During her performance on the NBC show last year, a technical glitch revealed the fact that she was lip-synching. But now, her wounds licked, Jessica Simpson's little sister – who turned 21 on Monday – is prepared to face the music again on this week's SNL.
"I'm excited," she tells PEOPLE. "I've been waiting to go back."
She sees this new appearance as a way to conquer her fears, telling MTV News: "I think everything happens for a reason. ... I feel like I became a stronger person and I definitely grew from that situation. I really learned how to stand up for myself."
She also says sister Jessica was "absolutely" a pillar of support after the ordeal. "Dude," says Ashlee, "she's been through everything."
Ashlee's new record, I Am Me, will be released Oct. 18 and contains two songs that relate to the SNL debacle. One, "Beautifully Broken," is "basically saying that it's okay to be broken, that there's a beauty in that," she says. The other song is "Catch Me When I Fall."
"I wouldn't have some of the songs on my record if it weren't for learning that it's okay to fall on your face, it's life to learn how to put yourself back together," she adds.