Lea Michele :: ’Brunette Ambition and All About Living ’Louder’
It is undeniable: The force that emanates from this petite frame is nothing less than immense. If you haven’t heard her over the last five years on "Glee," you have missed a great talent. Fortunately for you, she is just beginning.
She and the rest of the cast have introduced a whole new generation to classic American music ranging from Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin’," to Barbra Streisand’s famed classic from "Funny Girl," "Don’t Rain On My Parade." The Broadway maven actually thanked the young doyenne for introducing her to said generation... Hello, Gorgeous!
Born on August 29, 1986 in the Bronx, New York Michele started early, landing the role of young Cosette at 8 in the 1995 Broadway production of "Les Miserables." She really hasn’t stopped singing since... "Ragtime" in 1998, "Fiddler on the Roof" and then her intense breakout role as Wendla in "Spring Awakening," a show that perhaps mirrored bits of the transition she was herself making from child star to the adult version we now have the delight to know.
That transition hasn’t been without its challenges and as with most young people, there have been difficult moments. Losing boyfriend Cory Monteith in 2013 being one, very large challenge. She, like the phoenix, has risen from those personal ashes and feels she now has something to offer others - borne from those experiences. That tempering is definitely front-and-center in her new album "Louder," due out this month - both light and popish, yet at the same time showing a breadth and depth of emotional
experience. Nicely done, I highly recommend it.
Her new book "Brunette Ambition" was another offshoot of her growth. "There wasn’t a guidebook when I was growing up that detailed everything I would need to do and know, to get where I am today," said Michele. "But I believe I can write one of sorts: not a how-to-make- it-in-show-business book, but a guide to harnessing tenacity, passion, enthusiasm and hard work to make your dreams come true." Harnessing tenacity, I like the sound of that...
I HAD THE CHANCE TO TALK TO THE AMBITIOUS YOUNG DREAMER:
You started on Broadway at 8 years old, from there it seems like it’s been a rocketship ride to the moon. Does it feel that way for you?
It sort of seems like I’ve lived nine lives in such a short period of time. I feel like that even though I started very early at a young age, I really had such a fun childhood. And I had such a great high school experience. I think that my family really managed to give me the best of both worlds.
It must have been an amazing environment. In many ways you have had the kind of childhood that many would love to have had!
It was really exciting and such an amazing experience being on Broadway and learning my craft. I didn’t really expect to make my way to Los Angeles at such an early stage, but it has been an amazing ride - I have been here for nearly six years now.
It’s been pretty remarkable listening to your album, which to me is all about love and transformation. When you started the process was that your intention?
The album really evolved and did end up taking on many different forms, shapes and sounds. At the end of the day the final product is a really great representation of who I am at this stage in my life.
It’s really funny because when I look at it now, I can see everything that I was feeling and going through. Whether or not I intended on that happening, it did and I am really thankful for that. It’s kind of amazing to have it all recorded permanently on a CD... forever.
One can really get a sense of your emotions from the music. There is definitely a depth to the songs and lyrics.
Thank you. I am so proud of this album, and I really feel like it represents me. I’m a very honest, outspoken person. I’m also 27 years old now, so for me it was important for the album to be mature and truthful. It’s a raw, honest, edgy album, but it’s definitely fun and there is some great music for everyone.
I have to tell you, I love "You’re Mine." It’s my favorite cut I think, though I ran across another wonderful cut that isn’t listed on the album I received, "What Is Love." Is that just a bonus selection?
"You’re Mine" is my favorite. I believe that "What Is Love" is only available on the bonus pack - the deluxe edition. I love that song too!
Will you do any touring?
I hope so! It’s definitely part of my plan, but we haven’t figured anything out as of yet. I’m still wrapping season five of "Glee." We’re on episode 15 right now and we still have to finish up seven more. Then we’ll start shooting our last season in the summer, season six! If we could get some touring in during my summer break, that would be great!
I spoke with Matthew Morrison for our February issue about Glee ending and he is excited about the possibilities coming for him. What are you looking forward to most?
I so love my job, I would be on "Glee" playing Rachel Berry until I was an old lady singing at the senior citizens club! (Laughs). I don’t feel like "Glee" has ever held me back from doing anything, I did an animated movie ("Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return"), I did my album, my book, I did a film a couple years ago ("New Year’s Eve") so for me "Glee" has been the best experience, and I am so grateful.
It’s great, Ryan Murphy and everyone there are so wonderful and so supportive of me -I am so happy - life is very good.
I love the show and still watch. I was totally a music geek in high school. It’s so exciting to me that you guys are reinvigorating music for a whole new generation. Did you have any idea the scale it would take on?
I knew that it was really special and I knew that anything Ryan Murphy did was very unique as far as music. The fact that it was able to break down some
new walls and make its own mark is so incredible. The first time I met Barbra Streisand, the first thing she said to me was, "Thank you so much for introducing me to your generation."
It is because of "Glee" that people, young kids in particular, who may not have known the music of people like Streisand, know it now. Music like Journey or things like that, it’s pretty remarkable that we’ve been able to open them up to that world.
Do you have any plans at this point to return to Broadway?
I’m pretty busy right now with the album and "Glee," but it’s something I want to do. It’s my home and I’d love to come back to it. We will just have to see. I definitely have some things going on right now (laughs) so hopefully in the near future!
Any fantasy roles you want to play?
Oh my gosh, I want to conquer all of the great roles! There are so many that I would love to tackle, it’s hard to name just one!
How about "Funny Girl?" You are really the only other person I can imagine in that role.
Well you’ll have to talk to Ryan Murphy about that one. He owns the rights to the show!
We’re going to have to work on him.
Yes, I’m sure he’s got it all planned out, we just have to sit back and relax!
"Louder" is available in wide release on March 3. "Brunette Ambition" will be available on May 13.