Lana Condor is ready to show her fans the real her — through music.
On her new song, titled "For Real," the actress sings about having confidence in a relationship even when she's away from her partner.
Based around a journal entry Condor had written while traveling for work, the song was inspired by the balancing act she does managing both her career and her relationship with musician Anthony De La Torre.
"I've been in a pretty serious relationship for five years now, and whenever I travel I have to leave him. I always have a lot of anxiety about going off and leaving my home," she tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I had just written down this journal entry about my feelings of going back to work as things start to shoot again, and my anxieties about leaving my boyfriend and about starting life up again, especially in this insane year that we've been having."
"Leaving stability to go off on your own is an amazing thing, but coming back home, at least for me, is the most exciting part," Condor adds.
The actress has grown used to playing other people on film and says she wanted a creative outlet to showcase her own voice and "share her heart."
"In acting, you give up a lot of control being at the mercy of the writers and the producers and the directors and and the studio," she says. "Music seems like a much more vulnerable, intimate experience. I can actually be truthful and hope that people will see who I really am and not the characters that I play."
"If there's anything we've learned in this year, it's that our individuality and our voices and what we believe in is more valid than anything," she continues. "If I can have someone relate to me through music like that, it will be fantastic."
While Condor has released a few duets with her boyfriend, she says she was inspired to tackle a song on her own as "a quarantine project that I could do in the safety of my home that just felt right."
"I mean, it seems so random, but I've always loved music," she explains. "My boyfriend is a musician and I've watched him navigate the music industry for years now, and I have always been very fascinated with it. I just felt like during quarantine, why not try something new if you love it?"
"When you're on the grind of the everyday work schedule, certain days I feel like I lose what it means to just be creative and artistic," Condor says of using this time stuck at home to be productive. "This forced stop we've all had to live out has really made me refocus on doing things that I actually want to do, that I love. Whether or not anyone's going to listen to it, it's more of just a really awesome creative outlet for myself."
Condor says she's inspired by artists like Halsey ("I met her one time and I nearly had a heart attack!") and Taylor Swift, and the "authenticity" they bring to their music. "Taylor's writing is very honest and almost like a diary entry, and when you listen to Halsey's music you feel like you know her and know her heart. I want to be that comfort for other people as she is to me."
Condor has "loved" spending almost every waking moment of the coronavirus pandemic at the Los Angeles home she shares with De La Torre and their dog—who is "like our child," she says—and reveals the entire experience has strengthened their relationship.
"I've actually really enjoyed it because I'm not traveling a lot, so I can actually sit down and create routine with him," she says. "In the past couple of years, being so busy in my career, there have been times I've put our relationship on the second burner and I haven't put enough attention into it. This is time that we've been able to kind of make up for it and be like, this is why we fell in love with each other in the first place."
Condor is currently in Canada doing reshoots for the third and final, To All The Boys... film, and says it's "tough" being away from her boyfriend for the first time in months.
"I know that seems like I'm obsessed with him, but I am!" she says. "I feel lucky to have him and have support, as I'm sure we all do during this time, because it is a lonely year. But when you have people that support you and love you, it makes things a little less scary."
While the star says she has a number of songs written that she hopes to release at some point, Condor's not ready to commit to a full collection — yet.
"People were talking about how they want an EP or an album, and I think that that's something that could definitely be in the works," she says. "But it's such a new career path that I am trying to just take it one day at a time because if there's anything that I learned, it's that tomorrow could be completely different than the moment we have right now."
"But I think anything's possible," she adds.
As for saying goodbye to the To All The Boys… franchise, Condor says the reshoots came as a surprise, but she's enjoying the extended time as Lara Jean Covey.
"It's bittersweet because I love this world more than anything and it opened so many doors for me," she says. "I shot the movies in very formative years of my life and it's made me who I am today. It's such a part of me, so it's emotional for me to talk about it ending because I don't want to believe that there's really an ending."
"The good thing is the movie isn't out yet," she adds, "so I can just kind of hold on to it for a while!"
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