Lea Michele Talks 'Louder' & Grieving Cory Monteith Through Music

What was supposed to be an exciting year for Lea Michele turned tragic when her longtime love, Cory Monteith, died suddenly in July 2013.

The “Glee” actress had finished work on her first solo album the month before, when her world was turned upside down.

Turning to music to help her through, Lea headed back into the studio with revered songwriter and performer Sia to both celebrate the love she had with Cory, and grieve his loss.

PHOTOS: Lea Michele & Cory Monteith - A Look Back

AccessHollywood.com sat down with Lea at a “Louder” listening party in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where Lea previewed her new music and shared details of her process. Here’s what she had to say:

On When She Knew She Wanted To Record An Album: “In 2012, I was really settled at ‘Glee,’ really settled in my personal life, and I thought, OK, I think I get ‘Glee’ well enough now, I know how to juggle that. It was like, I felt like I had one kid and I knew how to do that, so was like, OK, I’m ready to have another.”

The Roller Coaster Ride That Was 2013: “It was a very difficult year, but somehow, something beautiful came out of it… [‘Louder’] is really the story of the past two years of my life – the incredible, beautiful, happiest moments of my life, as well as the worst. My goal was to make an album that was honest and that was true to me. I didn’t record one word that I didn’t feel I could relate to.”

READ: Lea Michele - The Love I Had For Cory Morphed Into The Strength I Have Now

Why “You’re Mine” Is Her Favorite Song On The Album: “It was written by Sia and when she played me the song, I was like, this is so weird. I think that she’s a psychic little magical elf. It was as if she wrote every single word based on my life. It’s really about making that commitment in a relationship. At the beginning, being scared to take the leap, but once you take it, committing yourself to another person and saying, ‘This is it.’ I’m so grateful to get to say that I experienced true love. And I think that a lot of people, unfortunately, don’t. They’ll go a whole lifetime without experiencing it. And I did, and I consider myself so lucky that I got to. And when I listen to ‘You’re Mine,’ it takes me back to the best time in my life. So whenever I need to remember that, I play that song. I think that’s the power of music. It’s therapy and it gives you whatever you need in that moment. It’s really been the greatest medicine for me.”

On Hearing “Cannonball” For The First Time: “[Sia] played it for me and I literally keeled over because grief is a very scary thing and there comes a point where it can really take you down. And when I heard ‘Cannonball,’ it literally lifted me up. It was what I needed to get me through my difficult situation. And I begged her… I was like, ‘Sia, can I please have this song?’ And she just said, ‘It’s yours.’ I really hope that it helps people in the way that it helped me… A lot of people don’t know how to touch this situation – it’s like walking on eggshells. So I felt ‘Cannonball’ was the perfect first single because it kind puts it all out there. It’s like, this is really hard, we’re not denying that it’s hard, we’re gonna get through it. So it just made sense to be the first single.”

What’s She’s Learned Through Tragedy: “If I’ve learned anything from the past year, it’s that you have one life. And I didn’t really understand what that really meant until recently. You have to live your life to the fullest. You have to love as hard as you can love and live as hard as you can live, because we just have one life.”

“Louder” is streaming in full on iTunes, and will be released on March 3.

-- Erin O’Sullivan

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