Step aside, Taylor Swift! Leighton Meester alluded to a “stupid” breakup during an intimate performance and Q&A at the Apple Store in Soho, NYC on Tuesday, Oct. 14. The Gossip Girl alum, promoting the release of her new album, explained to the crowd why she titled the record — and its eponymous single — Heartstrings.
“The song ‘Heartstrings’ is really special to me,” said Meester, 28, who looked pretty after being primped by DreamDry and Caption Nails. “It’s really more of a very visual: It represents the feeling of the rest of the record. It’s about hiding your feelings and smiling and pretending that you’re happy when you’re not. Actually, I’d say that it represents most of the record, because that’s what it’s about. It’s about just sort of tying your heartstrings off — not allowing yourself to be vulnerable.”
Now happily married to Adam Brody, Meester said the record was inspired by a split she endured years ago. “It used to be about some stupid breakup that I had when I was 25 or earlier,” she confessed. “But it was stupid, and I was like, ‘I have to write a song about this!’ Now, it really does have more meaning. At the time it was like,’ Screw you, I don’t care about you anymore, and it’s not going to happen! Joker.'”
She failed to mention names, but there are a few Hollywood hunks she could be referring to. The singer dated her Gossip Girl costar Sebastian Stan for two years before splitting — at age 24 — in 2010. The actress described the breakup as “really hard” and “really sad” while speaking to Seventeen magazine in December 2010. “I want a family someday,” Meester told the magazine, long before she married Brody in a top-secret ceremony in 2014. “I think there is someone out there for me,” she mused to Seventeen, “but I’m not on some crazy hunt for that right now.” She was also briefly linked to her Country Strong costar Garrett Hedlund in early 2012.
Fast-forwarding to 2014, Meester reflected that her new album was a more accurate reflection of her growth — in her personal life and career. “It’s more about coming to realize — especially growing up (and I feel like I’ve done a lot of that the last couple of years) — a juxtaposition between my day job and [my music career],” she attempted to explain on Tuesday. “No matter what you’re going through, you have to embody another character,” she said specifically of portraying Blair Waldorf. “Which can be fun, but it also can be tiring.”
Along with ‘Heartstrings,’ Meester said another single, ‘L.A.,’ represented a time in her 20s when things were very surface. “It sounds really happy, and it’s really sort of sweet — poppy, chimey and light — even the lyrics seem like it’s about something kind of nice,” she said of the single. “But it’s totally fake. It’s totally sarcastic. It’s called ‘L.A.,’ and it’s about living in L.A., and being like, ‘Oh look, I’m an adult. I have material things. I have a home and friends and I’m a grown up! But I’m just desperately lonely,'” she reflected of her past. “So thats what that’s about.”
As for life after Gossip Girl? “It seems like an instant and a million years [ago],” said Meester. “A lot has happened, mostly good.”
For the multi-hyphenate, singing and songwriting has been a deeply “personal” process. “When you’re acting, especially if you have any bit of recognition, all you ever do is try not to talk about your personal life and that’s all people want to talk about,” Meester said. “But this is very personal. As much as it’s about my specific circumstances, I try and put it into words that hopefully other people understand. And you get that feeling when you go through something, especially when its painful, or good for that matter, but mostly painful — that nobody understands. But the truth is that everyone has been through it and you’re not that special, so that’s mostly what it’s about.”