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"When people hear the new record, they're going to hear the new direction that we're going," the 25-year-old tells The Boot. "The production is completely different because I'm not with the same producer.
"When you first start out, there's a lot of paying your dues kind of thing," she continues. "The more I do this, the more freedom I get with it. There's a whole different team of people that I'm working with now, for this record. There's been a lot of changes. I've really been able to go in the studio and just play, and really find myself as a songwriter. I've been writing since 'American Idol,' but I've found more of who Kellie, artist Kellie is."
The North Carolina native wrote several songs on the new album that will give an intimate glimpse into her personal life, including a tune, 'Mother's Day,' which she wrote with her husband, Kyle Jacobs. "With 'Mother's Day,' I think that's really going to be an 'I Wonder," she explains, comparing the tune to her poignant and deeply personal hit from her debut album, 'Small Town Girl.' "That was my story from more of a younger perspective. 'Mother's Day' is the woman singing the song ... I think when people hear that song, that's going to be when it clicks and people are going to go, 'Wow, she's not the little girl on 'American Idol' anymore. She's a woman now. It has been a little tricky transitioning into the adult."
Watch the video for the new album's first single, 'Tough,' below. The singer-songwriter will play a show in her current hometown of Nashville, Tenn. on Nov. 12, to benefit Musicians on Call. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.