On Friday, the actress and singer dropped her third studio album Singular: Act I, which she says is “a perfect representation of who I’ve become.”
PEOPLE caught up with the entertainer, who recently starred on The Hate U Give, about her latest musical project. As the album’s title suggests, the eight-track record is just the first half of Singular. (Act II is coming early next year!)
“I think this album really embodies the person I am becoming,” Carpenter says. “It’s the sound of self-discovery. There’s a lot of spoken confidence and empowerment throughout the entire record, and not necessarily how it’s written, but more so how I think the music makes me feel.”
With the album’s lead single “Almost Love” already garnering nearly 14 million plays on Spotify, Carpenter has made it clear that this new album is a force to be reckoned with.
The entire record features empowering tracks such as “Diamonds Are Forever,” on which she sings that “Money don’t buy class / And I can’t be bought like that,” and “Sue Me” where she — quite literally — invites listeners to sue her “for being something you can’t forget.”
While she can’t pick a favorite song on the album because she thinks of her songs “as children,” Carpenter says “Bad Time” is her favorite lyrically because “the story comes full circle.”
“It’s really rare when you are able to do that when you’re writing songs,” she says. The song follows Carpenter as she answers a call from an ex-lover, to whom she makes it clear to that they’ve “called at a bad time, and every time is probably gonna be a bad time.”
“The nice thing about pop music is that it lets us forget about our worries. We can repeat the same word a bunch of times,” she says. “So I get really excited when I can have a song that makes you feel really good but lyrically there’s an emotional sentiment behind it.”
Though she’s only 19 years old, Carpenter is already accustomed to the spotlight. The “Prfct” singer shot to fame with her starring role on Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World (a spinoff of 1990’s Boy Meets World).
Because of her start with Disney, Carpenter has often been compared to other former Disney darlings like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. And while her first album Eyes Wide Open — which she released at just 16 years old — sounds like what you’d expect from a budding Disney star, Singular is a testament to Carpenter’s maturity and her efforts to make her own mark on the industry.
“I was lucky I got those first two albums out of my system because I didn’t think there was as much meaning for Sabrina as a person,” she says.
“I realized how it important and vital it was that I started listening to my own voice and to my own opinion, or otherwise people were going to start to make choices for me that I probably wouldn’t have liked,” she adds.
While Carpenter says she had 16 songs for one full-length album, she decided to split Singular into two parts “to let you hear the songs a little bit more.”
“I felt like it was time to try something a little different,” she says.
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Although her Girl Meets World days ended in early 2017, Carpenter still keeps a tight relationship with her former cast members. Last weekend, Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga in both Girl and Boy Meets World, featured Carpenter as one of her three bridesmaids during her wedding.
“I felt really lucky to be a part of it,” she says. “It feels like no time has passed, even though a lot of time has passed and so much has happened, I think you get very lucky when people want to stay in your life. It’s about choosing those people who make you feel incredible and make you feel comfortable. They’ve always been those people for me, I’m really happy that I could be part of such a monumental day.”
Now following her album release, Carpenter is preparing to embark on the iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball tour to end 2018. Carpenter won’t just be singing on tour. As an ambassador for the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, she says she plans to visit the last two Seacrest Studios hospitals.
“Getting to meet those kids has been one of the highlights of touring for me,” she says. “They just put so much into perspective.”
As for her own tour, “when there’s an album, there’s a tour so it’ll be coming,” she teases. “I’ll tell you more about it when I can!”