Before Keke Palmer dealt with the Chanels on Scream Queens, she starred on Nickelodeon's True Jackson, VP, which followed an ambitious 15-year-old working in fashion design. Acting wasn't Palmer's only gig, though. She revealed Sunday (June 26) that she wrote her second album, Waited to Exhale, while on set.
Now, a full five years after True wrapped in 2011, fans can finally hear this record for free on SoundCloud. [Note: Nickelodeon and MTV News are both owned by Viacom.] Palmer shared the previously unreleased songs with a powerful letter about how the entertainment industry affected her.
"It was my anxiety and depression that stopped me from investing in myself," Palmer wrote on Instagram. "I thought I was a failure because I didn't fit into any of the boxes that my label wanted for me to fit in. I've always been an individual, but I wasn't always proud."
Palmer opened up even more on her website, writing about her "poor experience" with record labels and the music business "turning its back on [her]."
"I allowed people to make me believe that being an artist meant having big budget music videos and big record producers backing you," she explained. "When in reality, all being an artist means is to be fearless in your creative pursuits. My anxiety, caused by the habit of unconsciously holding my breath, coupled with the stress of my personal life at that time, created a lot of hard years of depression for me."
She ended with some inspiring words of advice: "You must believe in the dark so when the light comes on everything is seen clearly."
That tendency to hold her breath, by the way, is what inspired the record's title. Listen to the full album below.