Jeff Nelson
February 09, 2018 09:00 AM

Cam‘s comeback tour continues!

The country star released her latest single “Diane”a response to Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene” from the other woman’s perspective — in October. Now PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the music video for the empowering ABBA-meets-Fleetwood Mac stomper.

Cam (née Camaron Ochs) rose to fame in 2015 with her Grammy-nominated hit “Burning House.” The singer, 32, married beau Adam Weaver in September 2016, and she’s preparing her sophomore LP, due later this year. PEOPLE caught up with the singer about her “Diane” music video, why she took acting lessons for it — and how it includes parallels to women’s movements.

Cam at the CMA Awards (November 2017)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

“Diane” tells the story of a woman who finds out she’s in a relationship with a married man — and then she confesses to his wife. What was important to you to say in the video?

The general theme of women speaking to women and being honest in a really difficult situation that neither one of them chose. I wanted to make sure that a lot of people that have been through this feel like this wasn’t sensationalized — because this is a lot of people’s story. I’ve seen people in crowds now that sing the s— out of this song; they’re owning all these lyrics. So I wanted to get it right and make it raw and real and mean something. Actually, I took acting lessons to make sure I didn’t mess that up!

How did the acting lessons go?

I did a couple of them. Honestly, acting is basically like therapy: realizing how you feel in certain situations and what are the thoughts behind the different scenes. When I’m acting, what is it that anger feels like and what do you feel when you feel angry? And can I feel my throat starting to get tight, and can I feel my fist clench? And you recreate that feeling for yourself. You’re not saying, “I’m angry right now.” You really feel angry. It’s so interesting, coming from a research background on emotions and learning acting and what it means to really feel those emotions and how you identify them again for yourself so you can cause them to happen again, for you, in the situation.

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Before you pursued music, you worked in psychology research. How does that background inform your music and, especially, “Diane”?

I’m someone who is curious about emotions and what makes people behave the way they do. I think it’s like music. It’s really magical, and you can’t understand it, but there are pieces to it that we all sort of dive into and look past and try and give a clear picture of how we can, amidst all the craziness, try and treat ourselves and treat each other better.

The video is dramatic but believable. We see your character talking to her lover’s wife. How intense was that? What was going on behind the scenes?

The first time I met the actress that plays Diane was while the cameras were rolling, in that park scene, where I’m meeting her to give her the evidence [of the cheating]. I’m meeting her to give her that and tell her. So she’s walking up to me for the first time, with tears streaming out of her eyes, and she’s coming at me, and she goes — and you can’t hear the dialogue, but what she’s saying to me is, “Did you know he was married?” At one point she goes, “Did he tell you he loved you?” The whole thing was so intense.

And in the beginning, when I’m on the phone with Diane — in theory, you don’t need to be on the phone with anybody, but I actually did call her, and we were talking through the scene. If you’ve ever had to make a really difficult phone call, it hurts in your gut. That’s what good acting is. It’s just being in the moment so much that you forget there’s a camera around.

I’m so proud because it comes across as something that is beautiful but kind of hard to watch.

Cam in her "Diane" music video
RCA/Sony Music Nashville

I love the powder-pink suit at the 2-minute mark.

That’s so funny because I was actually talking about that suit so much. In those performances [onstage] when you’re looking at the camera, everybody wants you to be your most glam, “music” self or whatever — but the whole point of the story is to make sure it’s real. We didn’t want any clichés or stereotypes, like, “Wow, she dressed like the seductress or the hoe, and that’s why she is that one.”

In all the Hollywood movies, the wife dresses like this and acts like this. Those “traditional” roles, I didn’t want that. Clothes are part of this storytelling. For me to be out there in a power suit? I’m making this power move of doing the right thing and telling the truth. There’s something that that felt really powerful about that, and I wanted to make sure it was a bold statement.

The fashion in the whole video is pretty amazing.

It feels modern, but it kind of has this ’70s vibe, and the song has that too, sonically, but there’s something that’s really interesting about this ’70s theme and what’s going on right now with women and what happened with the ’70s women’s movements. It’s an interesting parallel — and it’s interesting that that’s happening again right now. It’s something I thought was fun to think about: where people have come from, moving forward but acknowledging the past.

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