Rachel Platten: It's important to not 'compromise' your values when going after your dreams

If you've ever listened to Rachel Platten sing, you know that the girl's got talent. And if you really, really, listen (and we mean really), you'd understand why her soulful sound and inspiring message resonates with millions of fans worldwide.

In her hit song, "Fight Song," Platten explains the importance of being your own person, standing up for yourself and staying in control.

"This is my fight song/ Take back my life song/ Prove I'm alright song/ My power's turned on/
Starting right now I'll be strong/ I'll play my fight song/ And I don't really care if nobody else believes/
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me," she belts.

That's the message she hopes to send not only through her music, but also through her recent work with T.J. Maxx. Recently, the retailer found that 80 percent of women feel they've been stereotyped by the people around them and expected to fulfill certain expectations and roles.

With T.J. Maxx, Platten hopes to combat those stereotypes. Before she hit the stage at the Maxx You Project kick-off event* in New York City on Tuesday, AOL Lifestyle chatted with her about the importance she finds in this work.

Check out our conversation below.

Tell me a little bit about why you were excited to work with T.J. Maxx on the Maxx You Project. How did you get involved?

I am really excited to be working with T.J Maxx on The Maxx You project. It is all about helping women let their best selves shine and finding what makes them unique and sharing it -- [and] encouraging others to do the same. It's a message I believe in so much that I try to spread through my music and my shows. I'm really excited to be a part of this.

Can you talk about a time you felt discouraged or not supported simply because you are a woman, and how did you overcome that?

There are hard moments to define, you know, separating when you felt discouraged just because you are a human versus something that had to do with your sex. When I was first coming up in the industry, I remember thinking "Oh my gosh, that's not really what I want to do." What I want to do is write songs and play my piano. I don't really know how to dance, I'm not that great at it. I don't really want to wear short skirts and dance around -- that makes me feel really nervous and scared. So what I really wanted to do is tell songwriter stories, but that really wasn't that "in" or "cool."

I remember trying to get record labels' attention and being told, "Well, you could absolutely get meetings if you tried to pivot that way." And I was pretty stubborn and insistent that no, I wanted to follow a different path.

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That was so so fun NYC. See you soon โœŒ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ“ท@ryanmuirphoto
I feel incredibly honored to get to present a memorial tribute on behalf of the amazing @therealgrimmie tonight for #humanesociety To The Rescue Gala.
Dino: sickkkk accessory for this #ootd
Sick smize D. #setdog
Absolutely nothing better in the world than a week with my best friend memsie. What an amazing, kind, beautiful inside and out and super duper loving sister. MAN AM I LUCKY!!! โ›„๏ธโ„๏ธโ›„๏ธ๐Ÿฆ„๐Ÿ‘ฏ
๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป from the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party.
Oh heyyy what's up AMERICA! Im gonna be on the @todayshow 9:30am! And though it's quite warm and comfy, I'll be losing the sweater.
I think maybe if everyone focused on & believed in their own goodness and loved themselves wholeheartedly that THAT huge love would radiate out and heal and help others in a massive way. So while my voice is small, this is the only way I know how to make an impact. Through complete radical compassion and love, for myself and for the whole wide world. ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒทโœจ
See you soon on @abcnetwork's #ToTellTheTruth!! Thank you to my glam team for this ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’™ look!
#flashbackfriday to @tmacfitness teaching me how to throw a pretty good punch. ๐Ÿค›๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ#tmac
March on goddesses. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
Getting ready to rock Tampa last weekend ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿผ๐ŸŽค... What a night! #attplayoffplaylist
๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿผ๐ŸŒถ๐ŸŒถ๐ŸŒถ๐ŸŒถ๐ŸŒถ๐ŸŒถ
I was able to meet some amazing foster families on #AHomeForTheHolidays. Watch their incredible stories and some great performances tonight at 8pmET/PT on #CBS!
This man. #steviewonder
Oh hey Niagara, looking good.
๐Ÿ˜˜#proudartist #proudmanager
#angelsanddiamond
This is chad. He is the bomb. He has 2 Weeks of chemo left!!! Let's all send him prayers.
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What would you say to someone who feels that pressure to conform?

If you succeed on someone else's terms, and you're not truly being yourself, there's going to be a moment, even if you're at the very pinnacle of success, where you're wondering, "Am I really happy? Did I do this the way I wanted to? Did I follow my heart?"

I think it's way better to get halfway up the mountain, but have done it not compromising your values or what truly makes you, you. That way, the whole entire way you've grown and learned about yourself. It's kind of more about the climb than it is about reaching the top, anyway.

Is that how you hope your hits, like "Fight Song," inspire other women?

Absolutely. I hope that it inspires everyone, not just women, to follow their dreams, not listen to other people, tell them that anything is possible. I think there is so much in this world with us doubting ourselves, comparing ourselves on social media, thinking, "Oh, we're not good enough, not this enough or that enough." And when you can quiet those voices and just really listen to your heart, that's when you succeed. That's when you are taking the right steps to make your dream come true.

What's one item you've been pleasantly surprised to find at T.J. Maxx?

When I was on tour, often we need items out of nowhere and we couldn't predict it. And T.J. Maxx was always a stop that we knew we could go to when we needed cool flip flops or these expanding bags when we did day trips somewhere. I'd be coming out with, like, 50 other items that I definitely didn't need but I'd be really excited about.

You can apply for Maxx You's summer workshop with Laila Ali and Barbara Corcoran here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Rachel *raves* about these Studio 33 bags, which we can't wait to try.

See more from the Maxx You Project kick-off event*:

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Maxx You Project Kick-Off Concert
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Maxx You Project Kick-Off Concert
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This interview has been edited and condensed.

*100% of ticket proceeds were given to Girls Inc. of New York City to help in their mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

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