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27 Fascinating Pop Star Facts

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Adele wrote one of her hit songs in just 10 minutes.

Table of Contents

1.

In 2014, a glitch on Canadian iTunes resulted in a Taylor Swift “song” entitled “Track 3” getting released on the platform.


Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images for MTV

Fans assumed it was a new single from her album 1989, and it quickly “hit number one on the Canadian iTunes chart,” despite the fact that “Track 3” wasn’t a track at all, but eight seconds of white noise. It was soon taken down.


Rich Fury / Getty Images for iHeartMedia

2.

Bruno Mars told Vibe that he had a “full-time job at four” as his father’s band’s resident mini Elvis impersonator.


Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The band was called Love Notes, and Mars described it as a “1950s doo-wop review type of show,” featuring impersonations of “Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis” and, of course, Elvis Presley. Mars would perform with Love Notes five nights a week.


Catherine Mcgann / Getty Images

3.

As of 2007, Rihanna’s legs were insured for $1 million.


Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

She told the Guardian, “Venus Breeze, the Gillette razor, they named me this year’s Celebrity Legs of a Goddess, so along with the title comes an insurance for your legs of a million dollars.” She added, “If it was my million dollars, I’d probably walk about in pants all day long.”


Hector Retamal / AFP via Getty Images

4.

Lady Gaga famously wore a dress made out of raw meat to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, and when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acquired it, they hired taxidermist Sergio Vigilato to preserve it.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images

It was frozen when Vigilato received it, but when he thawed it out to begin his work, he realized that it “had begun decomposing before it had been frozen.” Such is the nature of the butcher shop gown, which the singer says she chose to show that she isn’t “a piece of meat.”


Getty / Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic

Vigilato told the Los Angeles Times that he was paid $6,000 up front for the job, and that it took about a month. He didn’t reveal exactly how he did it, but the process involved “bleach, formaldehyde, and detergent to remove bacteria.”


Jewel Samad / AFP via Getty Images

5.

Katy Perry’s parents were Pentecostal ministers and born-again Christians who didn’t allow their children to say terms like “deviled eggs” and “Dirt Devil” (a brand of vacuum cleaner).

Perry’s friends would sneak her CDs of nonreligious music, since they — along with any books that weren’t the Bible — were banned from the household.


Daniele Venturelli / Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images for Luisaviaroma

Perry’s parents also misled her about the nature of Planned Parenthood, wrongly describing it as solely an abortion provider. Perry told Vanity Fair, “I was always scared I was going to get bombed when I was there…I didn’t know it was more than that, that it was for women and their needs. I didn’t have insurance, so I went there and I learned about birth control.”

Perry said that she “didn’t have a childhood,” but added that as an adult, she is able to peacefully “coexist” with her parents, and that they’re happy for her success. Her mother told Vanity Fair, “The Lord told us when I was pregnant with her that she would do this.”

6.

During an appearance on The Carlos Watson Show, John Legend discussed winning an essay contest sponsored by McDonald’s at the age of 15. The contest was themed around Black History Month, and the prompt was, “How do you intend to make Black history?”


Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Gucci

Legend said he wrote something to the effect of, “I intend to become a successful artist, and use that success to help my community.” His submission was the regional winner for the Dayton, Ohio area, and he received a “small scholarship” from the fast-food chain for it.


Getty / Michael Tran / FilmMagic

7.

Nicki Minaj worked at multiple Red Lobster restaurants, and during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, she revealed that she got fired from all of them.


Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

On one occasion, Minaj was let go for following a couple into the parking lot after they walked out with her pen. She banged on their car window and flipped them off while she demanded the return of her pen from the pair (who, in addition to writing utensil theft, failed to tip Minaj).


Getty / Gilbert Carrasquillo / GC Images

She told Fallon, “My pet peeve is when people ask for extra biscuits. Please don’t ask for more biscuits, because I will slap you.”


The Washington Post / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Red Lobster responded with this pun. Like most brands’ attempts to join in on the online banter, it left something to be desired.


Red Lobster / Via Twitter: @redlobster

They then tried to win back some social media goodwill by reminding us all that they’re responsible for producing cheddar biscuits so delicious, they used to ruin Nicki Minaj’s waitressing shifts.

You try to bake Cheddar Bay Biscuits and tweet at the same time! #harderthanitlooks #Formation


Red Lobster / Via Twitter: @redlobster

9.

