Actress Evan Rachel Wood credits ex-fiance Marilyn Manson for giving her the encouragement to follow her music dreams.

The 28-year-old dated the shock rocker on and off from 2007 to 2010, and they briefly became engaged before calling time on their romance, but Evan still has fond memories of her time with the 47-year-old, and insists he's the one who gave her the confidence to pursue a music career, telling Rolling Stone magazine they used to sing together in private.

"We would, for fun," she recalled. "And you know, I learned a lot from being in that environment, and there's a lot I took away from that experience. It was unavoidable. And he was somebody who was always very encouraging and believed in my ability. It was another link in the chain."

The True Blood star has now formed the duo Rebel and a Basketcase with actor and musician Zach Villa, and the pair has started working on its sound using Evan's in-house karaoke machine.

"I have a karaoke lounge in my house, complete with a tiki bar and hula-girl lamps and disco balls," she grinned, "and we actually wrote half the record in that room. The bulk of it, really. We would take a song that didn't have vocals and then hook it up to the karaoke machine and sing over it, and try to find a melody that way."

Evan, who is juggling her singing career with her acting work and being a parent to her two-year-old son from her marriage to British actor Jamie Bell, hasn't turned her back on Hollywood, but she finds singing a much more personal way of expressing herself.

"My first love was singing," she said. "It was the first thing that really felt like it was a part of me. It's just in my blood. And acting came sort of out of singing, because I did a lot of musical theatre. And I absolutely love acting, dearly."