You might not know Bebe Rexha’s name, but you’ve definitely heard her music.

Bebe Rexha is a regular kind of girl... but she’s also kind of not. Sure, she recently toured with Nick Jonas and has written songs for the likes of David Guetta, Pitbull and Eminem. But at the end of the day, she really isn’t too different from you and me—she’s had her fair share of heartbreak, her parents still keep her in check, and the loves of her life are her dog Bear Rexha and chocolate.

On her recent trip to Hong Kong for Landmark Boutique Boulevard, we got to know the 28-year-old "I Got You" singer so that you can, too. 

Did you choose music or did music choose you?

I think music chose me. Ever since I was a little girl I had a complete obsession with watching the Disney Channel, and with wanting to be a Disney princess. I think the one thing music did was it made me happy. It made me feel a way that nothing else did.

You broke into the music industry at 15 – what was it like to spend your formative years growing your career when the majority of your peers were still focusing on school?

I missed out on a lot of things. I didn’t go to prom, and I didn’t go to graduation. I was always in the studio and I lost a lot of friends because of that. They just didn’t understand and they thought I was weird.

It was tough but I had this attitude—that I still have now—that was like, “you know what. I know this is worth it. It’s going to make sense someday.”

See also: 5 Things You Need To Know About Musician Lianne La Havas 

Your lyrics are quite open and emotional – do you ever feel scared or unsure of making yourself vulnerable in your songwriting?

It’s tough. For example, I went through a breakup and wrote a song about how my ex-boyfriend broke up with me over text message. It’s embarrassing to share things like that, but there were so many girls and guys who were like “that’s happened to me” so it’s worth it. 

It’s important to show people that they aren’t alone.

What’s the key to staying authentic in an industry that can be so commercialised?

Keeping family close is really important, and knowing your morals. You have to be honest and in every sense, including keeping people around you who are honest… not just keeping ‘yes’ people around.

I fly my mom and dad out to LA all the time, and I have a very small group of friends who keep me grounded. In this industry, things can become very Hollywood very fast and I think that’s the fastest way to become sad.

What challenges have you faced as a young female artist and how did you overcome them?  

I just never saw myself as a “female” artist, I consider myself to be a creator and I really love what I do. My mom raised me to be very strong, and I’ve kept that mentality from the minute I started in this industry. When I walk into a room I know exactly what I want. I don’t put on the cute girl act, I’m very straightforward and take control. It’s turned a lot of people off, but those were the wrong people to work with anyway. 

I think the good thing about being a songwriter first and going into the artistry is that people respected me and followed my lead on a lot of things. It wasn’t like I was just a girl who looked pretty and was signed to a label. I wrote the songs and I proved myself.

2017 has been a killer year for you. What were some of the highlights?

Obviously working with Louis Tomlinson was great, and getting off the wave of “Me, Myself and I” which I did with G-Eazy was awesome. I think the highlight of this year has been that it’s finally beginning to become fun and enjoyable. You have to go through a lot to get to this point.

See also: 12 Music Festivals In Asia You Shouldn't Miss In 2017