Alyson Stoner tells PEOPLE exclusively that her new single "Stripped Bare" is an "anthem" — and not a "sad song"

By Brianne Tracy
January 25, 2019 01:50 PM
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Alyson Stoner is embracing vulnerability.

The former Disney channel star premiered her powerful new single, “Stripped Bare,” on Thursday night and is opening up about the downside of being in the spotlight at such a young age.

“I’ve been sitting on this song for about a year and change,” Stoner, 25, exclusively tells PEOPLE. “There’s never really an ideal time to disrupt how things have been going with a career or relationships, but I felt it was time to share parts of my story that haven’t been made public yet.”

In the first verse of the song, Stoner sings, “I can’t believe family could be so savage,” before repeatedly singing in the chorus that she’s “stripped bare, got nothing left.”

“Several years ago, I discovered I was being taken advantage of since childhood and left in a very compromised position,” she says. “My health was affected along with my career path, my relationships and identity. So the song itself is kind of an emotional labyrinth. There’s sorrow and betrayal and a feeling of being at ground zero but it’s also mixed with this incredible promise for a new beginning. There’s unparalleled resilience. I see it as sort of the precipice of life and voice and story that’s finally my own.”

She adds: “You think it’s a sad song, but it’s an anthem.”

Alyson Stoner
| Credit: Shannon Beveridge

From her standout dance in Missy Elliott‘s “Work It” video to parts in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Cheaper By the Dozen and the Step Up franchise, Alyson Stoner had a pretty busy childhood — nabbing roles in high-profile projects since the early 2000s.

Despite her success, Stoner has previously admitted that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Alyson Stoner’s “Stripped Bare” Cover
| Credit: Shannon Beveridge

“Being famous as a kid is weird and unhealthy,” she revealed in a candid YouTube video posted in August 2017.

“I was a pack mule growing up,” she said. “Living in that little box? Being part of that little machine? It takes a huge toll on you.”

Credit: Shannon Beveridge

Recently, Stoner dropped the music video in October for her single “Fool,” which starred a female love interest just months after she opened up about her sexuality in a moving essay.

In the essay, which was published to Teen Vogue in March, Stoner described how she fell in love with a woman for the first time in her life. The star does not label her sexuality but instead said she now realizes she is attracted to men, women and those who do not define themselves in those terms.

Alyson Stoner
| Credit: Shannon Beveridge

Stoner described in detail about how she realized she was not attracted to just men after she became “mesmerized and intimidated” when she attended a dance workshop and met her female instructor.