Though she’s written songs for as long as she can remember, Chrissy Metz, who played Kate Pearson on NBC’s Emmy-winning series “This is Us,” hadn’t ever pursued a career in music.
It was “something I always wanted to do, but didn’t know how in the world I would ever do it,” she said.
Then, during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, Kelly Clarkson’s musical director Jason Halbert served as “the catalyst.” He approached “and said: ‘You don’t know me, and you probably think I’m crazy, but, literally, I heard a voice say: Help her with her music,’ ” Metz, 41, recalled.
Halbert “set me up in Nashville when I didn’t know anybody, and I’m just so grateful. The universe works in such incredible ways.”
So after six seasons of making viewers cry on “This is Us,” Metz is working on her debut country album, and she’s hitting the road for her debut concert tour. Ahead of her show at Boston’s City Winery Aug. 14, she spoke to the Globe by phone from her home in Nashville.
Q. Singing was your first love, before acting.
A. Yeah, a lot of people don’t know that. I’ve been songwriting for, gosh, as long as I can remember, but extensively, probably, the past six years. I realized there was so much healing that needed to happen. I find that through music.
Q. How did you get into acting?
A. I went to an open-call at a Holiday Inn in Gainesville, Florida, where I’m from, because my sister heard an ad on the radio and was interested in modeling. They were looking for actors, comedians, models. I was maybe 19 or 20. My sister’s like “Please just take me,” so I’m like, “Fiiiine.”
Q. [laughs] Right.
A. The woman who was conducting the talent search said, “What are you doing?” I was teaching preschool at the time, but I was always doing impressions, wanting to tell stories; in high school I was the class clown. But I never thought I’d be an actor. [But] she wanted to sign me. [I] moved out to [LA] for pilot season. Then my talent agent needed an assistant. My manager said, “I really think you should take this job.” And I’m like: “Wait. What about acting?”
So for 9 years, I was an assistant, a junior agent, then a talent agent. I’m so grateful I had that experience, but it was a longer detour than I expected. [laughs]
Q. How did you get on “This is Us” from there?
A. A co-worker and I would watch out for each other, and she said, “I think this is a role you should audition for.” I said, “There’s no way I’m going to audition for a series-lead in a television show. I’ve never even tested for a TV show. No way.” Even talking to you about it, I’m like: What in the world?
Q. Have viewers told you the show changed their lives?
A. All the time. They share stories about their adoption processes, their battle with weight, their self-esteem, relationships with their kids, how their parents are going through an illness — anything and everything. As an actor you just want to relate to people, connect to people. To be able to do it in such a beautiful, real way is such a gift.
Q. You also sang on the show.
A. I did! That wasn’t even planned. I remember getting this script and I was like wait, Kate’s gonna sing? And [creator/executive producer/writer] Dan [Fogelman] said: “Oh, if you don’t feel comfortable singing…” and I’m like, “No, no, no, I want to sing!”
Q. Did Mandy Moore give you any advice?
A. She’s always been so respectful and so complimentary, and said “Chrissy, you can do anything you want to do. You just have to do what makes you happy.” And we all know that, but we need, sometimes, another person to say that. And when it’s Mandy Moore, you really do listen.
Q. You also wrote a bestseller, “This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today,”
A. [When it was suggested] I said, “I don’t think I have anything to say,” and my agent was like, “I think you have a lot to say.” When I was going through my meditation and journaling I realized ... everybody deserves to tell their story. It was really about my life lessons, and what I’ve learned so far.
That’s the impetus for a lot of the songs on this tour — love, loss, healing through my feelings, and understanding that the only way to get on the other side of something is to go through it, and boy, that’s tough.
Q. Can you describe any struggles that prompted the book and songs?
A. So I had a pretty tumultuous childhood. My parents divorced when I was young, my mom remarried, and I love my stepfather very much but we did not get along for quite some time. He was very hard on me growing up and it really affected a lot of my self-confidence or lack of, and my self-esteem. And having to come out of the other side of that and realize that hurt people hurt people. So I wrote a song called “Broken Hearts Break Things.” It’s really about hurt people hurting people — it’s really not personal although it feels that way.
Q. Is there a song you feel closest to, or you feel encapsulates your story the most?
A. Oh boy. I wrote a song about [my boyfriend] Bradley [Collins] called “New Love.” New love doesn’t have to be a significant other — it could be your relationship with yourself. To really love yourself is an act of rebellion these days.
Q. You and Bradley met at the start of the pandemic.
A. We did, on Bumble. [laughs] It’s been almost two-and-a-half years, which is really great. He’s a very calm, cool, collected guy. So it’s a great match.
Q. Will you continue acting?
A. Oh yeah, music, acting are never going to stop. I just finished a psychological horror [film] over the summer. That was very different from Kate Pearson.
Interview has been edited and condensed.
At City Winery Boston, Aug. 14. 6 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show. Tickets from $28, citywinery.com/boston.