Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage
February 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST

Brandy Norwood is coming off a mega-year, where she starred in Broadway’s Chicago and launched her new BET scripted show Zoe Ever After. But as she prepares for 2016, Brandy is ready to get back to her musical roots. The singer released “Beggin & Pleadin,” her first single 2012’s Two Eleven in January. Co-written by Kirby Lauryen and produced by Oak and Pop, the song is the first off Brandy’s next album, due out sometime this year.

Ahead, Brandy reveals the inspiration for her new collection and how she tackles artistry through different mediums.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did the song “Beggin & Pleadin” come about?

BRANDY: I went through a very difficult breakup. They say when you go through something as painful as what I went through, you get a good song out of it. I used that moment to connect to my feelings and produce a life-changing vocal for me. But I’m happy all by myself now, which is liberating. I’ve never felt the way I felt right now.

What was the turning point for you?

I was tired of my daughter seeing me exhausted and sad. I wasn’t setting a great example for her. So I had to change what my inner dialogue was saying to me. I told myself, “You need to go all the way,” so I went—all the way to Broadway [to star as Roxie Hart in Chicago], all the way to the studio, and all the way to Atlanta to produce and star in Zoe Ever After.

Have you been listening to other artists?

I’m really inspired by Adele, ever since she stepped onto the scene. Her, Jazmine Sullivan, and Amy Winehouse—those are my three core favorites. Fantasia too! I think she’s awesome.

Does the single mean there will be an album soon?

There’s definitely one in the works. I’m recording in Los Angeles. I’m working, singing, and I’m ready. Nothing is going to get in my way.

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Is the whole album written already?

It’s written and I’m writing. I’m not depressed anymore, so I really want to sing about my present life because I’m not sad anymore.

People still love your 1998 duet with Monica, “The Boy Is Mine.” She said last year that the supposed beef between you guys was “brilliant marketing.”

It was so long ago, I’m just in a different space. I don’t talk to Monica. We are on different paths.

How do you balance acting and singing?

I think that I love acting because it’s a challenge for me. I’m bringing a life and a truth to another person. So that satisfies me in a way that singing doesn’t. Singing is my therapy. It’s the easiest and best way I can express myself.

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