"I've always wanted to pursue music but it was never encouraged or supported," Chrissy Metz tells PEOPLE

Chrissy metz
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If beat-heavy bangers and boozy tunes on mainstream country radio are the soundtracks of a Saturday night, then the playlists on Chrissy Metz's new Apple Music Country radio show are the calls to worship on Sunday mornings.

Interviews filled with faith confessions meet playlists of empowerment anthems in Country Faith Radio hosted by Metz, the actress best known for making fans feel their feelings on NBC's This Is Us.

"I get to merge my love for country music and worship music, but also talk to country artists who have a faith, a clear connection with their higher power," she tells PEOPLE about her two-hour shows, which are released every Sunday.

The radio show is not only her platform to share some of her favorite Christian crossovers, but it is also her forum to play songs from up-and-coming country artists, including her own music. (She made her country awards show debut at last year's ACMs with her Oscar-nominated song "I'm Standing with You" from the Breakthrough film soundtrack.) In the first episode of Country Faith Radio, Metz includes her lead single "Talking to God," the lyrics inspired by deeply personal prayers and retrospective conversations.

"I know that people aren't going to church, or they're not able to commune with their fellows and have fellowship," Metz says of the restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "Not only is music such a communal thing and there's so much fellowship in it, but it also really is a religious experience, whatever it is that you believe in. It really brings people together, and it's such a universal language."

The star, who grew up going to church and singing in the school choir in Florida, has been recording her radio episodes and working on her debut album in Nashville, her second home when she isn't filming This Is Us in Los Angeles.

"I've always wanted to pursue music but it was never encouraged or supported. So now I'm old enough to say like, 'Yeah, I got to give this a go. I have to at least try to do what it is that I've always wanted to do,' " she says.

Proving that a music career can be pursued at any age, the "Feel Good" singer, who turns 40 on Sept. 29, says the downtime during the pandemic has been productive and creatively exciting. "The album is almost finished. We're still writing some songs to see if we like those better than the other ones," she says.

And similar to the mix of sounds on her radio show, she's not boxing her music in just one genre. "I'm not just one thing. None of us are just one thing," she explains. "I'm influenced by so many different genres of music, and grew up listening to Motown, then a lot of the classic country. It's super fun for other people to see that yes, I'm in the country genre, but that country is influenced by so many types of genres and different music."

Fans got to know Metz after she released her memoir, This Is Me, in 2018. But she says she has more to share in her forthcoming music projects. "This album chronicles my last 13 years in moving out to L.A., pursuing acting, heartbreak, loss and love. It's definitely written from the truest, authentic place. I'm definitely going to be very real, very me, and honest," she promises.

It's just the beginning for Metz's music career and she'll be the first to admit that she's still finding her voice and confidence.

"I definitely get nervous, and I haven't figured it out. I feel like I'm learning not only on my feet, but in front of people. So yeah, it's just so new to me. It's just something that I have wanted for so long, but I haven't been opening at dive bars for other acts for 10 years, 12, 15 years," she says.

"I've been putting in the time, the work, the blood, sweat, and the tears, but I haven't done it discreetly, and now I'm sort of in the public eye doing it all. So I just have to continue to be gentle and kind to myself, and just enjoy it, just enjoy the process as opposed to picking it apart and feeling like, 'If I don't do this, and I don't accomplish this, then it's not worth anything.' "