me,” she says. “[Frontwoman Merrill Garbus] she uses a looping device and her artistic integrity is just out of this world. I appreciate her so much and I wish that one day I would reach that level of honesty and freedom in my writing.”
14. Rosalía, “A Palé”
“Rosalia is one of my new favorite up-and-coming artists,” she adds. “She broke so many barriers and manages to sound so fresh and relevant using and honoring flamenco music while singing in Spanish. What the f–k! I want to be Rosalia.”
15. Nicki Minaj, “Stupid Hoe”
“This is a perfect song with minimal production,” she says. “And how Nicki gets really really percussive with her lyrics gave me a lot of inspiration in my music.”
16. The Chordettes, “Mr. Sandman”
“One of those songs that takes you away with them on a cotton candy cloud,” she adds. “Right then and there I fell in love with vocal harmonies and knew that when I became a musician I would definitely use a lot of harmonies in my tracks.”
17. Britney Spears, “Everytime”
“Hi 11-year-old Netta watching this video on a loop, sobbing on the floor with side bangs. You’re going to be OK,” she says.
18. Lorna, “Papi Chulo”
“I think it’s genius and still is an obsession,” she says.
19. Kelis, “Milkshake”
“Goes without saying,” she says.
19. Missy Elliott, “Throw It Back”
“I missed Missy Elliott so bad and then she made this and I was jumping up and down in my apartment saying ‘oh my God Missy is back!'” she says.
20. Placebo, “Special needs”
“When I heard that song at 16 I felt like ‘someone gets me.’ One of my favorite songs of all time,” she says.
21. Leikeli47, “Attitude”
“Hey so what? I got an attitude,” she says.
22. Evanescence, “Bring Me To Life”
“Amy Lee actually lives in my throat; she is responsible for so much,” she jokes. “I think that I owe her a really big thank you for helping me through my stinky teenage years and I hold her accountable for all my eye infections because of the heavy make up I was wearing because of her.”