Lucy Hale moved to L.A. when she was 16 to become a musician, not an actress. But fate had other plans for her, and the Pretty Little Liars star doesn’t seem to have any regrets, especially now that she’s finally come back to her first love. With the release of her debut country album Road Between right around the corner, Lucy talked to Billboard about how Pretty Little Liars has prepared her for launching this album.

“I started out in music and never in a million years thought I'd be acting and on a TV show,” Lucy admitted. “I'm very fortunate for the way it panned out. If anything, it's helped me develop a strong work ethic and a thick skin. I don't think I could've made this album without having that grounded-ness, and be willing to take criticism. You're going to get reviews left and right on opposite ends of the spectrum. It's helped me find myself and find my voice and handle everything that's about to happen.”

Of course, it hasn’t just been Pretty Little Liars that has given Lucy the life experience needed to release this album. The singer also talked about how her initial time in Los Angeles has shaped her: “I thought I'd move out there, get a record deal, be touring by the time I was 17, and clearly that's not what happened,” Luce explains. “I'm so grateful for the time. I wouldn't have had any life experiences to draw from. I would've been micro-managed and felt like a robot. There are the rare occasions like Lorde and Taylor Swift — they had a sense of self and I really didn't have a sense of self that young. Just now at 24, I'm sure of who Lucy is.”

We can’t wait to find out more about who Lucy is with the release of her album! Road Between drops on June 3, and is available for pre-order on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars Season 5 premiere on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!