Check out three exclusive tracks and what the artist has to say about them

By Tiffany McGee
Updated June 17, 2008 11:15 AM

PEOPLE is giving you a sneak preview of Oscar-nominee Terrence Howard’s debut album, Terrence Howard – Me and the Band of Kings, before it hits stores September 2.

The album, the actor’s first foray into music, is a mix of soft pop-rock and jazzy tunes that Howard wrote (or co-wrote) about love, relationships and self reflection, and even features Howard playing the guitar on some tracks.

“Music has always been the road that leads to where I’m headed. Film is my vocation, my 9 to 5. In the movies, I’m doing what somebody else is asking me to do,” Howard explains. “Music is my own personal form of expression. My responsibility, like the sun’s, is to shine. Even if the planet is covered with clouds, I must say what I have to say.”

Listen to ‘Love Makes You Beautiful’ here:
Inspired by the mere act of being in love, “Love Makes You Beautiful,” is a song the budding musician wrote while watching various people of all shapes and sizes in relationships. “If we can personify love in our nature,” Howard says. “We can touch something that’s dead and bring it back to life.”

Listen to ‘Shine Through It’ here:
The second song, the soulful “Shine Through It,” is “about allowing ourselves to experience the light of spirituality.”

Listen to ‘Sanctuary’ here:
And finally, the last track, “Sanctuary” was inspired by a coincidental meeting with Seal and Heidi Klum at a Hollywood party, says Howard.

He was so impressed by the level of commitment in their relationship that he wrote the song, which includes the lyrics, “Living like a Casanova was living/Feeling unsure but no one was missing/Then you called/And you found me/Heading on out to where I was restless And it’s alright if part of the time/You’ve been looking for me.”