I started writing my own songs from the time I was a little kid. I would write my own lyrics to other people's songs that I heard on the radio and take whatever song and make it about fairies and angels - whatever little girls sing about.
When I moved to Seattle in fourth grade, I joined the Seattle Girls' Choir. It's a world-class choir, and we competed, toured Europe, and went and sang at the Vatican, so it was a really awesome experience to have that young.
I've been singing since I could talk, pretty much. My dad was really musical and taught me how to sing harmonies and got me a karaoke machine with tape decks.
I like to think of myself as the people's pop star a little bit. I respect Lady Gaga so much, and I love what she does, but she has this kind of mysterious, out-of-reach thing. I'm just not that - as much as I'd love to have that sort of mystique, I think I'm kind of an open book.
I think what it means to be an 'American Girl,' and what I wrote the song about, is our freedoms. The idea that we as Americans can be what we want to be and say what we want to say and that we take it for granted.