Like any young performer transitioning into mainstream stardom, Lindsay Ell has had to grapple with the logistics of becoming a CEO of her own brand. She heads a charge led by a team of people, all working hard to help get her music out into the world. Backstage at CMA Fest, Ell says that pressure is exciting, though it can get a little daunting at times.

"You know, [in terms of having employees] to where I'm dependable for putting bread and butter on their table," she explains. "It's just a different mindset...I mean, this is so amazing, that I can do this for a job every day, but the fact that people, I'm providing a living for them -- It's just that I have more of a responsibility."

Fortunately, Ell has always had the drive to work hard in her career. "I need to make this work. I've always had that mentality, but it kind of sets the stage a little bit higher," she adds.

With that -- and much more -- in mind, the singer is heading into the studio to record her next album, where she'll be teaming with producer Dann Huff. Ell worked with Huff for the first time while recording "What Happens in a Small Town," her duet with Brantley Gilbert, and she says it had always been a dream of hers to join forces with the ace producer.

"He actually sent me a message after my last record, The Project, came out, and was like, 'Lindsay, I just have to say, you made a really, really, really good record -- job well done,'" Ell recalls."And recording guitars with Dann, he just gets it. He's been doing this for so long, and he's been playing in bands. Anything from Keith Urban to Brett Young to Faith Hill, he's done it all. He just has such a good understanding of music, and what works."

Ell goes on to say that she's particularly impressed by Huff's versatility. "It's a very difficult thing to be able to produce artists completely differently. Like, Kane Brown sounds nothing like Brett Young, sounds nothing like the Cadillac Three. He can pivot so well. It's the mark of a great producer," she notes.

In terms of subject material, the singer continues, she's focusing on honest, relatable, personal songs. "A lot has happened in my personal life and career in the last couple years. And I've written about all of that," she relates. "I feel like if I'm not writing completely honestly about how I feel, fans aren't gonna believe it, and really, I'm not gonna be proud of my own record. "

Meanwhile, Ell is setting lofty goals for her live show, too. "As far as looking toward the future? I wanna be headlining arenas, playing to thousands of people every night around the world," she adds with a smile.

New Albums Coming Out in 2019