Lennon Stella is not like everybody else – and she can’t wait to let the world know it.
With a debut studio album approaching, the 20-year-old singer is ready to define her sound among a crowded field of pop stars, and she’s happy to be crooning about, well, being happy. It’s a change of pace for Stella, who first explored her solo music career post-with decidedly melancholic tunes.
“It’s so funny, because I didn’t realize that a common theme [for me] was, like, ‘sad girl songs,'” Stella jokes. “But here I am, singing a happy song.”
What’s changed for the Canadian artist? A healthy, two-way relationship that she wants to now embrace since it’s a concept that seemed so unfathomable prior to linking up with her boyfriend, model Jegor Venned.
“It’s just very respectful and just, like, nice and pure and honest,” says Stella of her new romance. “It just feels completely different than anything I’ve ever experienced in just human connection.”
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Fans can track the star’s headspace in the honest, emotional tracks she’s released thus far: someone treated her bad, she broke away and then kissed other people. Follow along all the way to her single ” Golf on TV,” released last month, and Stella remarks about stability and having someone who wants her back.
“No games,” Stella says of her relationship, adding: “I think having none of that, and it’s just direct and honest and true admiration for each other, it’s so nice. Everybody needs it.”
Though she isn’t calling it quits on the occasional sorrowful song, she’s all-in on vocalizing lyrics of happiness among her range of emotions.
“It feels so nice to sing about something that’s healthy and pure,” says Stella. “… It’s a message that is sweet to spread to anyone, but especially to young people around my age – it’s just like, ‘Okay, cool, healthy is cool,’ you know?”
Catch PEOPLE Now every weekday at 12:00 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on People.com or on the PeopleTV app on your favorite streaming device. Want even more? Check out clips from previous episodes of PEOPLE Now. RELATED VIDEO: Lennon Stella Reveals Sister Maisy Is Interested in Solo Career and Teases ‘Inevitable’ Duet RELATED: Lennon Stella Is Ready for Something Different with New Music: I’m ‘Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone’
Since her small-screen tenure on Nashville – the TV drama that made up about six years of her childhood starting at age 12 – Stella has charted her way to a budding solo career that has already seen the star open for The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer on tour and collaborate with the likes of Meghan Trainor and Liam Payne.
When PEOPLE caught up with Stella a year ago, when she had her first-ever EP called Love, Me already under her belt, the performer said finding her way in the industry would be about following her heart – and not confining herself.
“I don’t want to lock myself into some sort of persona,” she said last March. “Everyone changes and you have to stay true to that. You never want to be something that you are not.”
Fast forward to today, and Stella, on her album Three. Two. One, is gearing up to bask in her current state of contentment and happiness: “I can’t wait,” she says of the forthcoming album, out April 24. “It’s been a long time coming.”