Matthew Morrison Talks With AOL Music About 'Glee,' Gwyneth Paltrow and His New Single, 'Summer Rain'
by AOL Music Staff, posted May 10th 2011 3:30PM
Joseph Llanes for AOL
The Broadway vet, who was nominated for a Tony for his role in 'The Light in the Piazza,' stopped by AOL's Beverly Hills studio to chat with AOL Music about his debut album and record a Sessions performance.
AOL Music: What do you want people to learn about you from this album?
Matthew Morrison: Going into this album I thought it was really important that I write a lot of the songs myself because I felt like if I just did a bunch of covers it would just be another 'Glee' album. When I first started I actually wanted to make a record about my time in New York in my 20s and I wanted to have a Michael Bublé / Justin Timberlake kind of feel, but something very different came out. It was very organic and very me, so I was really happy with the entire process.
In 'Summer Rain' you sing about having sex on the roof. Is it a true story?
Well, yes, it is a true story. I was living in New York in my early 20s and my girlfriend at the time and I were up on my apartment roof on 51st and 9th Ave. It was a beautiful summer day and it just all of a sudden started raining. We ran to go inside and we didn't quite make it inside. The moment just kind of took us, and if my 16-year-old self knew I was going to have a moment like that in my life, he would be so stoked [laughs]. A lot of people are saying "Matt Morrison likes to have sex in public," or whatever but for me, it was a beautiful moment about being in love in New York City.
Watch Matthew Morrison perform 'Summer Rain.'
Has she heard the song?
Yeah, I made sure she liked it before I put it on the album.
There's a song on the album called 'My Name,' which is about people thinking they know you, but they don't.
It delved into what I'm going through in this moment being on such a successful show. That song is about being seen as Mr. Schuester but people not really knowing who I am. Television is such a fascinating thing in that you're in people's living rooms every single week so they feel like they know you or they know that character in a very intimate way. So that was one of the main reasons why I wrote that song: to say I'm not that guy.
What has been the hardest adjustment to fame for you?
Being a celebrity. It's something that I never wanted. I actually really try not to be one. I wanted to be respected as an actor and that's why right after high school I knew I had to be in New York City and so I moved there, and I trained really hard and I started in the ensemble of a Broadway show and I kind of worked my way up the Broadway ranks.
TV is great, [but] I think television is a writer's medium and I feel that film is a director's medium. The stage is the place where an actor can really take charge. You know you go on a great journey every single night and there's nothing like it. That brings me to why I wanted to do this album: [it] was because having been on 'Glee' for a few years now, I'm craving that live performance -- to be in front of an audience again.
What are you looking most forward to about the tour, and what are you dreading?
[Laughs] I'll start with dread. The thought of actually singing all these songs is kind of scary to me. When I was on Broadway I wouldn't talk all day long, [I would] really try to be quiet. But I think it's one of those things where your voice is a muscle and you just have to work it out and it will just get stronger.
I am looking forward to seeing what my fan base is. I know there will definitely be some 'Glee' fans and I don't know if it's going to be a lot of screaming teenagers, I don't know if it's going to be their moms that like me a lot, or college-educated older men [laughs]. I'm really interested to see who the show is going to attract.
Talk about recording 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' with Gwyneth Paltrow. I heard she was nervous.
She was! She's such a good singer and she gets nervous to sing, which is funny because she sang at everything this year -- the Grammys, the Oscars -- and she was such a nervous wreck every time she had to go out there, but she was amazing every single time. She didn't really know the song; obviously she knew 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow,' but she didn't know that version so I taught it to her in the studio and she picked it up really fast because she's got a great ear.
How do you ask Sir Elton John to sing with you?
That one was tricky because I don't really know him that well; I didn't back then. I went to his Oscar party and then he invited me to this White Tie and Tiara Ball in London that he has every year, and then I found out he was a 'Glee' fan. My hands were sweating and I walked up to him and was like, "Hey, Elton how's it going?" He's a lovely guy, and I said, "I'm doing this album and I would really like to sing with you on it if you would do that for me," and he was like "yeah, absolutely!" I was like, "Oh, man that was just so easy." It was one of those things where, three days after we recorded it, it finally sunk in and I was like, "Oh my God, I just did a duet with Elton John." It was very surreal.