After a seven-year hiatus from music, Hilary Duff is back on the scene with her breezy new single "Chasing the Sun," plucked from her upcoming fifth album.
Her decision to revisit the business of melodies cropped up, she said, while she was expecting her 2-year-old son Luca with now-estranged husband Mike Comrie.
"I was about to give birth, I was actually pregnant, and I had two months to go ... and I just started writing a lot out of nowhere," she revealed during Billboard's "Pop Shop" podcast Thursday.
"I don't know if it was because I was all hormonal and emotional, but I started writing and I took it as a sign that I'm missing that part of my life."
Between then and now, Duff found songwriting inspiration in her marital life as well. Duff, 26, and Comrie, 33, who were married in 2010, announced their split in January. Despite the pair's mutual decision on an amicable split, Duff says it's "been a very difficult thing to go through."
Even with the separation, the former "Lizzie McGuire" star and the NHL center continue to see each other, not only for the benefit of their son but also for themselves. "We have a lot of love for each other and we have this beautiful baby," Duff said.
All of these feelings, particularly those toward Comrie, are addressed on the as-yet-untitled album. "Maybe we're not meant to be together, or maybe we are," the singer-songwriter said of a certain track. "It's very, very personal."
In the beginning stages of its creation, Duff's album was "a lot heavier and a lot darker because I think I just needed to get [my feelings of separation] out, and once I did get that out, a lot of fun came," she said.
One highlight materialized when she had the chance to collaborate with British pop sensation Ed Sheeran, a "musical genius" in Duff's eyes.
"He was great, and when he heard I wanted to record the song ['Tattoo'], he's like, 'I really want to be there and produce the vocals,'" Duff remembered. "He followed me in the vocal booth and that's not so normal. You're in there by yourself .... And he sits down and he's like 'OK, so we're going to record like this and I like to do it line by line. We're going to do it about six times.' "
Mm-hmm, just a little scary, Duff recalled.