"It was a challenge I never knew I would have to figure out and have the expertise for in my life," the two-time nominee joked

By Morgan Smith
September 16, 2020 10:20 PM
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Lindsay Ell finished her sophomore album, heart theory, amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking to Jeremy Parsons for PeopleTV's Red Carpet Live: 55th Academy of Country Music Awards pre-show, the country singer revealed she recorded vocals and guitar parts at home in Nashville over Facetime with producer Dann Huff.

“It was a challenge I never knew I would have to figure out and have the expertise for in my life,” Ell, 31, said. “It’s amazing what technology can really do, and what we can really accomplish even in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Ell will compete for her first two American Country Music awards ever during Wednesday night's ceremony: Vocal Event of the Year, for her "What Happens in a Small Town" collaboration with Brantley Gilbert, and New Female Artist of the Year.

Check out PEOPLE's full ACM Awards coverage to get the latest news on one of country music's biggest nights.

Lindsay Ell
Jason Davis/Getty

The Canada native is beloved by fans for her vulnerable songwriting and energetic stage presence. In July, she released an emotional ballad titled "make you" in which she reveals she was sexually assaulted as a young teen.

"It's gonna make you hate yourself / When you didn't hate yourself at all / It's gonna make you build a fortress / Where you never had a wall," she sings on the track, which was co-written with country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark.

"I was raped when I was 13, and it happened again when I was 21," Ell told PEOPLE at the time. "The song only talks about the first time. It's just a difficult thing to talk about, and it's something that I process every day still."

Ahead of the ACMS, Ell mentioned she’s received “an absolutely incredible” response to the song. “After releasing this song, I got thousands of DMs from fans wanting to share their stories with me, sometimes for the very first time, and that is not something I take lightly at all because I know how much courage it took me to be able to talk about my story,” she said.

Ell also launched the Make You Movement charity fund to support survivors of sexual abuse and trauma to help other survivors “feel that they’re not alone.”

“I truly feel that sexual violence is something that happens far more in our society than any of us want to admit, it is a very difficult thing to talk about sometimes,” she said.

Though the ceremony is totally virtual this year, Ell said she’s still “honored” to be nominated and excited to cheer on her peers.

She added: “I truly feel that country music is just this community and a family and it’s really amazing to be able to have award shows like the ACMS where we just get to celebrate each other.”

This year's ACM Awards will air from Nashville on Sept. 16 from 8-11 p.m. on CBS. Join our correspondent Jeremy Parsons from 7-8 p.m. for PeopleTV Red Carpet Live: 55th Academy of Country Music Awards, featuring interviews with nominees and performers backstage from the famous Grand Ole Opry, as well as an interview with Urban.