Entertainment Music Dove Cameron Says She Wants to 'Make Music That Everybody Can Enjoy — Except for Straight Men' Cameron tells PEOPLE about collaborating with Khalid on the romantic new duet "We Go Down Together," working on her upcoming debut album and plans for a tour By Jack Irvin Jack Irvin Instagram Twitter Digital Music Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 16, 2023 04:20 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Since dropping her breakout queer anthem "Boyfriend" last year, Dove Cameron has earned an American Music Award, an MTV Video Music Award and performed her own music on arena stages for the first time as part of iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball Tour. It's safe to say the experience has been a whirlwind. "I felt like I was chained to the back of an insane, 150-miles-an-hour party bus going down a river. It was a really fun time, but I had no idea what the f— was going on," Cameron tells PEOPLE. "It was one of the best years of my life, but it was also a serious crash course where I had to learn everything on the fly." The 27-year-old singer-songwriter is kicking off her 2023 with intention. Just in time for Valentine's Day, she released a sweeping, romantic ballad alongside Khalid titled "We Go Down Together," the latest taste of her artistry that'll hold fans over as they await her upcoming debut album. Crafted over several years with lyrics by Ryan Daly and Connor McDonough, the team's meticulous creative process has paid off, as the song passed 5 million streams in under a week. Dove Cameron Addresses LGBTQ+ Fans and Colorado Nightclub 'Tragedy' During 2022 AMAs Speech "It's kind of crazy to me," says Cameron of the fanfare surrounding the track, initially recorded around 3 a.m., toward the end of a 15-hour-long studio session. "It was this magical moment where it was the middle of the night, dead silent and pitch black outside, and it was the witching hour. They played me this song for the first time, and I was swooning, head over heels. It just felt so special." Dove Cameron and Khalid. ASHLEY OSBORN/COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RECORDS Shortly after recording her own vocals on "We Go Down Together," she began looking for a duet partner and "immediately thought of Khalid," having previously met and gotten along with the 25-year-old "Talk" performer. "He's a baby angel, the loveliest, nicest person you'll ever meet," says Cameron. "He's just the warmest. I'm really, really lucky that he did this with me." The song arrived alongside a minimalist and emotional music video directed by Audrey Ellis Fox, which finds the vocalists singing from separate sides of a room, nearly physically touching by the end, yet restrained with a sense of longing. "It's about this absolute and utter devotion to each other, but within that there's so much heartache," explains Cameron. "The deeper you love, the deeper you feel the loss of that love. You can almost feel the sands of time falling through your fingers as you're in a relationship because inevitably one day it will end." "We Go Down Together" marks her fifth single since launching into this new era with the romantic "Boyfriend" last year. After following up the hit song with "anti-man anthem" "Breakfast" and the charmingly sensual banger "Girl Like Me," among other tracks, her debut album is finally on the horizon. "It'll be out this year, no questions asked. I've been promising that for way too f—ing long," quips Cameron of the upcoming record, which she describes as "stream-of-consciousness sad girl music." Dove Cameron Says Dyeing Her Hair Brunette 'Was a Total Identity Shift': 'It Was a Reclamation' Dove Cameron and Khalid. ASHLEY OSBORN/COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RECORDS "I'm talking about heartache, but also things like losing a parent at a young age, losing two of my best friends to really intense, middle-of-the-night-phone-call kind of deaths, eating disorders and all of this stuff that I've never really been able to put to melody," she continues. "I'm finally finding a way to talk about those things in a much more honest way." Having spent nearly her entire life performing on television and professional theater stages, Cameron's perfectly primed to launch into her debut album. Toward the end of last year, she further prepared by taking her original music to North American arena stages for the first time as part of iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball tour. "Before this year, I had been mostly playing 250-seat venues. It was a crazy jump," she says of singing for upwards of 20,000 people every night on the tour. "I really learned a lot. Going forward, I'm planning on touring in the fall, but I literally just need to get more music out there. I don't want half of the set to be covers." Cameron's most looking forward to connecting with fans at her concerts. Her relationship with listeners has strengthened over the past few years, as she's let them into her personal life, candidly opening up about mental health struggles and her queer identity, which has played a major role in the subject matter of many of her recent singles. Coming out has also contributed to her performance style, which is now more authentic than ever before. Dove Cameron and Khalid. ASHLEY OSBORN/COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RECORDS Dove Cameron Knows Her 'Roe v. Wade' -Inspired 'Breakfast' Music Video Is 'Uncomfortable' to Watch "I'm allowing myself to be more human on stage rather than having it be the place that I feel the least safe, and really all of that is down to the amount of support I've gotten from fans and other women in the queer community," she details, noting that despite embracing her own queerness, she doesn't want to alienate any listeners or potential concert attendees. "You don't have to be a part of the queer community to come and enjoy my music. It's my aspiration to make music that everybody can enjoy — except for straight men." In addition to new music, the Emmy winner will return to TV this year on season 2 of Apple TV+'s fantastical musical comedy Schmigadoon! as well as a guest spot on Hulu's satirical History of the World Part 2. "I'm just so lucky that I get to take part in these larger-than-life projects. If anything, I've actually done way less normal, indie-girls-in-their-jeans roles," says Cameron, whose fans have been patiently awaiting an update on her role as Bubbles in Powerpuff, The CW's campy, live-action take on The Powerpuff Girls, which stalled production in 2021. "I think I'm not allowed to comment on it, but what I will say is I had so much f—ing fun filming it, and playing a superhero was just the best," she says. "All I know is that they would have to wig me, because I think if I went blonde again I would fall into a deep, dark depression. Or maybe all my hair would fall out. One of the two."