NEW YORK - After an eight-year absence from the music industry, actress and singer Hilary Duff released her fifth studio album last week, "Breathe In. Breathe Out," an upbeat dance album that touches on themes of self-discovery, romance and failed love.
The former child star who shot to fame as the titular character in the Disney Channel's "Lizzie McGuire" in 2001, has married, had a son and split from hockey player Mike Comrie since the release of "Dignity" in 2007.
"Metamorphosis," her second album released in 2003, sold nearly 4 million copies in the U.S. and topped the Billboard 200.
Despite a lengthy break and starring in the comedy/drama "Younger" on the cable network TV Land, Duff, whose record sales top 15 million worldwide, said she always knew she would go back to making music.
"It wasn't the right time until it was, until I was inspired and felt like I had something to say," she said in an interview.
With 12 tracks and collaborations with English singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran and Swedish pop star Tove Lo, Duff, 27, said "Breathe In. Breathe Out" is her most personal album to date.
The Texas native spent a year in the studio trying to find the right sound for the album that started out as more of a folksy pop record and changed just as she did.
"I feel like it was a big growing process. It took a lot to find myself in the studio again," she said. "I'm an adult now and I was a kid before."
"Sparks," the first single from the album, is a catchy pop song with a repeating whistle sound.
"You can promise castles, treasures, babies. I don't care. Cause right now you're just enough for me I want you near," she says in the lyrics.
Duff regards the title track, "Breathe In. Breathe Out," as sort of her mantra.
"It's something that really helps me and I think we all should remember to make all of those breaths count, through the good times and the bad times," she explained.
Every song on the album, from the hopeful love tune "Night Like This" to the break-up song "One in a Million" and the love tune "Confetti," have a special meaning for her.
"Everything on the record I connect to, whether I wrote it or I didn't, it grabbed me in a certain way and I wanted to tell the stories," she said.