David Bowie’s iconic mismatched eyes were the result of a teenage fistfight with his friend George Underwood.


Justin De Villeneuve / Getty Images

The pair were fighting over a girl, and Underwood punched Bowie in his left eye after Bowie “boast[ed] to my mate about what a Casanova” he was, according to what he told his biographer Mark Spitz. Underwood inadvertently scratched Bowie’s eye, “paralyzing the muscles that contract the iris” and causing the pupil to be permanently dilated.


British Lion Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

The resulting difference in the size of the pupils is known as anisocoria. In contrast, heterochromia is a difference in the color of the irises.

The fight didn’t stop the pair from remaining friends and creative collaborators, and Underwood designed the covers for two of Bowie’s albums: Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.


Artyom Geodakyan / Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

10.

Dua Lipa’s first name means “love” in Albanian, and it was suggested by her grandmother.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Lipa told the Guardian, “Now I’m proud of it. Now I am. But when I was growing up all I wanted was to be called Hannah, Sarah, Ella…anything normal. Because with Dua you had to explain: I’m from Kosovo.”


2020 Billboard Women In Music / Getty Images for Billboard

Lipa’s parents, Anesa and Dukagjin, fled conflict in Kosovo and Bosnia by going to London in 1992. Lipa said that their decision to uproot their lives helped her understand that “no refugee leaves their country without having to.”


David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images for YSL Beauty

Pictured from left to right is Anesa Lipa, Dua Lipa, Gjin Lipa, Rina Lipa, and Dukagjin Lipa.

11.

The theme song for the Disney Channel animated series The Proud Family was recorded by Solange and Destiny’s Child.


NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Solange was 15 at the time, and according to Billboard, “Girl group Destiny’s Child was eager to lend a hand to one of their member’s little sister’s burgeoning singing career.”


Getty / Kmazur / WireImage


Mark Downey / Corbis via Getty Images

Madonna revealed during an interview on The Howard Stern Show that following their breakup, Basquiat took back the paintings he gifted to her over the course of their relationship, and “painted over them black.”


Rose Hartman / Getty Images


Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

(If you’re curious, the celebrity who holds the record for most wishes granted is John Cena, at over 650.) 

14.

In 2015, Ed Sheeran charged $99 for all tickets to his Australian tour, no matter the seats. He told News.com.au that he chose this one-price-fits-all approach due to concerns over elitism.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Sheeran said, “What I was really trying not to do was have elitist tickets…the moment you allow a kid with a rich father to have more things than a kid with a poor father, I think that’s shit.”


Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

He also revealed that his team keeps the tickets for the front row until the day of the concert, and then gives them out to fans waiting outside or sitting in the “nosebleed seats up the top.” Sheeran “got the idea from the Justin Bieber documentary.”


Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

15.

Alicia Keys was the valedictorian of her high school, and she graduated when she was only 16 years old. Her musical and academic talents led to her being offered two major opportunities right out of high school: a scholarship to Columbia University and a contract with Columbia Records.


Getty / Gary Gershoff / Stringer

Keys said in an Oprah.com video that the most difficult part of choosing music over college was breaking the news to her mother. Luckily, her mother “wasn’t as angry” as Keys thought she was going to be. She reflected, “She’s an artist, and she could understand my passion and my love for wanting to do it.”


Getty / L. Cohen / WireImage

16.

In 1992, Britney Spears and Natalie Portman understudied for the same role in an off-Broadway musical called Ruthless.


Getty / Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Spears understudied for Laura Bell Bundy for about eight months before deciding to move on. Natalie Portman took her place shortly afterwards.


Scott Gries / Getty Images

Ruthless lyricist Joel Paley told the New York Post that when they realized they needed an understudy for Bundy, they were worried about discovering someone as talented as her, but Spears more than exceeded their expectations with her “singing, dancing, acting, confidence, and great mom.”


Brenda Chase / Getty Images

17.

Whitney Houston founded a production company called BrownHouse, and it produced some absolute hits.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Houston was a producer on The Princess Diaries


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

…and The Cheetah Girls….


Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

…and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, in which she also starred as the Fairy Godmother.


Disney / Courtesy Everett Collection

18.

The 8-year-old Ariana Grande got early encouragement for her musical career from Gloria Estefan.


