Lindsay Ell has spent the last three years working on her album heart theory, that drops tomorrow, August 14. Writing and creating through her own, personal grief, the country artist discovered her new body of work was a testament to human strength and perseverance through the seven stages of grief. “it was about halfway through writing this record when I realized you I’m writing these songs in order of how I’m going through this time in my life right now… it became sort of my diary,” Lindsay revealed on the HollywoodLife podcast.
“I wrote the record in this order so fans can slowly hear me unravel through each track and know that if they’re looking for support or empathy, hopefully I can give them that,” she continued. “This is my journey and this is my process. If they go through that in their own life, then this is sort of my roadmap.”
While the seven stages of grief can sounds incredibly daunting and sad, Lindsay promised that the 12 tracks of heart theory can be put in the category of “sad bangers.” “When you hear something like the seven stages of grief you’re like, ‘Wow, this sounds so heavy,’ but we wanted this record to feel good. I wanted it to make you want to dance in your kitchen or your car, wherever,” she said. “The lyrics are heavier in some songs, but there’s a groove that makes you want to dance and that’s what I’ve built the whole record on… I wanted the songs to feed good and for you to listen to whole album and at the end say, ‘That was enjoyable.'”
One of those songs was one of Lindsay’s most personal of her career, titled “make you,” in which she revealed her personal trauma as a two-time sexual assault survivor. “By writing the song and by coming out with my story, it helped normalize the shame I felt,” Lindsay explained. “It’s so undetermined how every survivor finds that level of healing, but I think the first step starts with talking about it, and telling people you trust, going to professionals and just getting it out. Then, you can truly do the work, dig in normalize that shame.”
The “Criminal” singer revealed that she was inspired to talk about her sexual assault experience after visiting an organization called Youth For Tomorrow, that provides a safe space for young victims of sex trafficking and rape. “I walked away from thinking, ‘If I don’t talk about my story right now, I’m holding back the opportunity to help other little girls like that, or help little boys like that,” she said.
With the release of “make you,” Lindsay also launched her own foundation called the Make You Movement, under the auspices of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to support survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse and assist at-risk youth. Proceeds Lindsay’s single were donated to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) through the Make You Movement. “If I can do anything in my power to help them heal even a little bit quicker, then I’ll know I’ll be doing good,” Lindsay told HL.
Listen to our full podcast interview with Lindsay Ell here. Make sure you download her new album, heart theory, available on all streaming services August 14.
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If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.