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Bella Thorne Is Listening to Joan Jett, Aly & AJ, and Iann Dior

Photo by 𝐀kram Soliman.

This is “Add to Queue,” our attempt to sort through the cacophony of music floating in the algorithmic atmosphere by consulting the experts themselves. Our favorite musicians tell us about their favorite music—the sad, the happy, the dinner party-y, the songs they want played at their funeral. In this edition, we speak with the 23-year-old musician, actress, model, influencer, director, and former Disney star Bella Thorne. She just returned to the Unites States after filming a movie in Rome with her Italian popstar boyfriend Benjamin Mascolo. Aside from her acting career, Thorne been tending to her cannabis company Forbidden Flower and releasing music. Shortly after arriving from Italy, Thorne spoke with us about her latest singles, her love of Joan Jett, and she doesn’t sing in the shower.

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BELLA THORNE: Hey. How are you?

ERNESTO MACIAS: Hi Bella, I’m doing great. Where are you right now? Last time I checked you were shooting a film in Rome.

THORNE: Right now I’m at my house. I just moved back, literally.

MACIAS: You’ve recently released a couple of songs, “SSB” and “Lonely.” They’re such fun songs, both of them. Tell me a little bit about the inspiration, or maybe the goal of these songs. Let’s start with “SFB.”

THORNE: There are actually quite a few songs on my album that have that same type of switch-up, where we’re going from one genre straight to another. That day I really wanted to do one with an acoustic guitar and thought, “I want to do a hate song, low key.” So we just kept thinking about funny, random, diss lines that you would say to someone. We actually did everything all in one day for this song.

MACIAS: What about “Lonely”?

THORNE: I was up, it was late, and I was horny and lonely. And my current boyfriend was not my boyfriend at the time. Basically, he wasn’t answering my texts, that bitch. And I was up all night trying to hear from him in this different time zone. He wasn’t texting me back. So then I was texting him I was lonely and horny. So I wrote that chorus, “I only check my phone when I’m lonely and horny.” I couldn’t get that out of my head. The next day I went to the studio to record it.

MACIAS: You express your wants and desires so openly. Why is that important for you?

THORNE: For years women have been told that our vagina makes us the most precious thing, and it also makes us the most wanted thing for people to use and abuse in their own situations. It also makes us a target for harassment and bullying and being taken under. Being a woman is a very interesting thing. It definitely marks you for interesting circumstances. Especially with owning their sexuality, women have been told that it’s terrible to feel that way. In general, we just can’t be open with that kind of stuff where we’re a slut, or a whore, or we’re asking for it. Or god forbid we use a vibrator. You just cannot win with this shit. 

MACIAS: What have you been listening to lately?

THORNE: I like The Kid Laroi. I co-wrote this song with this girl that I’m friends with. Her name is Phem, she’s got a song right now called “Honest,” and it’s her first song getting radio play with Iann Dior, who I also think is quite interesting.

MACIAS: Who was the earliest musician to influence you personally?

THORNE: Joan Jett is the first one and forever my rock. In general, she’s just an idol, I think, for all women. I’ll always love her. She can never do anything wrong in my book. And probably Madonna. Both of them have done so much for women.

MACIAS: Where was your first concert and who was playing?

THORNE: I’ve really not been to a lot, so it’s pretty easy to remember. It was Kanye West and Jay Z, and they went to Paris. I was actually with Zendaya, and we were on our off time from doing press from Shake It Up. We went and we saw that fucking concert, and that shit was lit.

MACIAS: Do you remember the first music video that left an impression on you and why?

THORNE: I feel like Gwen Stefani and a whole lot of her music videos left an impression on me. I think a really fun one that I’ll still watch here and there is Avril Lavigne—the one where she’s got the boyfriend, and then she’s dressed up as the other character and she pushes them on a golf course, or some shit.

MACIAS: What’s a song that always puts you in a mood to dance?

THORNE: Anything YG. Every time I hear his voice, I’m like, “You sexy ass bitch. I fucking love you, YG.” 

MACIAS: Do you have a dream collaborator?

THORNE: Probably Joan Jett.

MACIAS: What song takes you back to youth?

THORNE: Anything by Linkin Park.

MACIAS: What song makes you feel sexy? 

THORNE: DaniLeigh’s “Cravin” makes me feel so fine.

MACIAS: What is the best breakup anthem?

THORNE: Honestly, “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly and AJ is really it.

MACIAS: If you were putting a playlist together for getting high on weed, what songs would you put in there?

THORNE: Um, Afroman’s “Because I Got High,” hello. 

MACIAS: What about a playlist for taking a bathtub?

THORNE:  I never take baths. Fuck that question.

MACIAS: And in the theme of “Lonely,” what about a horny song?

THORNE: All the songs from Magic Mike.

MACIAS: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

THORNE: Something from Blondie. Probably “Call Me,” or anything by Lil Wayne, like “A Milli.” 

MACIAS: Do you have a favorite movie soundtrack?

THORNE: Upstream Color.

MACIAS: Do you sing in the shower?

THORNE:  No. I’m usually sending nudes. [Laughs]

MACIAS: If your life were a TV show, what would be the theme song?

THORNE: Something about being so lazy, but working hard at the same time. So, what’s a song that says I’m so lazy, but I’m also a hard worker? That would be the song of my life. It’d be like, “Today I feel like conquering the world. Tomorrow I can’t pass the damn remote.”