Carrie Underwood has long been a figure for confidence, but with each passing year that confidence seems to grow stronger. She admits that's the case.

Fans will hear the superstar's self-assuredness on her new album.

No, bringing sexy back hasn't been part of Underwood's decade-long brand, but she knows that confidence can translate into appeal. Now 35, she's feeling more secure in herself and where she is in life.

"I think confidence ... it gives way to being sexy," she says. "There's something sexy about being confident in yourself, and I feel like the older I get, the more confidence I have in myself in that way."

The superstar admits that she has outright avoided being provocative in her music as to not be exploited in that way. As she looks back on her early career, comparing her work then to the songs featured on her new album Cry Prettyshe recognizes the growth in her artistry. The confidence naturally pours through now in a way it didn't before.

"I think it's probably always subconsciously been in my head not to be sexy. I feel like it's just so easy for that to get exploited, and it's so easy to start heading down that path," she says. "I feel like in my early 20s, I was still a kid — if I'd sung the songs that I sing now back then, it would've been in-genuine."

What to Expect Now That Carrie Underwood Is Expecting

The sexy — sorry, confidence — is easy to find on "Backsliding," a new track on her Cry Pretty album (Sept. 14). Underwood describes the song as "grown up" and one that initially felt like a "booty call song," but actually tells a deeper story about an ex-husband and wife who keep finding themselves drawn back to one another.

"There's a lot of people that deal with that — just can't stay away, but you shouldn't be together, either," Underwood says. "That's real life."

The American Idol star announced earlier in August that she and husband Mike Fisher are expecting their second child together. She'll take time in between the mid-September album release and the launch of the Cry Pretty 360 Tour in spring of 2019 to devote to her family and newborn baby (the couple have a son, Isaiah, who is three). The Cry Pretty Tour, — which features Runaway June and Maddie & Tae — begins May 1 and continues through October of next year.

Relive Carrie Underwood's Best Baby Bump Pictures:

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