10/19/2007 at 07:00 PM EDT
Brandy, who faces lawsuits
and possible criminal charges from a fatal traffic accident
, is coping by recording music.
"I've just got to get that album out," the pop star tells PEOPLE. "I have to get it out, if it's the last thing I do."
Brandy's album, which does not currently have a title, would be her fifth studio album, and the first since 2004's critically well-received Afrodisiac
"I've been gone for a long time," says the 28-year-old R&B singer-actress, who spoke to PEOPLE at the recent Christian Audigier fashion show at L.A. Fashion Week. "I really want to give the fans something that they deserve to have. So, I'm working really hard on this. I really want to make it the best work I've done so far."
star has kept a low profile since December, when she was involved in a four-car accident in which another driver was killed. The family of the deceased, Awatef Aboudihai, who was 38, has filed lawsuits against Norwood, as has another driver in the accident.
Police investigators recommended that Brandy be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, but the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office has yet to file charges.
Brandy declined to comment on the accident or the lawsuits. But she tells PEOPLE that she's staying strong while making her new music.
"I think it's really finding that belief in yourself, where you just have it no matter what's going on, no matter what anyone else says," she says. "I think that's the challenge, is to really have that belief in yourself."
She continues, "I'm really working on this thing. This is what I'm supposed to do. I'm destined to do it. You just keep affirming everyday, and it will just be there."