Ten years and four albums after her debut, Ciara, 26, is finally ready to let her guard down and tell us what’s really on her mind. As a result, she assures that a more intimate portrait of her life, and loves, will be delivered on her upcoming album One Woman Army. This week, she debuts a deeply personal new song, “Sorry,” that’s a departure from her usual club-ready hits.

The songstress was generously candid when she spoke with ESSENCE.com about love gone wrong, being more vulnerable in her music and who the heck “Sorry” is about (curious minds always want to know).

ESSENCE.com: Your song “Sorry” is out this week and on it you’re pretty candid about a relationship gone wrong.
CIARA: I feel like I’ve evolved as a woman, and you get to feel that on the song. I literally had to stop myself from crying when I was writing it. You can kinda hear it on the song. I wanted to just go and vent and be free in my music. It’s my way of saying something that I’ve wanted to say to someone for a long time. It’s very real to my heart. I think it’s really cool to embrace the pain of something that may have hurt you and be able to express it through music.

ESSENCE.com: Is it safe to assume the song is about 50 Cent or Amar’e Stoudemire?
CIARA: It’s safe to assume that the song is about someone that I really loved. [Amar’e] was a sweetheart to me, but it’s definitely not about him.

ESSENCE.com: Is this someone famous?
CIARA: It’s someone that I really loved. They’ll know who they are when they hear the song.

ESSENCE.com: Who will be people think you’re talking about once they hear the song?
CIARA: People always create their own stories based on their interpretations of what something is. I guess for me more than anything it’s just a real song from my heart that was real to me.

ESSENCE.com: What if he had said sorry, would that have changed anything?
CIARA: In my case the person knew that they were wrong but had so much pride and ego that they didn’t want to feel like they were wrong. If a person uses the word sorry loosely then of course it loses its value. I believe you shouldn’t have to tell a man what they’re supposed to say. A real man to me shouldn’t be afraid to say sorry. It would have meant so much from that person because they never said anything like that.

ESSENCE.com: You’ve said you were going to be a lot more vulnerable and candid on your upcoming album, One Woman Army. Why the change?
CIARA: I think it takes a lot of confidence to be comfortable in being vulnerable. When I came into the business I was guarded because I’m naturally a private person. Cut to 10 years later and I’m now looking at life from a different point of view and embracing my flaws. What better way to express that than through music? Real music to me is real; it’s what you feel. Being vulnerable is very freeing; it’s almost like writing in a journal.

ESSENCE.com: The title of the album One Woman Army is pretty tough.
CIARA: It was the best title to help me express where I am as a woman. It does represent independence but it’s not overly independent. I talk about needing a soldier; someone that’s going to stand on the frontline with me. It summarizes everything that I’ve been through and everywhere I want to go as a woman.

ESSENCE.com: You’re debuting your new video on 106 & Park on Thursday. Have you and BET made up after they banned your last video for “Ride” in 2010?
CIARA: [Laughs] We never fell out or anything. It was unfortunate that “Ride” couldn’t make it on the network, but thanks to the online community, it’s still been able to be seen.

Ciara will debut “Sorry” on 106 & Park this Thursday at 6 p.m.