RaeLynn's new album Wildhorse, which will be out Dec. 2, will feature songs that tell her story over the last four years

By Nicole Sands
October 06, 2016 12:40 PM
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Unlike your typical fan, RaeLynn didn’t just get to see her mentor on his nationwide tour — she gets to share the stage with him.

RaeLynn, who rose to fame after competing on Team Blake during season two of The Voice in 2012, has remained close with Blake Shelton in the years since, recording songs with the country star and joining him as the opening act on his nationwide tour, which recently wrapped for the year.

As a close friend and mentor, one of the most important things Shelton, 40, has taught RaeLynn, 22, about being a successful recording artist is to “always be myself.”

“At first, I tried to hold back from being me, but people are going to embrace who you’re going to be, so I’ve really stuck to that,” the newlywed, who married husband Josh Davis in February, tells PEOPLE.

Credit: RaeLynn, Inc

With her debut album Wildhorse finally out Dec. 2, here’s what RaeLynn had to say about life lately:

Blake Shelton’s constant support is…

“…Really affirming for me. I’ve been an artist since I was 17 years old and there have been some bumps in the road. I would get upset things weren’t going a certain way, but Blake was always there to help me really get through it, and telling me, ‘Rae, this is what you’re supposed to do.’ The record is finally coming out in December. It’s taken me four years to create this work of art that I feel like is going to be so relatable to all my fans. It takes a village to get you there and to get you through, and Blake has been one of those people since the very beginning.”

One thing I’ve learned from Blake…

“…Is that patience is definitely a virtue. It took him 10 years to accomplish where he’s at now. When I look at Blake’s career, I see a career that’s going to last a while — he’s not just a one hit wonder — and that’s what I want to be. I want to be an artist that has a career for a long time, but that takes building blocks. I’ve learned persistence from him — working at it every day and getting to know people. Blake is just such a kind person, and when you treat everybody with respect, people are going to treat you with respect. I love watching him on stage because he’s so good with the crowd.”

WATCH: The Voice Star RaeLynn Dishes on the Most Important Thing She Learned From Blake Shelton

A typical day on tour for me is…

“…Busy! Every day that I wake up some place new, I always look for a local gym. I try to work out every day because I have type 1 diabetes, so fitness is very important, just for my blood sugar. I’ll do that, then look up local restaurants or coffee shops and just take some time for myself. Plus I’ve got my dogs on the road — I have a Chihuahua named Dolly and a German Shepherd named Jazz. Sound check normally starts around 5 p.m., so I try to get back to where I’m staying by 4 p.m. so I can shower, get ready and do vocal warm-ups. Then it’s sound check, meet and greets, radio, perform, back to radio, then I have an after-show meet and greet. It’s a pretty long day!”

Before I go onstage I have to…

“…Pray! I always have to pray before I go on stage. My band and I do a group prayer and the one time I forgot I was like, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” When I’m about to go on, I’ll breathe really deeply four or five times and pray by myself, and then I’ll go straight into performance mode. I like to dance on stage. We do all these preparations for that 30 minutes to an hour of glory. That’s what’s so crazy! You really have to take it in and live for the moment.”

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RaeLynn, Inc

The best part about being on the road is…

“….Definitely traveling. I like to explore the places we play — it’s really cool to get out of your little bubble to see what other peoples’ lives are like. Sometimes I’ll rent a bike and ride it downtown, check out where my fans live. I love going to different cities and collecting mugs from coffee shops — I have way too many mugs! My husband gets mad.” (laughs)

WATCH: RaeLynn on Meeting Gwen Stefani at Her Ugly Sweater Engagement Party

The hardest part about being on the road is…

“…Being away from my husband and missing birthday parties and weddings. There are some really important events in peoples’ lives that I can’t always be there for.”

The first year of marriage has been…

“…Just incredible. If you would have told me before that I was going to get married at 22, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy’ but when you meet the right one, you have to go with it! The first time he called me his wife out loud, I was like, “I am your wife!” Josh makes me a better person at everything that I do — he makes me better on stage, he makes me a better songwriter. His energy in my life is what I needed — he was that empty gap. I just can’t believe that he’s mine.”

The best way to describe Wildhorse is…

“…Different. It’s not really like anything out there right now and it’s very personal to me. I’ve been working on this record since I was 18. I moved to Nashville just off a reality show, as a single girl from Baytown, Texas, and I started writing. I wrote about my experience being from a small town, being in a big family, being from a divorced home — writing from the heart. You change so much from 18 to 22 — figuring out more about yourself, that it’s okay to be different and there’s a lot of insecurities that come with that, too. Then I met my husband and I fell in love. It really touches on everything, but it mainly shows where I’m at today, and that is a girl who is confident and knows who she is. That’s why I wanted to name the record Wildhorse. We all have that one thing that makes us ourselves — you’re there to be different and don’t let anybody change you. It’s okay to have a little bit of glitter and dirt in your personality!

Wildhorse is now available for pre-order on iTunes.