“When I started [writing], I think things were very lovey-dovey, and I was engaged and about to get married and in that head space,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively about the inspiration behind the songs on her upcoming LP Digital Distortion. “I had a lot of changes and a breakup and was sort of like, ‘Wow, okay. Now I’m a single woman in my mid-20s and I want to talk about other stuff now!”
Her new single “Switch” — along with several other songs on the album – were written right after she and Young called it quits. “It wasn’t that I was sad or feeling down in the dumps or feeling like I wanted to write heartbreak ballads,” she explains. “I was kind of excited about all of the things that I could do now, and I just really wanted to talk about that on my album.”
For more details on her upcoming album, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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The Aussie has a “good balance of aggressively confident, ‘Screw you, I believe in me!'” songs on the album as well as “sexy jams that you want to play with your girlfriends,” she says. “It’s a good mix of both.”
Azalea’s empowerment doesn’t just come from bouncing back after a breakup, however. Over the years, she’s gained a confidence after repeatedly dealing with people who didn’t believe in her.
“I always had to be my own support system and my mom would always say ‘Fake it ’til you make it,’ so I just say, ‘You’re beautiful’ or ‘You’re the best’ even if you don’t believe it,” she says. “Eventually, you believe the words you’re saying. I like to always have those strong messages for women because we need to have as many female voices as we can telling people that.”
One of those female voices includes her pal Katy Perry, who helped write her 2014 hit “Black Widow.”
“I love Katy. I met her in 2013 and I really owe her “Black Widow,” she says of their friendship. “It wouldn’t exist without her, so she’s always been somebody I feel very indebted to and a great friend.”
Perry recently voiced her support for Azalea’s new music on Instagram, and “she doesn’t have to do that at all,” adds the rapper. “I really appreciate the ongoing support with her over the years. To me, she’s a real girl’s girl, and I love that.”