One of Emily Kinney's first memories is listening and singing along to the Carpenters album on her parents' record player.
Another was telling her mom "no sing" so she could sing instead.
Now 30, Kinney kicked off a nationwide tour Monday to celebrate her third album, This Is War. The Times caught up with Kinney last week for a chat about life after leaving The Walking Dead last year and what's next with her singing and acting careers.
Writing and performing music has always been an important part of her life. Her first talent show was at age 7 in her home state of Nebraska, where she sang My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music.
Right around the time she joined the cast of The Walking Dead, Kinney released her debut EP, Blue Toothbrush. During breaks from the show she kept up her writing and recording, releasing a second album of lyrical indie folk songs.
"(The songs) tell stories, mostly about my relationships," Kinney said. "A lot of the atmosphere of where I am at the time ends up in my lyrics as well."
Many of her songs about relationships focus on vivid memories like sharing her Birthday Cake with a long-distance beau in or ex-lovers/fellow musicians in the heat of a breakup in title song This Is War. Kinney also draws inspirations from her favorite female songwriters and Brooklyn bands.
Kinney spent four seasons with The Walking Dead, making deep connections with fellow actors, and it's been about a year since her character, Beth Greene, was killed off, forcing her departure.
"It was difficult because I also lived there" in Georgia where AMC's hit show is filmed, Kinney said. "(But) I've been so busy since I left. I've barely been in one place for very long."
Kinney now splits time between L.A. and New York City, and since leaving The Walking Dead, she has kept on writing music and guest-starring in shows like Masters of Sex, The Knick and The Flash.
Despite her packed schedule, she still carves out time to visit loyal Dead fans at Walker Stalker Conventions around the country. Her last appearance in Florida was at this year's Orlando convention in June.
Whether she's at a convention, on set or in the recording studio, Kinney keeps a focus on her passion.
"I start my day with a bit of writing; it keeps me grounded and connected to my own voice," she said. "I made that a New Year's resolution a few years ago and I've been much happier since then."