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We’ve known her for over a decade, from the TV screen to our music playlists, but now she’s letting us in more than ever before.

Laura Marano continues to feed her fans with project after project, and we could not be more thankful for it. This time, however, things are even better. For the first time, Marano is releasing a full body of work. Her debut album, I May Be an Actress, But I Can’t Fake How I Feel, is a 23-track project that includes her most powerful, vulnerable, and impressive work yet.

“I have a lot of walls up that are there for a variety of reasons; but with this album, I am so honest and personal,” Marano tells Pop Crave. “I truly just put my entire heart into all 23 songs, because I really wanted to share it with my fans.”

Playing on her career as both a singer and actress, Marano’s record pays homage to Hollywood glamour and opens up about her experiences of being in the industry over all these years. There is so much beauty in being a heartfelt and passionate storyteller, which is exactly why Marano’s debut album shines so bright amongst the plethora of projects released by other artists this year.

“Someday,” Marano’s latest single off the album, is a perfect example of her ability to connect with listeners on both an emotional and relatable level. The track is described by Marano as “fairly brutal” in its vulnerability, and it’s also one of the songs that she helped produce herself.

Pop Crave was honored to chat with Laura Marano in celebration of her debut album, I May Be an Actress, But I Can’t Fake How I Feel. Marano discussed the inspiration behind her new project, which songs she’s the proudest of, and her gratitude toward the fans that are embracing her new music. Keep reading for the full interview!

Hi Laura! Congratulations on all the massive success going on in your career right now. I’m so excited for the release of your debut album, I May Be an Actress, But I Can’t Fake How I Feel. How did the initial brainstorming for this album title come about?

Thank you so, so much! Truly, thank you for your support.

I think I finally knew I wanted to release an album while writing for my last EP. I couldn’t stop writing, and the timing felt right. I didn’t fully know the album would become what it is now. That came a little later.

The title of your debut album taps into you being both a musician and actress. How would you say your two careers impact one another when it comes to your creative process for both?

Well, I always say, acting allows me to learn empathy while music allows me to process my own feelings. This album, however, my two careers overlapped creatively more than ever. With music, I first and foremost write about my life – what’s exciting me, what’s painful, essentially whatever I’m feeling or going through. That heavily includes the acting part of my life. I have been acting since I have been five. I consistently meet people in the film and television industry who are older than me, and yet have been in the industry for less years than I have. I think, for this album at least, I really decided to process what it’s like to be in the industry for that long and write songs about that.

“Brand New Heart” is a fantastic track! What was it about this song that made you choose it as a single?

Aww, thank you! I definitely feel it’s one of the most upbeat songs (if not the most upbeat song) on the album, and I think where it comes in the tracklist makes it feel extra impactful. I love this song so much, and to be honest, a big reason I planned on releasing it before the album came out was that it was part of another project of mine that I couldn’t (and still can’t) talk about. So, I wanted it to be out for people to enjoy!

What’s your favorite lyric from “Brand New Heart”?

“Got scars, but I wear ‘em like a trophy.” I love what it means, plus that line just always feels good to sing.

How would you say you’ve evolved as an artist since your debut EP, ME?

I think I feel way more comfortable writing by myself now. I used to write by myself all the time, and then for years I did co-writes (which I do still love). I wrote 10 of the 23 songs by myself, and I honestly loved it.

What’s been your favorite music video to shoot throughout your career?

This is so hard! I have a few: “Boombox” will always be up there for me, “Let Me Cry” and “F.E.O.U.” were also fun (and couldn’t be more different from each other), and then I think “Arrow” and “Someday” are my favorites from this era… but I genuinely love most of my music videos!

A large part of your fanbase has been following you for over a decade now! How does it feel to have such dedicated fans who have watched you grow as both an artist and a person over all these years?

I am honestly so grateful. I also feel the responsibility to give my fans the best parts of myself that I can offer. The thing is, with this album, I realized that maybe the best parts of me to offer are the parts that are the scariest to give. I’m usually not very vulnerable when it comes to my public image (and even personally, to be honest). I have a lot of walls up that are there for a variety of reasons; but with this album, I am so honest and personal. I truly just put my entire heart into all 23 songs, because I really wanted to share it with my fans.

“Powerless” is one of my favorite songs off the album! How did a collaboration with Abigail Barlow come about, and what was it like to work with her on the track?

Abigail Barlow is a literal goddess, and I am truly obsessed with her. I have to say, I feel very grateful to know so many insanely talented women and be able to work with them. I honestly was a fan of Abigail’s and I legitimately just dmed her. I told her I was a fan, and I wanted to collab with her… and the rest is history. Working with her was so seamless. We literally just texted each other ideas, and she recorded it, and it was all literally brilliant.

Is there a song off your debut album that you’d say you’re the proudest of?

I am so proud of the interludes, solely because I really decided to just do exactly what the producer and I wanted to do with them, no matter how weird our ideas were. If we wanted to record vocals in a bathroom, we did it. If we wanted to record it raining outside and add it to the background of one track, we did it. It felt so creatively free. I’m also immensely proud of “Someday” which I helped produce.

Which song would you say is the most emotionally vulnerable off the album?

Ooh, this is a tough one! I would say most of the interludes (if not all of them) are pretty vulnerable, but “Someday” and “Collateral Damage” are fairly brutal as well.

The promotional photos and cover art for your debut album are largely inspired by old Hollywood glamour. Who are some of the actresses of that time period that you feel most inspired by?

I think Audrey, Marilyn, and Liz might be my top three, but Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and Vivian Leigh are also three women I admire so much.

You recently announced that you’ll be performing in Mexico City on November 27! How excited are you to visit your fans there?

I am so excited to meet my fans there! I basically wanted to organize an album listening party with fans, and that’s exactly what I’m doing! It’s going to be a really intimate event, and I truly cannot wait to celebrate my album with my fans there in person!

Along with Mexico City, your fans from across the globe are wondering if a new tour will be announced with the release of your debut album. Is another full tour potentially on the horizon?

I loved touring so much, so I truly am dreaming about when I can do it again; however, I also feel my body and brain telling me I need to take a break. I definitely don’t want to plan a tour and not be able to execute it because I’m not in the right mental and physical form. I think what this album has taught more than anything is that it’s okay to take a moment, take care of yourself, and reflect.

Laura Marano’s debut album, I May Be an Actress, But I Can’t Fake How I Feel, is out now.