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Hailee Steinfeld almost held off on releasing her latest project due out Friday.

With coronavirus shutting down much of the globe, the actress and musician says she wasn’t sure whether it was the right time to drop the five-song “Half Written Story.” Ultimately, she decided to charge ahead.

“It’s a bit strange,” Steinfeld, 23, told USA TODAY. “I go in and out about feeling strange about releasing music at this time, but I do think there really is no wrong time for music. It’s such a release. It has such a unique ability to connect people and bring a sense of happiness.”

Two singles from “Half Written Story” — “Wrong Direction” and “I Love You’s” — are already out, giving fans a good idea of what to expect. (For those not familiar: young love and all the angst that comes with it.) Steinfeld says that while she continues to evolve as an artist, the songs are in a “similar wheelhouse” compared with songs found on her 2015 release, “Haiz.”

“It’s definitely me,” she said. “I’ve always felt very connected to my songs. I really am so proud of the fact that I made songs that sounded the way that I felt at the moment.”

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Those songs touch upon familiar topics such as loss and heartache. Take, for example, these lyrics from “Wrong Direction”: “I don’t hate you // No, I couldn’t if I wanted to // I just hate all the hurt that you put me through // And that I blame myself for letting you // Did you know I already knew?”

A continuation of “Half Written Story” is due out this summer.

In addition to her music career, Steinfeld has been keeping busy working on the Apple TV+ series “Dickinson,” where she plays poet Emily Dickinson. The show’s second season wrapped shortly before COVID-19 put most of the nation under lockdown.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience to be on that show,” she said. “It’s been a big juggle with the music and the show.”

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During these unprecedented times, Steinfeld says she has been blessed to be surrounded by family. Together, they’re helping each other stay positive.

“This is a very strange time for everyone,” she said. “You have days where I really find it hard to stay motivated and creative and inspired. I’m just really looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of releasing music.”

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges


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