Sebastián Yatra Says Making New Album 'Dharma' Was 'Therapy' and Helped When He Felt 'Pretty Lost'

"These two and a half years while I did the album have been finding my joy once again and finding myself," Yatra tells PEOPLE of his songwriting process

Sebastián Yatra
Sebastián Yatra . Photo: Erick Fernando

Sebastián Yatra has a busy year ahead — and he intends to soak in every minute of it.

Friday marked the release of the Colombia native's third studio album titled Dharma — an album he started working on during quarantine, which he considers an "emotional" time in his life.

"I was pretty lost in that moment in so many ways of my life," the "Tacones Rojo" singer, 27, tells PEOPLE. "These two and a half years while I did the album have been [about] finding my joy once again and finding myself and letting go of so many fears and being able to overcome a lot of different situations that I was able to write down in this album."

He continues, "That's why it's such an emotional album, but it also has so much faith and happiness and joy because although I've gone through a lot of things internally, I've never lost faith that it's going to be OK."

The 17-track album features his smash hit "Tacones Rojos" and his recently released track "Amor Pasajero."

The singer-songwriter also says Dharma helped him work through his struggles and compares it to "therapy," hoping that it can be just as useful for his supporters.

"I hope that in each and every one of the songs, [the fans] feel something different, but that there's always magic," he says. "It's taking you through a roller coaster of emotions, no matter the genre of the song. It's an album that can be very fun to listen to because it's not just a one listen type of thing."

At the end of the day, however, the singer says the album is about "accepting your reality" and living in the moment — a practice he plans to implement himself this year.

"When I announced the name for the album, I was accepting my reality and I wrote this album with these emotions and the emotions were pain, anger, sadness, joy, love, faith, strength, weakness, fear, sexuality, [and] sensuality. Every single type of emotion, because you don't live one thing or feel one thing; we have all these different things going on. It's an album that talked about each and every one of them."

He later added, "My biggest goal is to enjoy each and every one of these things that are happening, because they can be huge in your mind or they can be tiny. If you're not happy inside, you can even be doing the Encanto thing and not be satisfied."

Sebastián Yatra
Sebastián Yatra. Erick Fernando

Yatra did in fact play a pivotal role in the new hit Disney movie Encanto, which released last month. Yatra worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda and sang vocals for "Dos Oruguitas" on the soundtrack — and the single is now nominated for a Golden Globe, the Critics Choice Film Awards and made it onto the Oscars shortlist.

Now, after recently wrapping up his tour opening for Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, the reggaeton star is ready to take on a tour of his own: Dharma World Tour, kicking off on Feb. 23.

He says he learned a lot from both Martin and Iglesias, but a valuable lesson he carries with him today is that a musician is never restricted to a genre.

"I grew up listening to him and he would one day release a dance song and then a ballad. I was like, 'OK, you can do both things. You can live in all these worlds,'" he says of Iglesias. "Ricky's as close to perfection as they come. Even though he's so talented, he's just such a down-to-earth person. He puts his feelings on the first page of his life."

Sebastián Yatra
Sebastián Yatra. Erick Fernando

And that's something that Yatra plans to do moving forward — with a few mantras and routines in place to help him along the way.

"Every morning I dedicate an hour of the day to myself and to giving that space to finding the magic inside of myself," he says. "Being conscious and present and working on my mental health and everything, I can really do all the other things from a very positive perspective."

He adds, "A lot of times I wake up in the morning with a cloud in mind and once I do this type of yoga and meditation and I talk to God and I turn off my phone and I'm with myself and I'm present ... the clouds go away and I have that clarity that gives me the energy to organize my day the right way."

For now, the star is loving the grind.

"This album, this tour — they just have me completely head over heels for my musical project and for my career."

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