ACCORDING to actor Matthew Morrison, he is still getting used to the spotlight - a strange claim from someone who has become a bona fide mega-star through his starring role as Mr Schuester in TV phenomenon Glee.
As head of the McKinley High Glee Club, the 32-year-old has gone from Broadway performer to one of the most successful and recognisable actors around, singing and dancing his way into the hearts and minds of a worldwide audience.
He's now vying to take over the airwaves, thanks to his recentlyreleased, self-titled debut album, which boasts duets with Elton John, Sting and sometime co-star Gwyneth Paltrow, and the subsequent European tour which arrives in Scotland next month.
Matthew is grateful for the success, and the opportunities which have come his way as a result, but his star has risen so quickly you sense he is still trying to get his head around his celebrity status, fighting what Lady Gaga christened the fame monster.
He said: "I never dreamed of seeing my name in lights. I wanted to be an actor but I never wanted fame and I was fine with that. I worked steadily and I had respect from my fellow actors and I was fine with that but this show, Glee...it's a monster.
"There's a song on my album 'I never about dealing with fame. It's so weird because I don't feel I should be someone to be looked up to. I'm just another human being and I am trying to do the best job I can but it's hard, especially with the album, because there are a lot of expectations for it.
"I'm not a hero but if anybody does look up to me, I hope I am doing a good job of just being an example of a good person who has big dreams and wants to see them come true."
Perhaps part of the reason he has been taken aback by fame is because his expectations of Glee were so low.
While the show has been a critical and commercial success, showered with Golden Globe and Emmy nominations and awards, and sales from the spin-off songs and albums from the show reaching tens of millions, Matthew thought it was going to sink into obscurity after the pilot.
He said: "I did a couple of pilots of shows before Glee and I thought all of them were going to go and none of them did. Then with Glee I was like, 'This doesn't have a prayer in the world, a musical about singing and dancing and high school? Nah, that's not going to happen'. I truly cannot believe where it is. It is incredible.
"Glee is the hardest I have ever worked. We work a lot of hours but it's great that we are doing something so special and it has a message each week which makes comment on the society we live in, be it about being gay, dealing with bullying or teen pregnancy. Hopefully it strikes up conversations among families. I'm very proud of it and it is very rewarding."
Matthew has had another, more tangible reward, in the shape of his album, which he knows comes as a by-product of his success on the show.
He said: "Glee gave me the opportunity to do this, absolutely. Since the show my exposure has gone the through the roof." But leaving the show behind, even briefly, to go on tour is "intimidating".
He said: "I come from the Broadway stage and doing TV has been awesome, its been such a great time but I do miss being on stage.
"I'm nervous. In Glee or on stage normally, you can always hide behind a character or the cast or the crew. There is something so exposing about doing a record by yourself and then going on tour but at the heart of everything, I am a live performer.
"Tv can be very isolating and sometimes it doesn't feel completely creative. I am excited about getting in front of an audience again."
Going on the road has other compensations. Matthew's date at the SECC in Glasgow will give him a chance to see the country of his forefathers' bloodline.
He said: "I do have Scottish connections, I am very Scottish, part of the Morrison clan. My grandmother talks about it a lot and I am really looking forward to coming over and hopefully getting a little bit of time to hang out."
Matthew needed to draw on his good, old-fashioned Scottish work ethic to get his album made, writing songs and speaking to producers in the three-month break between filming the first and second season of Glee. He recorded it at weekends when he wasn't filming.
He said: "I've missed my bed. My life has been Glee and this album so I'm excited just to have it out and in the world."
He has just scrapped part of his solo tour in the US to go on tour with New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys in July but he is used to working with big-name acts.
Actress Gwyneth agreed to perform on the album after they worked together on Glee, where she played a sexy substitute teacher, and he got Elton on board after meeting him through working for his AIDS foundation.
Matthew said: "Asking him was the hardest part. I'm very shy, but he was so nice and so great about the whole thing. I wanted to pay homage to him and cover a couple of his songs. I did Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters going into Rocket Man. It's this epic sevenminute song and the record company said we should cut it down but that's one where I said, 'no, let's keep the whole thing on there'. He was just such a pleasure to work with.
"Funnily enough, in the studio I wasn't nervous. I was numb to it, because I didn't believe it was actually happening. It wasn't until about three days afterwards, I was like, 'did that really happen?' It was a surreal experience but it was great being in a studio with him because I feel his presence really got something great out of me.
"Gwyneth is awesome. I was at her Hollywood Walk Of Fame star last year and I don't think anyone deserves it more than she does. She was such a great addition to the show and everyone really stepped up their game when she was around because having an Oscar-winning actress playing with us was quite humbling for all of us."
Matthew doesn't know how long it will all last but, while he is wary of fame, he is certainly enjoying the moment.
He said: "I have different facets of my career. I'm in a TV phase just now and a singing phase. I've been in a Broadway phase, I hope to go onto a film and a directing phase after that so I kind of compartmentalise all of them. You only live once and I am trying to make the best of this life."Source