Matthew Morrison Talks "Summer Rain," Forthcoming Album, and "Glee"
Tue, 08 Mar 2011 09:11:32
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Glee star Matthew Morrison—he plays the optimistic high school teacher Will Schuester—is releasing his debut single, "Summer Rain," on Tuesday and you can buy it here now. The song will appear on his forthcoming debut album, due out May 10th.
But despite this career milestone, Morrison is no stranger to music, or musical theater for that matter, as he boasts and impressive, pre-Glee resume that even the most diehard Gleek might not even be aware of. Morrison has quite the Broadway history, having played Link Larkin in Hairspray and even earned a Tony Award nomination for his work in The Light in the Piazza. He also enjoyed a run in the Tony-winning revival of South Pacific.
ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto nabbed 10 minutes with the ever-popular Morrison to talk about the origins of "Summer Rain," which was co-written by Morrison with the Norwegian duo dubbed Espionage; chasing new dreams; about his music arts education philanthropy; the ukulele; and how he navigated his path from the Great White Way to the Boob Tube.
It's been a whirlwind for you over the past two years - how are you feeling?
Life is pretty nuckin' futs.
Nuckin' futs - I need to borrow that one.
It's like cussing without cussing, you know?
Take us from two years ago through now - did you ever think you'd be on the biggest show on TV and releasing your own album?
Two years ago, I thought I was at my peak, living my dream. I was a Broadway star and that was what I always wanted. I got my first show when I was 19 and then I got the starring roles, show after show. I was living my dream. Then when you fulfill your dream, you have to make new dreams for yourself. I started expanding and seeing what else is out there for me, like TV gigs. Then a show called Glee came around and I didn't think it would be anything! A musical? On TV? I didn't think the world would be ready for this kind of show. Now it is hard to walk down the street without being recognized. While it might be a case of 'be careful what wish for,' with lost anonymity, it is a dream come true! I am also in a place where I am getting ready to release my first single and album.
Do you think you could make the dream come true without Glee?
I think Glee has put me in the spotlight where I can do it and do it the right way, with support from label and a machine behind me. There are so many musicians out there, so many of them are so much more talented than I could ever dream of being, that will never have their music played the way mine is played, so I am very lucky and blessed.
Can you share an intimate element of "Summer Rain," your first single, with us?
That day when I went into the studio to write ‘Summer Rain,' I didn't know what I was going to write. It was the first song that I wrote for this album. Luckily, it was a story that I had and it is kind of sexual, but it is about being young and in love in NYC and appreciating a moment. I had a memory burn of this experience. I had with a girlfriend at the time, and it was something so beautiful to me and I wanted to make a song about it since it was very special to me. I was talking with my best friend in NYC and I was scared to go into studio for the first time, since I didn't know what to expect. I knew I wanted to tell this story, but I was thinking, 'Is this too much? Is it too cheesy? Will people care?' I knew I had to do it in a way where it had a cool feel, a pop sensibility and vibe. I play ukulele and this a ukulele-driven song.
Ah, the ukulele. That's certainly not a common instrument.
I know. I went in and working with this songwriter, Claude Kell, and the two guys in the collective called Espionage.
Those producer duos always have those types of names!
Yeah, they do. They did 'Hey Soul Sister' and a bunch of other good songs. I am so happy we clicked for that song. And while I love this album, I have to say that I am excited for the next album and the one after that. I am learning and I want to keep going deeper. The next one will be even better.
Before we let you go, since you're day is packed, tell us about your philanthropic efforts relating to the creative arts!
My philanthropy of choice is arts education and I couldn't pick a better show to be on with Glee. I am a proud product of public arts education. There high school I went to and the teachers that I had...they were an inspiration to me, so that is a gift I want to keep on giving, especially with the spotlight that the show has put on arts education. I get letters from fans who start their own Glee clubs, with no teacher supervision. Or I hear from schools were the Glee club would have been cut but because they are so wildly popular and because of the success of the show, they aren't. My goal is to have a chain of performing arts high schools, which are accredited schools, and place them all over the country.
Do you dig Matthew Morrison's music?