What’s your favourite Christmas song? It’s always a hard task to pick a favorite Christmas song, because there are so many classics. Nevertheless, I would say my “go-to” song to get me in the holiday spirit would be The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole.
There are a lot of Christmas albums on the market, with people like Michael Bublé, what makes yours different? The goal with the selection of songs we produced for this Holiday EP was to re-create that “classic” feel á la Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, etc. I love music from the 1950s and 1960s, so I wanted to marry that classic sound with my contemporary flare. I wanted to be sure that the sound complimented that of my latest album, Where It All Began. There was much effort put into the arrangements of the songs, and the project was a collaboration of extremely talented people. The legendary Phil Ramone produced the EP and that translates to the quality of the songs. To give a visual representation of the sound, we recorded with an amazing 60-piece orchestra.
Are you excited about filming the last series of Glee? I have mixed feelings about filming the last season. Although I don’t have any information yet on the script, Ryan Murphy did hint that he has something very special planned. Because Ryan likes very high-concept ideas, I’m sure it will leave fans with a great conclusion to an amazing run. Because of that, I’m excited to see what’s in store, while a bit sad to see it come to an end. But like all good things, it must come to an end at some point!
Any hints about the finale? The script has not been finalised, and none of the cast has received any information yet on plot. All I know is that it’s sure to be a great conclusion and for viewers to expect a slight departure from what they’re used to on the show. I’m just as excited as all of the fans to see what happens.
What’s been your favourite Glee episode? There are so many great episodes, and to be honest, I don’t think I can choose a “favourite.” However, one of the episodes that I have a great memory of filming is when we performed this old Fred Astaire number, You’re All The World To Me. We shot it in a room where you see me dancing on the wall and ceiling. The way they filmed it was so creative – it was actually a room that rotated and it never stayed still. It had to be the most fun performance for me to work on in the show.
Hardest song to sing on the show? I wouldn’t say it was hard for me to sing any particular song on the show. However, it was challenging to perform as a whole during the tribute episode to Cory. The set was full of emotion and it was a difficult time for all of the cast. However, it was a very rewarding experience, as I feel we as a cast are closer than ever since that episode.
Is there a song you’d really like to see performed on the show before it finishes? We’ve covered so many influential songs throughout the past seasons that I have trouble coming up with a song that I’m really yearning to perform on the show. However, the song I was most excited to perform was Coldplay’s Fix You. I’m a big fan.
What are you planning to do after Glee finishes? It really depends on what opportunities present themselves. My true passion resides on stage, performing in front of a live audience. I would love to find a great project on Broadway or The West End. I’ve been playing the role of Mr. Schuester for so long, that it would be nice to take a departure from that role and find one that is completely different. As an actor and performer, I’m always looking to challenge myself and improve my craft.
How is the wedding planning going? Are you involved or leaving it to Renee? The planning is going well and we’re just very excited to share this experience together. With that being said, we’re both very involved with the planning.
Have you been practising together for your first dance? I guess you could say that. We often find excuses to go dancing, so you can say we’re inadvertently perfecting our routine.
How are you spending Christmas this year? There’s something about a New York City Christmas. It’s full of energy and excitement. I’m looking forward to sharing some time in New York with Renee since she hasn’t experienced a New York City Christmas yet.
Best Christmas present you’ve received? What do you want for Christmas this year? There was one year I received this “bigger than life” blow-up dinosaur. I remember coming into the family room and being dwarfed by this gift. My eyes lit up and I was amazed by the size of the present. It was about the size of the tree, or bigger! This past year has been a blessing for me, and I have all I need. I’m most looking forward to spending time with my fiancée, family, and friends.
Matthew Morrison’s A Classic Christmas is available to download on iTunes from November 25th
Matthew Morrison already released a studio album — June’s “Where It All Began” — earlier this year, but that’s not stopping “Glee”‘s Mr. Schue from getting into the holiday spirit with another 2013 release.
Following Christmas covers on “Glee,” “A Classic Christmas” is Morrison’s first holiday-themed EP, is out Nov. 19, and Billboard has the exclusive premiere.
Helmed by late producer Phil Ramone, who passed away in March, “A Classic Christmas” finds Morrison presenting his own take on six popular Christmas standards, including “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “O Holy Night” and “Let it Snow.”
“I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share some of my favorite holiday classics with my fans through this EP,” Morrison said. “With the guidance of my friend and producer, Phil Ramone, we were able to re-envision these timeless songs that I hope the listeners enjoy.”
