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What I Learned

Teen People

He was a high school dropout and skinny punk from Washington, D.C. Now look at him.

You're 16, and it's Friday night in suburban Washington, D.C. What are you doing?
"Fridays were usually all about football games, who was having a party and who was gonna drive."

Were you into the school spirit thing?
"No, not really. But I was friends with everybody. I'd get high with the stoners; I hung out with the jocks and the nerds."

Sounds like you felt pretty secure.
"I was so self-conscious about the way I looked. I thought I was too skinny or my mouth was funny-looking and my clothes were weird. I still feel funny-looking, but I think it's kind of cool."

Your mom was an English teacher, but you quit school before your senior year.
"I wish I had known the consequences of dropping out. I got lucky because I practically won the lottery. I pursued music because it was my biggest passion, and it got me to the place I am today. But I'm not as well-read as I want to be, and my vocabulary isn't as big as I wish it was."

Do you have any relationship advice?
"Honesty is the best policy, whether it's with a best friend or a girlfriend or a parent or whatever. As a kid you don't want to disappoint anybody and you don't want to get found out, but people respect you more for your honesty than anything else."

You're engaged to Jordyn Blum, a videographer. Is she the first person you've been truly honest with?
"Pretty much. Now I've got nothing to hide. When you're not trying to be someone else, being honest is easy."