You may already know Lucy Hale from the hit TV series "Pretty Little Liars," but this pretty little lady is also working hard on her growing country music career. In fact, when she wasn't busy trying to figure out who "A" is as Aria Montgomery on PLL, for over about two-and-a-half years, she's managed to work towards finally releasing her debut album Road Between this year.
While Lucy may be a great actress, she's actually been singing for a very long time. Lucy tells iHeartRadio, "I've been working towards this since I was 16." She goes on to say, "I always felt like a singer at heart who happened to act, and for a lot of people it's the other way around. People always ask me, like, which one would you choose, and I want to be the exception. I want to be the person that can do both, and put in the time to do both. I never wanted people to think that like I expected anything from making this album. Like I want to do the hard work. I want to go to every radio station and shake every hand, and like meet every fan and sign everything. Like to me that's so exciting, I want to earn it. Because when you do all that work, it's that much more gratifying."
Speaking of being the exception and the person to do both acting and singing, Lucy tells us what it's like to juggle both her loves. "It definitely makes for an interesting life and an interesting schedule. I always knew I was going to make an album, I just didn't know when, and then the acting took off, and, you know, we film eight months out of the year. But two years ago I was, like, 'this hiatus, I'm going to make an album.' And I did. And then the next hiatus I went on a radio tour, and so the next hiatus I'm going to go touring. I just knew that if I didn't do it now, I was never going to do it. So I sort of just dove right in, and knew what I was getting myself into, and knew that I'd be sleeping a little less, I'd be traveling a little more, I'd be seeing my friends a little less. But I would be doing what I love even more. So it's kind of like a give-and-take. It's fun, though. It's like, at the end of the day I love what I do and it's totally worth it."
Based on her debut album, we'd say it's totally worth it too! Lucy describes the making of her album as "the greatest experience of [her] life." She also says, "We got to really take our time with it and really pinpoint what I wanted to say, and what my point of view was, and my perspective. It was very therapeutic. I learned a lot about myself and my strengths and my weaknesses. And so at the end of the day I made an album that I'm really proud of, and I feel like I can do anything now! Because when you put yourself out there in that way, like that's as vulnerable as you can get. It's like your heart on your sleeve."
Lucy stopped by iHeartRadio Headquarters when he was in New York City recently, where she treated us to an amazing performance and revealed what it was like to perform at the Opry for the very first time not too long ago, and all of her other firsts. She talks about the first song she ever wrote, the first CD she ever bought, even where she went on her first date!
Check out "My First Time" with Lucy Hale below!
FIRST TIME SINGING AT THE OPRY:
Well, it was pretty crazy because I was supposed to perform there in February and I got really sick. We had to cancel, which was like heartbreaking because like that was my only chance, like 'what if they don't ask me back?!' And two days later they sent me flowers and we had to pick another date. The whole day was pretty ... I got to sleep in, I got to go do hair and makeup. I got there, I was fine, like no nerves whatsoever, plus all my family was there. About thirty minutes before, I'm like, "I'm going to throw up. I'm shaking, I'm convulsing." Because this is something I had built up in my head as a little girl. I was like, "Can I do this? Am I going to be disappointed?" But the second I walked out there, I don't really remember it, because it was one of those experiences, it was so out-of-body that ... I was so in-the-moment that I don't remember. But I was told that I was smiling the whole time! And then, afterwards Bill Anderson, who's been there forever came out and talked to me a little bit, and, ah, I started crying. I've done so many cool things so far in my life and that was hands-down - nothing comes close to how cool it was. It was pretty special and I just can't wait to go back.
FIRST TIME EVER SINGING IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE:
I want to say I was like nine years old. Yeah, I was nine, I had like a bob haircut and the most intense bangs you've ever seen in your life, and I was singing "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow," from Annie. And my grandmother had made my costume. It was just at like a little county fair in Tennessee. And [I] didn't look at anyone in the audience, looked at my feet the whole time, didn't move, but always had a strong voice for being small. I don't know, but I remember people being like, "Wow!" But no stage presence whatsoever. So it kind of took a while to develop being comfortable on stage. Of course, I was nine years old at the time, but I remember being terrified. I still have the costume in my closet, actually. My grandma used to sew my singing costumes.
FIRST TIME YOU HEARD YOUR MUSIC NO THE RADIO:
[It was] actually in my car on the radio. I was driving on the 405, so if you're familiar with LA, the 405 is just a madhouse. It's a highway that's so much traffic. So I was in back-to-back traffic, was just so annoyed, and I was listening to the radio, sure enough, I caught like the last thirty seconds of my song ["You Sound Good To Me"], and just was like ... It was a bummer because I didn't have anyone else there to share it with me, but I got it on my phone, like recorded it, and it was just really crazy. I mean, you'll never hear that ... You'll never relive your first moment of hearing yourself on the radio for the first time.
