NEW YORK – “Pretty Little Liars” star Lucy Hale has traded in the Hollywood fast lane for the honky-tonk streets of Nashville with the release of her debut country album, “Road Between.”
“Country music is kind of all I know,” the 25-year-old Tennessee native told FOX411. “I started in music and acting came as a surprise to me but I fell in love with acting and music kind of got put on the back burner.”
Although she’s already performed at the Grand Ole Opry and seen her music chart, Hale knows she still has a lot to prove to those who shake her off as just another actress turned singer.
“It's scary because there are so many people who have come before me and have failed and not done a good job, but for me I’ve always been a musician at heart -- I want to be the exception,” Hale said. “I know have a lot to prove and I know I have a lot of minds to change, but it’s a really good challenge and I think when people hear me talk about music, see me perform or listen to the CD, I think they’re like, ‘Oh now we get it.’”
Based on of the support she’s received from the industry and fans, Hale said she’s officially been welcomed into the country music family.
“I’m actually blown away from the support I've experienced by country radio and being invited to sing at the Opry and even a lot of the artists, its just been really cool,” she said.
Hale has found a home in Nashville after years in what she described as a cutthroat Hollywood.
“That's what I love about Nashville and what I love about that community, is that they want to see people succeed and people root for each other,” she said. “I'm used to Hollywood where it's like dog eat dog and people are vicious, so its nice to get to experience something so genuine and it's cool to feel welcome.”
Hale may be new to the professional Nashville music scene, but growing up in Memphis, it was only natural for her to make her singing debut as a country singer.
“I'm a southern girl, so country music was all around always,” she said of her upbringing. “It was on the radio, it was what I watched on TV, it was what I would perform so when it came time to make an album there was no other option.”
After two years of working on the album, country is “just what felt right” and where Hale’s “heart lies.”
“Country music is just storytelling, and I loved it even as a little girl because I loved the stories and the pictures it would paint,” Hale said. “I think out of any genre, country music just hits it right on the head of whatever emotion it is and music has helped me through so many of the crazy times in my life, especially country music.”
In the same way country music helped Hale, the singer is reaching out in more ways than her music to help others.
“Nestle Crunch has partnered with the Girl Scouts of the USA…[to raise] money to send girls [in need] to camp which is something I wanted to lend my name to because I love what the Girl Scouts stand for -- female empowerment and building character and confidence in young girls.”
Hale voices her own support for young girls on her song “Nervous Girls.”
“There’s a song called ‘Nervous Girls’ which has probably gotten the most positive feedback because it's got a really strong message,” said the singer. “Because I think it's reached out to a lot of people, even guys can relate, it's about the struggles of being a human. It talks about how we all struggle with things but at the end of the day, no matter what you do, where you came from, or what you look like, we're all kind of the same.”
You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.