She was born in Los Angeles, California, to a Brazilian-Portuguese father and a Native American mother.
Her grandmother was Michael Jackson's longtime hair stylist, so she grew up seeing the King of Pop at holidays and family functions.
Much of her work comes out of the frustration of not being understood, whether it's by the music industry who tried to package her as a shiny pop star or by the public who branded her a "troubled artist" after a 2013 arrest for drug possession. She told Time Out Melbourne of her debut album: "I'm not a confrontational person and I'm really sensitive, so I feel like the only way I can express what I feel is through song, because I can't seem to do it in real life. I wasn't thinking, 'I need to change the world,' but I knew I needed to make a record that represented myself. Because nobody really knew me and I had a lot of stuff to say. I kept it inside for so long. I was so angry and it was sitting in me for years."
The first album she ever bought was Fiona Apple's Tidal when she was six years old.
On songwriting: "I don't really have a songwriting process. It either happens or it doesn't. I'll just hear a word or see something or read something, and that's it."
She said the best songwriting tip she ever received was from record producer Jon Brion, who encouraged her to "just write the way you actually talk and think."
She dropped out of high school when she was 15.
She uses meditation to help cope with stage fright. She explained to Time Out Melbourne: "I've tried everything, like imagining people aren't there. Sunglasses really help me. Getting drunk does not help - people used to shove alcohol in my face, but it never helps, it just makes me look stupid and makes me have worse stage fright the next time."