Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
July 28, 2017 02:00 PM

Willa Ford is setting the record straight.

In a recent interview with Billboard, the singer-turned-interior designer, 36, opened up about how the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed her professional life.

And while many took her comments to mean she blamed the attacks for stalling her music career, Ford tells PEOPLE exclusively this “could not be further from the truth.”

“In a recent interview with Billboard, I made a comment about the release of a single by my record label on September 11, 2001, where I stated ‘Everything that happened that day froze; the world stood still as it should have.’ During the past day, other news outlets have taken the liberty to say that I somehow blamed 9/11 for my song not taking off … this could not be further from the truth.”

“It was meant to be an inspirational piece about how the universe sent me in a new and different direction, one that has led me to success and joy in other areas of my personal and professional life,” she concludes.

The new mom told Billboard she “took a step back” after the attacks “because I felt like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing at the time.”

During that time, her then-record company was going through changes, leaving her in “no man’s land,” she told the outlet. In addition, Ford — who was a classical opera singer before getting her break in the pop world with her hit single “I Wanna Be Bad” — no longer felt “authenticity” in her songwriting and wanted to rediscover herself.

“I know that sounds crazy, but it was the perfect storm, and I walked away,” she said.

Last September, Ford — who competed on Dancing with the Stars in the show’s third season and now has her hands full with her interior design company W Ford Interiors — welcomed her son, Elijah, with her former NFL linebacker husband Ryan Nece.

“Everyone can tell you it’s the greatest love you’ll ever know, but truly, watching my husband Ryan with little E is the truest of true love that’s of this world,” she told PEOPLE at the time.

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