The 27-year-old Glee star explained that while she was happy being in a successful TV show it was her relationship with Monteith that made her "feel like I could reach for the stars and more."
"So I was like, 'I'm going to challenge myself and do this record now,'" she said, adding that her former co-star was "a fan" of the album while she was recording it.
"He would be like, 'You're going to be a pop star! What are we going to do? Are we going to, like, go on the road?'" she recalls. "He would say, 'This is going to be big! And I'd be like, 'I don't know.'"
"He heard every song and gave me notes on everything," she adds. "He loved 'Battlefield.' I'm getting chills thinking about it. I would say 'Burn With You' was his favorite. He came into the studio that day."
Monteith died in July 2013 of an explosive overdose of drugs and alcohol and while she says his death has been hard to overcome, Michele claims she can still feel his presence.
"I somehow feel the insane love Cory and I had for each other morphed into this strength that I have right now," she said.
"There's just something about knowing he's watching everything I'm doing and feeling like I have to do everything now not just for me but for him. I also have a safety net below me -- if I fall or if it's too much, my friends and family will be there to catch me."
Michele's first solo album Louder will hit stands February 28.