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Fergie Talks Getting Deeply Emotional for Double Dutchess — and 4-Year-Old Axl's Adorable Cameo!

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Double Dutchess is here — and it’s been 11 years in the making.

The follow up to Fergie‘s smash hit 2006 debut album The Dutchess brings with it an array of songs, styles, and feelings that showcase all areas of the singer’s brain.

“It’s been 11 years since I released an album so I felt like it was time to show all the parts — intimate, fun, laughing, crying,” Fergie recently told PEOPLE at a VIP screening of her visual album in New York. “All of it. And this is the place for me to release what’s in my journals. I’ve been through a lot of experiences in life and I felt like why not share them?”

The singer dug deep for the 13 song outing, going back through all the emotions she felt too “selfish” to express on Black Eyes Peas‘ albums. When it came time to finally let them out, she saw a pattern in how similar feelings kept coming in and out in her journals.

“It’s crazy how you experience the same feelings but in completely different periods of your life,” she said. “I was compiling that, and I love to make a big splash — I’m a sucker for a dramatic moment. So if you’re gonna talk about a feeling, why not really talk about a feeling. When you think about a feeling it expands, so why not really go there.”

She certainly goes there, especially on tracks like “Love is Pain,” where her roaring vocals serve as an anchor for the album’s maelstrom of emotions. Though she has previously said the ballad was inspired by several relationships, it takes on a different meaning now after her recent split from husband Josh Duhamel after eight years of marriage.

On the timing of the split, Fergie admitted that it was “getting a little weird” for the two of them to pretend to still be together, but they’re still “great friends” and continue to co-parent 4-year-old Axl.

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And the little guy, who she laughingly refers to as “the literal sun I revolve around,” makes two separate appearances on the album. He adorably sings the opening lines to “Enchanté (Carine)” and makes a small cameo at the end of the visually arresting video for “A Little Work.”

“It was just really natural. We had planned to just film it whether he wanted to come or not — I just missed my son and wanted him to come to set!” Fergie said. “I was like, ‘Well, we can walk out of the church with him or not, depending on what mood Axl is in. If he’s crying and he doesn’t want to do it, then we wont do it!’ But he was completely into it, we just made it like a play date. We play all the time at home in several costumes per day, so for us it was just another activity. We have a lot of good times!”

Double Dutchess is out now.