Exclusive: Lucy Hale Is Going Country On First Album

'I grew up in Tennessee, so that's always been my heart and soul,' the 'Pretty Little Liars' star tells MTV News.

"Pretty Little Liars" star Lucy Hale is expanding her horizons beyond her successful acting career and spreading her wings to (hopefully) soar into an equally successful music career.

The multitalented 23-year-old recently inked a recording deal with Hollywood Records, which is the same label that brought us the chart-topping vocal stylings of Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato.

MTV News was lucky enough to sit down with Hale recently for an exclusive chat about how she came to land a recording contract with Hollywood Records and what plans she has for her first album.

"Some people know, some people don't know: I grew up performing, I grew up singing, and I never knew which route I was going to take," said Hale, who first showcased her singing skills on the talent competition "American Juniors" in 2003. "Acting took off for a while and I booked ['Pretty Little Liars'], and I did a movie last year, 'Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song,' and I played a singer, and so that's sort of how Hollywood [Records heard me]."

Hale then landed a meeting with Hollywood Records head Ken Bunt, who was eager to work with her and wanted to make the music Hale was most passionate about.

"I told him [I wanted to sing] country, so I'm going to do a country/pop album, and I couldn't be more excited," she said. "I grew up in Tennessee, so that's always been my heart and soul. It's hard to come across a true country fan in L.A., but it's true that the fans are so loyal, once you're in their circle, you're in for your entire career. It just really speaks to me. Country music has so much soul and is so heartfelt. I think it's a perfect fit for me. I think it will surprise people."

So which country singers does Hale look to for inspiration?

"I love all [kinds of country artists], but comparing what my sound would be like? A Taylor Swift/ Carrie Underwood-ish hybrid? Obviously, I would kill to have their music careers," she said. "I'm not saying I will have that career, but sound-wise, I would say it's closest to that."

Look for Hale's first country album to hit the airwaves sometime next year.