Heartache is no stranger to Lindsay Ell.
While the bubbly blonde with the big vocals and the insane guitar skills has a smile on her face more often than not, the 31-year-old has always been one to speak her truth. And come Aug. 14, she will sing that truth on her highly anticipated sophomore album, heart theory, featuring lead-off singles "Want Me Back" and "I Don't Love You."
Ell admits that 2020 hasn't been easy for her … or anyone else.
"We are all feeling different emotions at different points right now with all of this," she tells PEOPLE from her Nashville home, where she has been laying relatively low since COVID-19 began its cruel hold on the country. "The scariest part of all of this is not knowing how long we will be out of work."
Indeed, Ell and nearly all of her fellow country music counterparts all find themselves at an unprecedented and uneasy time in their career, as they continue to wait and see just what will happen in the coming months in terms of touring.
But instead of sitting within the uncertainty, Ell decided to do something. And one of those 'somethings' was launching her online "lifestream," Living wELL w/Ell, earlier this year.
"First off, we are all in this together," says Ell, who usually plays 250 plus shows a year. "And if you ask me, we all need to take some time to focus in on the good parts of the news. Everything is so heavy right now, so just listening to cool stories of people doing great things is good for the soul. We need to read and hear about more of the positive stuff."
And right off the bat, her fans responded to this philosophy.
"I can't tell you how many people DMed me to tell me that it helped them feel not so alone in their feelings," says the Calgary native, who picked up two 2020 ACM nominations earlier this year, including new female artist of the year and music event of the year for her collaboration with Brantley Gilbert on "What Happens in a Small Town." "Regardless of your job or where you live, this has been an emotional roller coaster of good days and bad days for all of us and we are all fighting these things in different capacities."
Of course, Ell also uses Living wELL w/Ell to showcase some of her fellow females of country music, with artists such as Cassadee Pope, Maddie & Tae and Raelynn serving as guests on past episodes.
"It's a chance for us to lift each other up, because we are all feeling a little off right now," says Ell, who has helped raise over $450,000 for those in need during this unprecedented time. "Living wELL w/Ell allows us to come together and talk about everything. We are all getting to learn different things about ourselves during this time."
Like many of us, Ell has learned much about herself the past three months.
"I never used to treasure moments like going outside to feel the sunshine on my face or listening to the birds or appreciating eight hours of sleep," she says with a laugh. "I rarely took the time to appreciate those little things, but now I do. I don't know if I want to go back to that 'fast is never fast enough' sort of philosophy. I've appreciated this time to slow it down."
Will it make her a different person?
"Yeah, I'm pretty much done with false realities," she says. "Filtering the best five seconds of my day on Instagram? I just can't live up to that anymore. I don't want to put some perfect filter on everything. I can't. No one can. I'm all about being real."
She's all about keeping it real. But she's also about smiling.
She's all about the smiling.
"We can all change our thoughts and focus on the good as much as we can," she concludes. "I think it makes all of this more livable, to be honest. And at the same time, it will make you stronger."