The 21-year-old La Grange native releases her debut EP, To Be the Little Fish, on May 25, but she’s been showcasing her talent for years. At 13, Dunne was persuading local bar and restaurant owners to let her perform at their venues. “Really, I was just playing for anyone that would have me,” she says. Four years later, Dunne signed a deal with Atlantic Records, and now, having spent the past few years in Nashville writing hundreds of songs (for up-and-coming pop star Jacob Sartorius, among others) and “just growing as a human being,” the singer will finally unveil her long-awaited collection of soul-influenced music.

On her sound

I’ve tried to keep the grit of Stevie Wonder and the Supremes and all that great Motown stuff and bring it to a modern pop place.

On her double life in high school

I’d go to Nashville to work with the top songwriters and producers in the world. Then I’d go home, and no one really cared. I felt like I was Hannah Montana.

On staying humble

If all of a sudden I started acting like I was too cool, my family and friends would call me out so hard. I could never, ever get away with that.