Catching Up With Matthew Morrison
By Phillip B. Crook
Three years ago, if you wanted to know which Broadway leading man was most likely to break out onto the national scene, the answer was clear: Cheyenne Jackson. But that was three years ago, before Glee catapulted Matthew Morrison to global stardom (Jackson made it big, too, by the way). Now, Morrison is using his Glee platform to launch his solo music career, which he kicked off with the release of his new single, 'Summer Rain,' to be followed by an album in May. Out chatted with the man better known as Mr. Schuester about recording a track with Elton John, his underwear habits, and what's next on the career to-do list.
Out: We first saw you with your ukulele on Glee. And now it's back for your new single, 'Summer Rain.' What's up with you and that little instrument?
Matthew Morrison: That's my girlfriend [laughs]. I just love Hawaiian culture. When I was in high school, I spent a couple of summers in Hawaii singing backup for Don Ho. But the first time I picked up the ukulele was actually for my Glee audition. I sang 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow,' so that song came full circle when I did it at the end of the first season. I thought it was a very teacherly instrument, so I decided to use it. Obviously, the audition went pretty well.
Clearly. In your song you talk about making love on a rooftop in the summer rain. So' have you?
That's a true story. I was with my girlfriend at the time on top of my apartment building on 51st Street and 9th Avenue, and it was a beautiful summer day. This great rain started and we went to run inside and we didn't quite make it inside. People are like, 'Mr. Schuester likes to have sex in public!' But the song's about being young and in love and in New York. I thought it was so beautiful and wanted to write a song about it.
Was that the craziest place you've had sex?
No. I'm going to leave it at that.
I'm sure the gays in Hell's Kitchen will be pretty excited to hear that you had sex in their neighborhood.
Some of them might have seen me, who knows?
Gwyneth Paltrow's Glee character, Holly, seems like she would have been down for a little public sexy time.
Yeah, I think she would have been way into that.
What with Gwyneth's new record deal, is there a Morrison/Paltrow collaboration in the works?
I think our voices blend so beautifully together. That would be incredible. I'm going on a world tour this summer, and I'm hoping maybe in London she'll come on stage and help me out with a song.
What would you sing?
I don't know, a Prince song?
Speaking of collaborations, what was it like recording with Sir Elton John for your album?
We did a mashup of 'Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters' and it goes into 'Rocket Man.' I wanted to pay homage to him with his music, and he could not have been nicer. He was so game for anything and had such great ideas. It took me a few days afterward to be like, Wait, that wasn't a dream. I sang a duet with Elton John. That actually happened.