When her boyfriend and fellow "Glee" star Cory Monteith died in July, Michele decided to put her album on hold, despite finishing it back in June. That's when she sat down with songwriter Sia to see if there was anything else she wanted to share when it comes out March 4.
"We just were talking and seeing if we wanted to add anything to the record," she told MTV News. "Cory had heard every song from the album, obviously with the exception of those two ['Cannonball' and 'If You Say So']. And I figured I had the opportunity, if I want to add anything, and we sat down and we came up with 'If You Say So,' which is a very, very, very personal, it's a very personal and it's a very intense song for me, that's one thing."
"And I just felt that 'Cannonball' was the perfect first song for people to hear from this record," she added. "It just really explains where I am right now and it's been such an inspirational song for me. It's been such a rock, such a source of strength for me."
She knew she needed to hit the studio one more time back in August to make "Cannonball" happen.
"[Sia] said to me 'How do you feel in this moment?' And I said 'I just feel like grief is the hardest thing in the whole world. And you have the opportunity, at a certain point, to either let it kind of take you down or try your best to rise,' " she recalled, admitting that her dad started crying in the studio. "And I said 'I need to get out and I need to move forward in his memory and do everything I can for him.' "
And if fans feel her emotions on "Cannonball," co-written by Sia with Benny Blanco and produced by Stargate, then it's because she feels such a strong connection to it.
"The minute I heard the song, I had a physical reaction to it. For me, it's been my strength," she said, "I listen to it every day. I know it was brought into my life for a reason. It's really been so helpful for me and I hope it's the same for other people as it's been for me."
While the lyrics about finding inner strength after a difficult experience mirror Michele's own life, she revealed that the song wasn't originally penned for her, but has since become her anthem.
"I think the great thing is that it's such a universal song; it certainly helped me with my loss that I'm dealing with," she said. "And I think it will translate and help people with whatever they need it for. I hope it gives them the strength that it's given me."