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  [Interview] Hilary On Letting Go Of Lizzie & Her Comeback
 

The ’00s icon dishes all about her brand new album Breathe In. Breathe Out., and her plans to hit the road on tour this winter (including some *secret* shows).

It’s been a while since we were blessed with an album from Hilary Duff, but after eight excruciatingly long years, the wait is finally over! The Disney Channel icon and Walking Queen is finally back with Breathe In. Breathe Out., an electrifying pop album that will bring you right back to those glory days of binge-watching Lizzie McGuire while singing “Come Clean” into a hairbrush.

We were lucky enough to have the mega-talented actress and singer stop by to dish all about her new album and answer some questions straight from the BuzzFeed Community. Here’s what went down.

When did you realize you had a passion for singing, and what made you decide to come back to music?
I always loved music, but I wanted obviously to be an actress. I was filming Lizzie McGuire for two years — we did like 65 episodes in two years. So after that I was like, ah, I gotta do something to not be Lizzie McGuire. And I loved her! And it was all good. But I was, like, just tired of doing the same thing every day, all day.

And I obviously loved Britney Spears, and I was like, I wanna be just like her! And I started singing. I started trying to sing, you know — getting vocal lessons and stuff like that. And that’s how it started.

So I wouldn’t say I had a passion at a young age, but I got it, and then I got the bug big-time. And then I got really lucky. But it’s something I have to work on all the time. I don’t always feel like, you know, a natural singer. It’s something that I work on to be good at. And I love it though, you know? And taking my break — I toured for four years and put four records out and was just kinda burnt out on everything. I took a big break and it wasn’t until really three years ago that I got the itch again. I feel like I finally lived through some shit and had some things to say, and it felt like the right time.

What inspired your shift from a folk pop record to a synthpop record?
You know, when I first started making this record and writing, I don’t really think the subject matter’s changed. It’s always been pretty personal stuff. But yeah, the sound definitely changed. And it was just like trying on a bunch of outfits. I hadn’t really sang in a really long time, so getting in the studio, I thought I wanted to do like a folky-pop vibe, and then it shifted into something else and something else and something else. And I was like, I wanna dance, and I wanna have fun! It was honestly like trying on outfits and figuring out what was making me the most happy.

What happened to “This Heart”? Is it going to be released on the next album or this era?
Aw. That is the song I wrote for Luca. And it has one of my favorite lyrics of all time in it. Part of the bridge is like, “We burn the toast, and we fan the smoke, and we laugh and feed the crumbs to the birds.” And it’s like one of my favorite things ever.

It happened one Sunday and it was just me and him, and I had, like, not been to the grocery store and I had been working like crazy, I had literally toast. And I burnt the shit out of it. And then I’m like, ahh, why this morning?! You know.

And we crumpled it all up and took it outside and sprinkled it all over and birds were like — it was one of my best, best memories with him. And the song just didn’t fit the record. He doesn’t really inspire my music. People are like, “Oh, since you’ve become a mom, how does he inspire you?” And I’m like, “He inspires me every day just because he’s my kid.” And he’s definitely changed me as a person, and I have a lot more confidence that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have him and I hadn’t become a mother. But you know, it’s a pop record. And I hope to sing that song maybe someday to him onstage live, you know? Or share it somehow. But it didn’t make the cut.

You were in the studio on and off quite a bit in the eight years between Dignity and BIBO — is there a hard drive somewhere with all the songs that never went anywhere?
Yeah. There are so many! Even for this record I think I did like 30 songs or something. And obviously, you know, 14 of them get used. There’s a lot of crap, and there’s a lot of good things that didn’t make it. But sometimes it’s fun to revisit things with a new producer or a new writer, you know, keep them around for the idea of it, shift it and change it somehow. It’s funny ‘cause sometimes my poor friends, I make them listen to, like, all the songs I write, all the demos, everything I cut. Some of it’s really bad, but when you’ve been in the studio all day and you’re trying to create something, you convince yourself it’s good, and then a week later you’re like, that’s terrible.

But they have to be the guinea pig and listen to all of it, so I’m very appreciative. But they get hooked on it too, and they’ll be like, “Why didn’t ‘Outlaw’ make it? I’m so pissed!” So I have to give it to them somehow so I don’t have to hear about it! (laughs) It’s tough to make those calls — what makes a record and what doesn’t. Because you do have certain connections to songs.

What advice would you give to young women who are struggling to choose their own path?
I love that question. I think I still struggle with that, you know? I know the pressures of what society thinks is a good choice to make, or what your family thinks are choices that you should make — it’s a lot of pressure. I think that as long as you’re doing the work on yourself and constantly checking in with yourself, and being aware of what makes you happy and what you’re good at — and being realistic in knowing what you’re good at—and making sure you’re working hard. You know yourself the best, and you know your path.

Trying to just be confident in making choices that make you happy — healthy choices too! — is the way to go. And kind of like, unapologetically doing that, you know?

Which is hard. And it’s easier said then done. And I still struggle with stuff personally or with work every day. But that’s how you grow, you know?

Will you be going on tour soon to promote your new album?
I’m so excited to go on tour. I wish that I knew when I could go on tour, but it will probably be after Christmas at some point, because I start shooting the second season of Younger in September, we’re done in December, and then hopefully after that.

I might do some sneaky, like, pop-up tours right before the season starts, if I have time to get prepared. I think I’d do one in New York and one in L.A. I’m not promising it’s gonna be any good! (laughs) But I’d like to just sing the songs.

Bonus: In celebration of her new song “Confetti,” we had Duff surprise-confetti-bomb a few people around the BuzzFeed NY office. Needless to say, it was really damn hilarious.

Breathe In. Breathe Out. is available now on iTunes!

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