Jennifer Nettles also opened up to PEOPLE about the highs and lows of motherhood
On Friday, the Grammy winner — and one half of country duo Sugarland — released the clip, which focuses on women coming together. The visuals for “I Can Do Hard Things” feature several women discussing their personal stories over Nettles’ soaring vocals.
The music video serves as an “inspiration and call to action,” as Nettles explained to PEOPLE. In addition to the powerful words shared by the singer and other women in the video, the song itself features a passage that touches on the lessons she’s learned about motherhood.
“In the second verse, I talk about becoming a mother and what a major learning curve that was,” Nettles, who is mom to 6-year-old son Magnus, tells PEOPLE. “I say in that verse, ‘I’ve gained joy that I’ve never learned but lost the lightness of when I was a girl,’ and that is because you have two hearts. You’re heavier when you are carrying around an extra heart that you are responsible for.”
Nettles, 44, confessed that motherhood hasn’t always been the easiest road. “Yes, becoming a mother is so joyous, but at the same time there are ways it isn’t better, either,” she confessed.
While she has found motherhood to be difficult at times, Nettles feels that her new music video can act as a lesson not only to women, but also to her own son.
“Love is most important and love is never wrong,” she says. “As parents we want to shield our children from all the hard things, and the reality is we are not going to be able to. We can teach them they can go through the fire and that they have the strengths and the skills to do the hard things when they come up.”
To amplify the female call to action, Nettles asked seven women to share different yet inspirational journeys in the video, directed by former PEOPLE visual projects editor Katie Kauss and edited by director of photography Alex Chaloff. “What we found is there are so many fantastic stories,” Nettles said. “This is just the beginning of the conversation.”
The group of seven women, which included journalist Holly Gleason and Ali Harnell, the new President of Live Nation’s Woman Nation, spoke out in both the music video (and an accompanying PSA) about their struggles and stories, ranging from the trials of single motherhood, navigating male-dominated careers and caring for the disabled.
Gleason opened up about her role in the #MeToo movement after experiencing a sexual assault. “I was blown away by her bravery,” Nettles said of Gleason’s personal story.
In making the video, Nettles hopes to highlight a clear — and positive — message to women. “I think there is power in community and in knowing we are not alone. In hearing the stories of other women and owning our own story of the hard things we do, we are then able to own our power, and that is protective and healing for sure.”
This summer, Nettles will tour alongside Kristian Bush as the vocal duo Sugarland. The duo went on hiatus in 2012, due in large part to Nettles’ maternity leave while pregnant with Magnus. However, the country favorites reunited in 2017 and released their sixth studio album, Bigger, in June 2018.
“The reality of it is at this point, we are thankfully on these parallel paths,” Nettles said regarding fellow vocalist Bush. “We do Sugarland stuff, we do our own stuff, we are involved in our own stuff and we are able to come back and enjoy that. And we’re enjoying reconnecting with our fans, too.”