Whitney Duncan will go from country singer to castaway when 'Survivor: South Pacific' kicks off tonight on CBS. The 27-year-old 'Skinny Dippin'' singer sat down with Country Music Is Love, where she dished about the show, her new EP, and -- sadly -- her cousin Holly Bobo, who is still missing after being kidnapped in April.

"I applied last year and didn’t make it on the show, but they called me this year and I went to L.A. to audition. And luckily, they picked me!" Duncan says of how she snagged a spot on the show in the first place. Now that the show has completed filming for the season, the Tennessee native can admit that it wasn't totally what she expected. She reveals, "It was harder than I thought it would be, but it was amazing!"

Duncan, a self-proclaimed 'Survivor' fan, didn't want her fellow castaways to know about her country singer status. She's one of 15 new competitors and two returning survivors. "I kept my music career a bit of a secret," she reveals. "I just told my tribe I was a songwriter, because I wanted them to take me seriously. I didn’t want them to think I was there just to promote my career … those kind of contestants irritate me."

But being that music is her career, Duncan didn't take time off while she was in Samoa shooting. She was inspired to write new material, including one song that will appear on her new EP "that will hopefully be out this fall or early 2012."

In April, Whitney Duncan's cousin Holly Bobo was kidnapped from her front yard early one morning while she was preparing to leave for school, and she has not been seen since. Duncan says that she kept her 18-year-old cousin in her mind while she was shooting, even though she wasn't as in the loop as she would have liked to be. "I definitely talk about her on the show. It was difficult being away from my family and not knowing what was going on during filming," she says, adding that while leaving was tough, it was something she had to do. "It was most definitely one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. After much discussion with my family, I decided it was best that I do the show. I would regret not doing it."

The season premiere of 'Survivor: South Pacific' airs at 8PM ET tonight, September 14, on CBS.