October 27, 2017 06:15 PM

Emily Kinney may have fought off zombies during her time playing Beth Greene on The Walking Dead, but these days she’s embracing a different type of otherworldly creature — mermaids.

The actress and singer-songwriter debuted her new indie pop track “Mermaid Song” and it’s accompanying music video on Friday.

“I wrote this song after leaving a romantic situation where I felt like I couldn’t really be myself,” Kinney, 32, tells PEOPLE. “I felt like I was bending who I was for them and they did not do the same for me. I think it’s important to learn and grow from the people around you, but I think it is just as important to listen to your own voice, and to figure out what kind of life suits you and to find friends and relationships that support you when you are being your most true self.”

She adds:  “I think it’s OK to be special and unique and to be a mermaid. I used to think I would miss out on stuff if I didn’t go out or go to a party, now if I go out I wonder if I’ll miss out on my time alone which has become so sacred, especially when it comes to my writing.”

Kinney can be seen in the song’s music video spending the day just as any mermaid would — by the water.

“I love swimming and had no problem being near the water and swimming around all day! Plus, it has been super hot lately in LA,” she says. “Davy Greenberg, the director, helped me to shape the video concept. We wanted the images to really support the song and not have the images take over in a way that made the song just a soundtrack. We wanted underwater shots to go with the Moog sounds. We wanted a pool party, but a real sense of isolation and like something was changing, happening, not right, not comfortable.”

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

The Ten Days in the Valley star, and one of PEOPLE’s Ones to Watch 2017, shares that her time working in television made her more comfortable in front of the camera while shooting the music video, but “there’s something about singing your own words that you wrote to a camera that is incredibly revealing and very different than acting in a TV show.”

After spending five seasons on The Walking Dead, which is currently in it’s eighth season, and appearing on the show’s soundtrack with “The Parting Glass,” Kinney says she tunes in to the show’s new episodes “once in awhile.”

“I’ve become such a wimp, and I get scared and cry a lot whenever I watch Walking Dead, so I don’t keep up with it as regularly as probably everyone else,” she says. “I have no doubt this season will be incredible. ”

  • Reporting by SARAH MICHAUD

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