The Glee star covers the April 2014 issue of Seventeen and opens up about her late boyfriend, who died of an accidental drug overdose less than a year ago. "I only have happy memories of Cory. He was not his addiction—unfortunately, it won. But that wasn't who he was," the 27-year-old says of the fallen star. "Cory made me feel like a queen every day. From the minute he said, 'I'm your boyfriend,' I loved every day, and I thank him for being the best boyfriend and making me feel so beautiful."
The "Cannonball" singer decided to release her debut album, Louder, on March 4 for a special reason. "Just think about it: we're going to 'March fo(u)rth.' We're going to march forth like a cannonball," Michele says. "I try my best to march forth and live my life as best as I can for me. I also feel an incredible, happy responsibility to keep the memory and light of [Cory, who] was the most amazing person. I'm so happy to make it my journey now to continue on and live my life as best as I can."
Michele implies Monteith's death took her music in a different direction. "I set out to make a really pop-heavy album that was fun and empowering—I love Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson!" she explains. "But then I found myself picking and writing these songs that were very emotional and dramatic. Louder has songs that express extreme love and some pain. I look at it and think, That was my year. I didn't record any songs that I didn't completely relate to."
Though she's eager to pursue her solo career, Michele is still close to her famous co-stars.
"[The Glee cast] is the greatest group of people I have ever met in my entire life! We all lost Cory. I didn't think for one minute that being away from them was what I wanted," she tells the magazine. "Being on the set of Glee is no more difficult than being at home and finding [Cory's] slippers under the bed. We had a life and a job together—it goes with you everywhere you go. You can't get away from grief. So I might as well be surrounded by the people I love and get to lean on them."