Getty / Steve Granitz / WireImage

Estefan told New York Daily News that she was a passenger on a cruise ship where the young Grande was performing. She recalled, “I literally went up to her and told her and her mom, ‘I don’t know if you plan on doing this, but this is what you need to be doing because you are an amazing singer.'”


Michael Putland / Getty Images

Apparently, Grande was singing the “theme song from Titanic” at the time.


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.

Billie Eilish told Harper’s Bazaar that she wrote her first song at 11, and that “it was about the zombie apocalypse, actually.”


Getty / Rachel Luna / FilmMagic

It was called “Fingers Crossed,” and it was heavily influenced by The Walking Dead. Eilish said, “Just watch all of The Walking Dead and you’ll find some things that are in my song and some episode titles that are in my song.”


Debbie Hickey / Getty Images

20.

Kim Nam-joon, better known by his stage name RM (formerly Rap Monster), is the frontman of the mega-popular South Korean pop group BTS, and he told the Chicago Tribune that he taught himself to speak English by watching CNN, the BBC, and Friends.


Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

He revealed in an interview with Yahoo that his favorite Friends character is Chandler, while his favorite storyline is the will-they-won’t-they romance of Rachel and Ross.


TV Guide / NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

21.

Kesha was an academic superstar in high school, receiving a near-perfect score on her SATs and studying in the international baccalaureate program.


C Brandon / Redferns / Getty

As a high school student, Kesha attended lectures about the Cold War at Belmont College “for fun.” She told Billboard, “I’m not trying to say I’m an expert on the Cold War…but I was interested. The point being, I’m not just a little pop moron.”


Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Clear Channel

22.

Lorde counts a lot of authors amongst her most important musical influences.


Theo Wargo / Getty Images

In 2013, she told Glamour that her work is influenced by the likes of Raymond Carver…


Reg Innell / Toronto Star via Getty Images

…Sylvia Plath…


Getty / Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

…and Walt Whitman, among others.


Stock Montage / Getty Images

23.

Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus’s godmother.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Parton told Marie Claire that she always knew her goddaughter was special, but that Hannah Montana really showed her what a talent Cyrus was.


Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for NARAS

Parton said, “When she was on that little show, I saw what great timing she had, what a great little comedian she was.”


Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

24.

Prince was a huge fan of New Girl, so much so that he asked the show for the chance to guest star. Obviously, they said “yes!”


Getty / Richard E. Aaron / Redferns

In the episode, Prince (starring as himself, naturally) hosts a party. Originally, the Kardashians were also going to make cameo appearances as guests.


Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

When Prince got wind of this, he supposedly replied, “They would never be invited to a Prince party.” Their appearances were swiftly cut.


Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Zooey Deschanel recalled in an appearance on Conan that the scripts and call sheets featuring the Kardashian name were literally burned by a P.A.


Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

25.

Jennifer Lopez and the iconic green Versace gown that she wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards are the reason that Google Image Search exists.


Getty / J. Vespa / WireImage

According to an essay by Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, published on Project Syndicate, “At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen. But we had no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: J­.Lo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.”


Getty / Kirby Lee / WireImage

Lopez joked to E! News that she wanted “just a small part” of the profits, and suggested somewhere in the ballpark of “a truck full of money.”


Jacopo Raule / Getty Images

J.Lo brought the dress back in a 2019 Versace runway show. 

26.

Sam Smith told NPR that they and their collaborator Jimmy Napes wrote the Bond theme “Writing’s on the Wall” for Spectre in under a half hour.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The first demo Smith recorded was so strong that the vocals actually ended up in the final version of the track.


Rich Fury / Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Smith said, “I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond. My music is a diary and it’s a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty.”


Getty / Victor Chavez / WireImage

“Writing’s on the Wall” ultimately won the Oscar for Best Original Song.


Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Pictured is Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith accepting their awards. 

27.

And finally: Adele also wrote one of her hits in record time, though she churned “Hometown Glory” out in 10 minutes, as opposed to Sam Smith’s 30. (Not that it’s a competition.)


Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

Adele told the Observer Music Monthly that she was inspired to write the song because her mother wanted her to leave London to go to university.


Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Adele recalled, “I played it to her as a protest song, and said, ‘This is why I’m staying.'”


Morne De Klerk / Getty Images

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