The EP, Morrison’s second release through Adam Levine’s 222 Records, will get a boost from two performances with the National Symphony Orchestra at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center Nov. 29 and 30, along with a PBS special Nov. 30 that includes a live performance recorded at Hartford, Conn.’s Bushnell Theater.
Alright, we’ve already established that I’m a bit of a Gleek (translation: Gleegeek, or someone who is batsh*t obsessed with the show). So when I heard that Matthew Morrison was releasing his first-ever holiday albumMatthew Morrison: A Classic Christmas(out November 19), I jumped at the chance to interview him again and secure an exclusive song to premiere (stream “This Christmas” below). Like his last set of songs, it will have that debonair, Matthew Morrison vibe and was produced by Adam Levine’s label, 222 Records. The lineup features his Broadway-trained voice crooning out hits like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Let it Snow.” Plus, you can watch him sing (and dance!) the songs when PBS airs his performance with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on November 30. But before then, I quizzed him on creating these holiday tunes, being like Mr. Schue off-set, and how our December cover girl, Lea Michele, has been coping with the loss of her late boyfriend, Cory Monteith.
It seems so natural that you would have a holiday album; why did you wait until now to do it?
I just started coming out with music [recently]. I was in the studio with my friend and producer Phil Ramone working on the last album, Where It All Began. It had that great classic feel and it just made me think of the great, classic Christmas songs. We were like, “Since we are all here, why don’t we do the holiday songs? Let’s revise these timeless songs.” It was weird doing holiday songs in March, but we put Christmas lights all around the recording studio and made it feel a little Christmas-y.
How did you rearrange the songs to make them more “Matthew Morrison,” to give them your Broadway-pop spin?
A lot of it was the great team I had: the late, great Phil Ramone, and Chris Walden, who orchestrated it. I am not an orchestrator—that is not my forte—but I wanted it to have that Matt Morrison feel. I thought of the great Christmas albums by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra—I wanted it to have that classic Christmas sound.
Do you have any dance moves prepared for when you perform these songs?
I haven’t thought about the performances yet. The hard thing about this process is this is technically my second job, so I had to put a lot of focus into what’s going on in Glee right now and doing the lines and dances for that. Nothing is going to be choreographed for sure, but I am a dancer, so I am going to get up there, and whatever feeling my body has, it will just act accordingly.
So we’re exclusively premiering “This Christmas” on ELLE.com. Let’s talk about that song!
“This Christmas” has more of a pop sensibility to it, which I think was probably the hardest for me to record since I have more of that classic [style]. I love this song, and I tried to make it my own. It is just a fun song, and I need that fun, uptempo release as well.
How would you describe your sound?
Lauren, you are not messing around this morning. You are getting deep now.
We didn’t even start with the ‘Glee’ questions, I haven’t gotten deep yet.
For me, my sound is orchestra. I don’t obviously sound orchestral, but in music today, I can hear that everything is over-produced and it sounds synthesized and stuff. I miss hearing a beautiful violin solo or a sax solo, which just moves me in a different way. We actually recorded a lot of this album before the orchestra went into it and then, once the orchestra laid down their stuff, I had to go in and re-record. I was just so inspired by what came out of all the musicians. I had a new sense of how I wanted to interpret the songs just by how they interpreted them. So I think there is a great combination—a duality, between myself and this orchestra—and that is where the energy and the life lives. That just sounded really weird but it’s early [laughs].
That was deep…and now on to ‘Glee!’ I know you are filming the show right now—can you give us any spoilers on what we can expect?
Well, we get our scripts probably the day before we start filming so I don’t know too much in advance, [but I do know] we will be doing a Billy Joel tribute.
How do you think this season has been going so far? Obviously, it has been really emotional. Has it been hard to film?
It was in the beginning. It was extremely hard. I knew it was going to be hard; I didn’t think it would be that hard—just opening up those fresh wounds that we had about Cory [Monteith]. I think the hard part is kind of behind us now, so I think we are all refocused and able to move forward—in a better, more positive way. We have a better outlook on things now, and we are a lot closer as a cast than we ever have been. There is a great energy on set. I feel Cory’s presence is still there, and we kind of have a new motivation for this season and obviously for the rest of the run: to do it for him.
That response was a very Mr. Schue one—motivational, empowering…
See? Sometimes he seeps into things and I can’t help it.