FIRST TIME WATCHING YOUR MUSIC VIDEO DEBUT DURING "PRETTY LITTLE LIARS":
Yeah, it was the same day the single was released, so it was a big day. It was the "PLL" premiere, single was released, and video was premiered. It's so weird because I don't usually watch the show because it's just strange to watch myself on TV, but I wanted to see the video. I had seen the video, but I wanted to see it on TV and it was pretty crazy because you see me as Aria on "PLL" and then it switches to Lucy, which is who I truly am in the video. Like that's how I dress, that's how I am, and then it was like back to Aria again. That was pretty strange, but very cool.
FIRST SONG YOU EVER WROTE:
It was a song called "Dessert Comes First," and it actually was going to make the album, and ... I've always written songs growing up, but never finished them or never felt like they were finished, so this is one that I co-wrote with Chris De Stefano, and Mike Daly, who actually wrote a lot of songs on the album. But, it was just about a friend going through a breakup and me trying to, like, drag her out to go have a good time, and like, "Tonight dessert comes first," like we're going to have a great time. So, like, go get ready and we're going to go out. But it's a really fun song. It was based on a true story about my best friend, and it almost made the cut, but not quite. But I think it will find a home for someone. It's really catchy!
FIRST CD YOU EVER BOUGHT:
TLC, Crazy, Sexy, Cool. I was given a boom box for Christmas when I was, eight maybe. And I love the song "Waterfalls," it's still one of my favorite songs. Yeah, Crazy, Sexy, Cool, the red cover with them on the front. I love TLC.
FIRST COUNTRY CD YOU EVER BOUGHT:
The first CD I remember playing on repeat was Rascal Flatts, their first album that was just self-titled. I was eleven or something, and I was on a choir trip, and I had my Discman ... So forget the boom box, now I had my Discman! We drove from Memphis to Dallas and I just memorized every song, and that just sort of kick-started my love affair for Rascal Flatts. Yeah. It's still one of my favorite albums, it's a great one.
FIRST TV SHOW YOU WERE CAST IN:
Oh, first job ever was a Nickelodeon show called, "Drake and Josh." I had one word. I was fresh in LA, like I had lived there three months, and my line was, they were like, "What's your name?" And I had to say, "Hazel." And they're like, they'd just go, "Like the nut?" And I'd go, "Ah-ha." I was so nervous. Everybody at the time, [was] like, "Drake Bell is so hot," like, "Oh, my God, it's my big moment." And I don't remember ever being that nervous. The Opry and "Drake and Josh" were the most nervous I've ever been in my life!
FIRST PAYING JOB:
I did "American Juniors" when I was 13, which is a singing show. That was the first thing I ever did. It was a reality show, but you get paid a little bit. That was my first paying job at 13 years old.
THING(S) YOU SPENT YOUR FIRST PAYCHECK ON:
I think it was at Forever 21. I think that was, like, up until I was about 18 years old, all my money went to Forever 21. Just clothes, yeah. Did not save a penny.
FIRST MOVIE YOU WERE CAST IN:
It was Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I played Effie, who was Alexis Bledel's little sister, who loses the pants. That was really cool, and because I was 17 at the time, the only way for me to book the job was if I got emancipated, and we only had a week's amount of time and were like, "well, that's impossible." But, my uncle was a judge in Mississippi and got me emancipated real quick, so I got the job and it's because of that, that I got another show called "Privileged," and because of "Privileged" I got "PLL." So, if it wasn't for my uncle getting me emancipated, I would not be on "PLL" right now, probably!
FIRST CELEB CRUSH:
Zac Hanson. I was a huge Hanson fan. Well, it was him or Billy Gilman. He was a country singer. He was like the Justin Bieber of country music. He was, like, 11 or 12, but we'll go with Zac Hanson. I mean, I would write love letters and, like, hide them in the woods, like thinking that he would find them. I was really creepy, and I mean, I still kind of have a crush on Zac Hanson. I know he's married and has kids, but whatever.
FIRST REAL LIFE CRUSH:
Matt was his name. Oh, what could have been with Matt! No, I was in middle school, and like he was just a guy that I just ... he was so beautiful, and never liked me, like always. I think he invited me to his school dance in sixth grade once, but that was it. But he was the first guy I remember just really liking. I thought I loved him. I saw pictures of him on Facebook the other day, and I think he's in the army now, or something. He's still beautiful.
PLACE YOU WENT ON YOUR FIRST DATE:
PF Chang's when I was 16. It was my first boyfriend, who actually turned out to be my first love. [He] took me to PF Chang's, and I remember what I got. I got chicken lettuce cups and wonton soup. I remember where we sat. We were in like the back right-hand corner. I dated him for like three-and-a-half years, so we would always go back there, so that's how I remember.
A boy named David was my first kiss when I was like, 13, in Memphis. He lived down the street from me, and we're still friends, so it's pretty crazy!
FIRST BEST FRIEND:
Aubrey. Our parents were friends and we grew up together, and, I mean, [we were] just connected at the hip. Did everything. Stuck up for each other, lied for each other, got in trouble, laughed, stayed up all night, just everything you can imagine. We kind of lost touch somewhere along the way, but I hope she's doing well.
Listen to Lucy's latest single "Lie A Little Better" below:
Photos: Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio