Julianne Hough has returned to the music industry after nearly a decade.
The 31-year-old entertainer debuted her new song “Transform” during a performance on the season 14 finale of “America’s Got Talent” on Wednesday night.
The season 14 judge got out of her seat and hit the stage where she was joined by finalist V. Unbeatable for a dance performance.
“I couldn’t imagine a better stage,” Hough told People ahead of the finale. “This is where people’s lives begin, and I feel like I’m just getting started with my music again.”
Hough’s last song “Is That So Wrong” was released in 2010. The singer put dancing aside in 2008 when she released her self-titled debut album.
“To be able to release new music after 10 years of feeling like I suppressed it and pushed it away [and] to find it again in my most creative and authentic voice is super empowering,” Hough explained. “As much as I want people to hear it and I want to share it, it really was a love note to myself. Being connected back to the artist rather the performer of who I am. I’m really excited.”
Leading up to the performance, Hough shared her excitement on Instagram:
Following the song’s debut, Hough took to Instagram with a lengthy post to confess her past struggles with music. “At one point I actually just gave up on my music because I found myself constantly comparing myself to other artists,” Hough wrote. “Being the competitor I was, if I wasn’t winning, I was losing.”
Hough then explained how she overcame her obsession with caring about what other people think. “This is the first time I truly feel like an artist and not a performer simply because everything I’m saying is TRUTH.”
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When I started doing music 10 years ago, I was a performer by nature. I wanted to be on stage, I wanted to sing, I wanted to dance – I wanted to pour my heart out. And I did it, but there was always a piece that felt inauthentic, because I was just PUSHING to get people to LIKE and ACCEPT me. At one point I actually just gave up on my music because I found myself constantly comparing myself to other artists. Being the competitor I was, if I wasn’t winning, I was losing. If you/I looked at the reality of what was happening, I was absolutely crushing it. But that was that. I made the call and let music fall to the side – and in doing so, I abandoned the artist in me and went further and further into the performer. About two years ago something shifted. By doing the internal work that needed doing, I found myself (unintentionally!) connecting back to my artist. Just by simply owning all the “ugly” parts of my life. The second I started going into that black hole of what it all represented and really unpacking all of the survival tactics of protection – of not feeling hurt, or like a failure, or like a fraud, I finally got to feel what it truly felt like to be RAW and vulnerable and to see all of these parts for the first time with no judgement. For two years I have been picking those pieces up, nurturing them – and transforming them. I’m not trying to change who I am or suppress those parts of me anymore – but instead, I acknowledge them, take them and TRANSFORM them. As I was doing that in my daily life, I realized all of a sudden that my creativity, my life blood, the entire essence of WHO I AM was coming ALIVE. This is the first time I truly feel like an artist and not a performer simply because everything I’m saying is TRUTH – and I’m not afraid anymore if everyone will like it because it’s just, ME!! it makes me smile it makes me feel alive I actually feel ALIVE. I’m so excited to share this part of me with all of you, this is gonna be so much fun – and it’s just the beginning! Only love and truth, Julianne #TRANSFORM photography @brianbowensmith creative direction @hello_gambles
Listen to Julianne Hough’s “Transform” here.