It’s taken three years, nearly $2 million, and one very questionable Miss Universe pageant performance, but Heidi Montag, star of the The Hills and wife of reality villain Spencer Pratt, finally released her debut album yesterday. Superficial, which Montag and Pratt are putting out on their own label, is an electro-pop collection of 12 tracks with party-friendly titles like “One More Drink” and “Hey Boy.” Montag chatted with EW about the album’s delay, her monetary issues, and why she thinks Superficial is as good as Thriller.

EW: Why did it take three years to put this together?

HEIDI MONTAG: Well, I did it independently. If you look back at the superstars throughout history it used to take that long to put albums together. Now it’s more manufactured. I really wanted to take my time, and every song means so much to me. And every song was a true journey. I had to track down the songs myself, because it was just Spencer and I doing it independently. We really took our time with every single process, because we wanted it to be the highest quality possible. I wanted it to be back to the Thriller days, to that kind of sound. It’s timeless music, so whenever it comes out was the right timing.

EW: Do you think Superficial holds up against something like Thriller?

HM: I definitely do. I think people might not see it now, because it’s my first album coming out. But I’ve spent as much time–maybe more, even–than Thriller. Every detail was very important to me, because I take this very seriously. Most artists, it’s not their own money, but I’ve actually gone broke putting every dollar I’ve ever made and my heart and soul into this music. For me, I have a different appreciation, a different understanding, and a different love of my music and for my album than any other artist possibly could. Because this is my money. This is my gamble. This is my chance.

EW: You’ve gone broke?

HM: Yes. I definitely am. I am. I put every dollar I have into this.

EW: Do you know how much money you’ve spent?

HM: I’ve spent over a million, almost $2 million on this album. It’s cost as much or more than a Britney Spears album, because I wanted it to be that quality and to be able to get those people. My album would have cost a record label over $4 million.

EW: What happens if you don’t earn your money back?

HM: That’s not even a possibility. I think within the first week we will definitely make our money back. The songs will make an impact in pop history. They are absolutely incredible and everybody involved is the best of the best. People just haven’t seen me as a pop star. I’m very excited for the world to see a whole new Heidi.

EW: “Body Language,” the song you performed on Miss Universe, isn’t on the album. Why?

HM: Because that was more 2009. We tried to give everybody pretty much new songs and songs that really went together. I think people got enough of “Body Language,” and I think they know where to get it if they want it. So I just wanted all new fresh, 2010.

EW: That performance got a lot of criticism too. Was that a reason it isn’t on the album?

HM: Oh, no. Not at all. For any musician there’s always going to be criticism, and you have to take it with a grain of salt. I think people were very harsh, forgetting that was my first performance. It takes practice to be the best. My next performance, I promise them it’s going to be a lot bigger, a lot better, a lot more light and love, and a lot more powerful. So I’m very excited for my next performance.

EW: Do you know when your next performance will be?

HM: Maybe the World Cup.

EW: You love to aim high!

HM: I do love to aim high. I’ve already been in talks with some of the people from the World Cup, so whatever is meant to happen will happen. I know this is going to be a very big year. And this is my first year officially in music. This is the first album, and I think the possibilities of where this is going to go is going to be infinite. I’m just excited to be part of the history of music.

EW: If the album doesn’t do as well as you hope, will you still pursue a music career?

HM: Definitely. I think it’s gonna do great. I have a million Twitter followers and they’re all very excited. So that’s at least a million people right there. It also takes time. I don’t expect it to be instant. Maybe it’s the biggest album in a couple months? Maybe it’s the biggest album in a year? But I will never stop music. This is the first album of many to come. As long as I can keep affording it and keep doing it I will, because it’s my love and my passion.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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