Do you tend to take on the role of Mr. Schue in real life with the cast? After all, you are more of a veteran than most of them. Do your character and your personality overlap?
Yes, absolutely. It did a lot more in the beginning. Everyone kind of has their likes about them, and they know the show so well. They don’t really need my motivation, [but] I think in the beginning there was a lot of that.
It’s been announced that unfortunately there are only two seasons left of ‘Glee.’ What do you hope Mr. Schue and the crew accomplish before we say goodbye?
I don’t know what is happening with the show. I know this season will finish like a normal Glee season. Ryan [Murphy] hasn’t told me about next season, but he just kind of said that he has something special planned. He likes very high-concept kind of things, so I think that he is going to shake it up a lot with the last season and it is going to be completely something different, leaving the fans on a high note and ending this thing properly.
I hope there is one final tour.
You want another Glee tour?
Yes. Or a movie—Glee The Movie—like the ‘Sex and the City’ movies. Would you want to be in it?
Um, I don’t know. I feel like this thing is such a TV show. But…I dunno…yes, I would love to be in it.
How has it been working with her this season? Everyone says she’s so strong.
She is the strongest one of us all. It definitely hit her the hardest. There were a lot times when different people would go to her house. Everyone was on watch with her, and we would just kind of take care of her, making sure she was okay. She has come out of this thing a lot stronger, and I think with a better sense of self. I think she knows herself even more and has grown through this whole experience. A lot of it had to do with Cory, too. I think Cory was someone who was such a great influence on her life and such a positive person for her to be around. They really helped each other grow. So it is great to see her keep that same sensibility of what he brought to her and keep him alive through her actions.
So, you recently got engaged. Any wedding plans yet?
Yes, we have gotten into planning. We are going to get married sometime in early 2015—that is kind of when I can, when my schedule frees up. It is going to be a small intimate wedding, like 40 people.
Is there going to be a theme?
We are both rustic people, so it will probably be very minimalist but quaint—a lot of great lighting and wood tables.
Will you serenade her at the wedding?
Um, there is a chance. I hope for a lot of singing at the wedding. We have a lot of musical friends, and I hope we have a great band that lets everyone come up and do different numbers. It can be one big singing and dancing party.
It will be like Mr. Schue and Emma’s wedding on ‘Glee!’
Yes, exactly, that is what I am going to model it off of [laughs].
LOS ANGELES, CA, October 9th 2013 — EMMY, TONY, and Golden Globe-nominated star Matthew Morrison is excited to announce the release of his first-ever holiday collection entitled A Classic Christmas on November 19, 2013. The EP is a wonderful set of holiday tunes from one of the standards world’s most impressive crooners that brings a fresh sound to these cherished Christmas classics. Morrison turned to the late legendary producer Phil Ramone (who also produced Matthew’s collection of Broadway standards, Where It All Began, out earlier this year) to create the 6 songs featured on the EP. This marks Morrison’s second release from 222 Records, the newly formed label from Adam Levine.In further support of the EP, Matthew Morrison will be performing on November 29th and 30th with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Fans can also catch a special performance by Morrison on PBS beginning November 30, 2013. The network will air a live concert recorded at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, Connecticut that finds Morrison serenading the at home audience with both timeless Christmas songs and a collection of standards from Where It All Began. Check your local listings.TRACK LISTING IS AS FOLLOWS:1. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year 2. This Christmas 3. O Holy Night 4. Jingle Bell Rock 5. Let It Snow 6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas / Mele KalikimakaAfter studying musical theater, vocal performance and dance at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, Matthew Morrison made his debut on Broadway in Footloose, followed by The Rocky Horror Picture Show. However, it was his role as Link Larkin in the original cast of the Broadway production of Hairspray that served as his breakthrough and led to him being cast in the critically acclaimed The Light In The Piazza. His portrayal of young lover Fabrizio Naccarelli garnered him a TONY nomination for best performance by a featured actor in a musical. He subsequently received a Drama Desk nomination for outstanding actor in the off-Broadway musical 10 Million Miles and reprised the role of Lieutenant Cable in Lincoln Center’s TONY-nominated production of South Pacific. Matthew soon followed these performances with his role as the perpetually optimistic high school teacher Will Schuester on FOX TV’s Glee, which he has received both EMMY and two Golden Globe nominations. He most recently co-starred alongside Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez in the major motion picture What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Most recently, Matthew released a collection of Broadway standards entitled Where It All Began. The collection is available now.