Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo says her debut album Ch. 1 Vs. 1 is her “way to mark the beginning of [her] journey” as a singer.

“It’s the first time I’ve been able to give something of this nature to people,” Erivo tells ABC Audio. “And I wanted it to not just speak for the beginning, but a continuation of something. You begin at a chapter, but it doesn’t end there.”

On her 12-track album, Erivo does not hold back from sharing her real-life experiences. In the song “You’re Not Here,” the singer opens up about her distant relationship with her father. Erivo admits it was an emotional record to make, sharing that she was “crying at the end of the song.”

“It’s a song about…how I was feeling at that time and the things I had been through,” she says. “And it just was a way to express something that I hadn’t been dealing with.”

The Tony-award winner says making music is also very similar to a musical production, noting that she’s used her personal ballads as a cathartic outlet.

“Writing in music is often a way to sort of speak the things that you can’t say with your words. It’s like a musical. When you go to a musical, people often are like, ‘Why are they singing all of a sudden?’ It’s often because words aren’t enough anymore, sentences aren’t enough anymore,” she explains. “The only thing left to do is to sing…Because it’s another level of honesty.”

Erivo continues, “”You’re Not Here” is…a really tough song to sing sometimes because it brings back memories. But it’s a song that I’m really proud of writing.”

Ch. 1 Vs. 1 is now available for purchase.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.