Matthew Morrison's Solo Album: A Preview

 Carin Baer/FOX

When Glee goes on hiatus later this year and most of the cast leaves for a summer tour, Matthew Morrison will also be hitting the road, but not as Mr. Schuester. The Broadway leading man-turned-TV star expects to be in full promo mode, working his as-yet-untitled debut solo album, which is due out this Spring. “I want to put all my eggs into music for this hiatus,” Morrison tells THR. “I’ve worked so hard on it, I wanted to give it its due.” 

Promising a mix of originals and cover songs (one revealed recently by Sir Elton John, who told Parade that he and Morrison had recorded a duet), Morrison recorded tracks for the album in Los Angeles, New York City and London, and collaborated with several writers including Steve Kipner (The Script, Cheryl Cole), JC Chasez, formerly of N Sync, and Britain’s Eg White (Adele, Duffy). “When I started the process, I had a vision of what I wanted it to be, and it’s now completely different,” he says. “I went into it wanting a Justin Timberlake-meets-Michael Buble kind of feel, but what came out of it was something more raw.”
 
Mercury Records president David Massey, who signed Morrison soon after Glee premiered in 2009, says he hears a little Jason Mraz, too. Maybe it’s the ukulele Morrison plays on one song. “It’s going to be an eclectic album,” says Massey. “There’s a lot of charm it and Matthew did some great songwriting.” Adds Morrison: “I have such respect for the songwriting process now.”
 
When Massey first met Matthew Morrison, he was already a fan. “I remember going to the opening night of Hairspray on Broadway all those years ago and seeing Matthew, who struck me as being incredibly talented.” Some time later, the two were formally introduced and not long into the conversation, Massey was convinced that Morrison belonged on the Mercury roster. “I knew he was a triple threat,” says Massey, “a great singer, a great dancer, and a great actor. I was very interested in making a record with him, and he wanted to record and do some songwriting, so we found ourselves very much in harmony.” 
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The album is currently “in the homestretch,” says Massey and on schedule for a May release. Then what happens? “I’m going on a world tour,” says Morrison. Indeed, Massey says demand for a Morrison solo record is global. “The challenge is just being able to do all the promotion we want to do, from a global perspective,” says Massey. “With the demand for tickets, Matthew will be able to do theaters almost right away.”
 
For his part, Morrison says the No. 1 priority is his music career. “A few movie offers have come my way, but right now, it’s important to put all my energy into promoting this album,” he says. “I’m so happy with it. It came from a real place.”
 
Massey is banking on the album, too. With plans to take Morrison’s music to Hot AC and Pop radio, the label is confident that he’ll be able to deliver on multiple fronts. “He’s got some fantastic songs you can play on the radio and I think he’s going to be incredible on TV,” says Massey. “There’s a modern-day Gene Kelly aspect to him. And I don’t think anything like that has been done for a very long time.”
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