As the young, optimistic Beth Greene on "Walking Dead," actress Emily Kinney has been known to bust out with a cover song or two, riffing on jams by the likes of Tom Waits and Waxahatchee. However, in the land of the real — where zombies are not yet feasting on our lives and limbs — Kinney is all about the originals.
The actress/musician has two albums under her belt currently: Blue Toothbrush, which she released after she made her Broadway debut in "Spring Awakening," and Expired Love, which she plans to re-release on March 18.
"Expired Love was a lot about relationships and relationships that were over and sort of dealing with a way to put them in a little place and move on," Kinney told MTV News. "Now I'm finding I am writing some different songs about how my life has changed a bit with 'Walking Dead' and maybe what it means to be an artist."
Expired Love is composed of seven vocals-driven tracks that take place in Kinney's current hometown of New York City — songs that deal with everything from long walks with exes around Times Square to parties in Brooklyn. And, despite its seemingly Dead-themed title, it's a lot lighter than the subject matter of the popular TV show.
"I like to use the places around me, I like to use real situations I've been in to at least start the song," she said. So, think lingering exes rather than lingering corpses.
When it comes to balancing her musical and actor-ly aspirations, Kinney said that she gives each equal credence. "When I was really, really little — like six or seven — music was my way of performing and connecting with an audience, and something that people would always say to me was, 'Oh, I can always hear the words when you sing,' and that stuck with me," she said, citing watching Mariah Carey on MTV as her earliest musical memory.
"It's always been this balance of both — how can I tell a story or connect with what it means to be a human being and all the different crazy things we go through, and whether that is music or whether it's a TV show or a movie," she added. "For me, it's about what's the best way to tell that story."
The two — acting and music — feed into each other for Kinney, who recorded Expired Love between seasons three and four of "Walking Dead."
"[Being on 'Walking Dead'] has inspired me to want to record more and to plan more shows," she said. "The show is so popular and it definitely did give a little bit more exposure to the fact that I am a songwriter. Now there seems to be such a big audience for my music and I want to show everything."
As for how music and "Walking Dead" will continue to work together for the actress, Kinney is optimistic. "I've been wanting to have Steven [Yeun] play guitar for me sometime, because he's an amazing guitar player," she said when asked if she had considered playing with any of her cast-mates. "Lauren's [Cohan] a good singer. I need to figure out a way to work that out."
Still, don't expect a musical episode — ala "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" — anytime soon. "I think Beth singing Tom Waits is about as far as that's going to go," Kinney said with a laugh.