(CBS News) Martina McBride has been holed up in the studio working on a new album, expected out in early 2014 -- but at this point, the project is essentially top secret.
Although details are scarce, McBride told CBSNews.com, "It's gonna be awesome," adding, "We're feverishly working on it and getting it done. I'm really really excited to be back in the studio making new music." Details about the project are expected to be unveiled soon.
The upcoming album comes on the heels of "Eleven," the country star's most recent studio album, which surfaced in 2011. It's been a couple of years, and McBride says she's eager to get new music out to fans.
"I just love to make music," said the 47-year-old singer, who released her debut album in 1992. "I love to perform. I love to sing. I love the connection I feel with fans when I either put out music or sing on stage. It's my dream my whole life. I've been blessed that it's come true in such a wonderful way. I just love it...As an artist it's a creative outlet but it's also a way to connect with a lot of people in a very meaningful way and share something together. I think at the end of the day, when I look back on my career, that's what means the most to me."
McBride experienced the impact her music can have when she released her 2011 hit song "I'm Gonna Love You Through It," written by Ben Hayslip, Sonya Isaacs and Jimmy Yeary.
"It was written by some songwriters here in Nashville who wrote it from a personal experience," she said. "One of the songwriter's mothers [Issacs] had gone through breast cancer and is in remission and had just put her on speakerphone and had her tell her story. And they wrote the song."
Upon first listen, McBride immediately fell in love with the track, saying, "When I first heard the song I knew it had to be from a real experience."
Since she recorded "I'm Gonna Love You Through It," the song has really taken on a life of its own, inspiring women who have battled breast cancer. "It has just gone on to touch so many lives...And through that song I was really able to meet a lot of breast cancer survivors and families and people that have been affected by breast cancer," said McBride. "And it just brought the song to life for me and made me see first-hand how breast cancer impacts lives."
"It's interesting -- the stories are very similar. Breast cancer -- while it's unique to the individual, it's also a common experience," added McBride. "I hear a lot about how the song just hits it right on the head. It's really the perfect kind of lyric...I think what people find in the song is hope -- hope and appreciation and for the people who surround them with love and love them through difficult times."
Meeting women and their families is part of what inspired McBride to take part in the Save Lids to Save Lives program, in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Starting this month, people can clip, collect and mail in the pink lids located on participating General Mills products. The company will then donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen Foundation -- up to a maximum total donation of $1.5 million.
"I just wanted to make a difference," said McBride. "I look for opportunities that I believe in that are really important...to really do something, to be able to help."
"What's amazing to me is something that you can do that's so easy," she said about the program. "They are products that you can buy at the grocery store, so you don't have to really go out of your way to purchase anything different...So, by taking one extra step and saving the lids and sending them in you get to make a huge impact."
Looking ahead, McBride plans to be on the road for much of 2013 and 2014. She has a batch of fall dates lined up, followed by a holiday tour. "It's one of my favorite tours to do," McBride said.
She'll also tour behind the new album next spring, an outing McBride is calling "very unique" and "special." [It will be] something my fans have never seen before from me," said McBride -- once again, keeping things top secret.