Caylee Hammack's journey toward Nashville and a career in country music came with its fair share of turbulence. After high school, she turned down a college scholarship in order to stay in her hometown of Ellaville, Ga., for a relationship that fizzled out just a few months later.

The singer then picked herself up and moved to Nashville, sleeping in her car and playing bar gigs as she relentlessly pursued her dream. Now, her experience of leaving her hometown and her first love is the very thing that allows her to connect to many of her fans.

"I feel like sadness and negative emotions and heartbrokenness are exactly what you need to be the catalyst to get you out of where you are and on the path you need to be," the singer shares with The Boot and other outlets. "It's really funny. When I tell that story, a lot of women come up and relate. They're like, 'I never moved to Hawaii until I went through a bad divorce. And then I moved there, and I only wanted to stay there for a month, and I've been there for 15 years.'"

Hammack knows firsthand how to relate to listeners going through hard times, because she's experienced her share of them, too. At 16, the singer had a cancer scare that left her bed-bound and in a pretty dark place.

"There's a saying that got me through a lot of dark moments," she relates. "That saying was: 'In the end, it'll be alright. If it's not alright, it's just not the end yet.'"

Thankfully, Hammack is perfectly healthy these days, and has a host of exciting musical developments ahead of her. Still, she remembers the lessons she learned from harder times.

"I wake up every morning, and I go to my window and I open my shades, and I smile," she continues. "I have to choose to be happy. I have to choose to see all the struggles of my life as lessons I had to learn and ways for me to fortify myself, instead of an obstacle or a disadvantage or some unfair way of life.

"I've been given all of these things so I can be exactly who I need to be," she adds. "It's not all pretty, but it's all alright."

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