"Glee" star Matthew Morrison is preparing for a busy summer. With the recent release of his self-titled debut album, the 32-year-old star is setting off on a solo tour. He'll also be joining New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys as a special guest on their highly-anticipated tour. Check out his interview with Parade.com, where he discusses the future of "Glee," his friendship with Gwyneth Paltrow, and how he deals with the negative side of fame.
On his first solo album: "I'm really excited. It's been a tough road just because of the beast that is 'Glee.' That's my real job and it's a lot of hours, so it was hard finding the time to just record on the weekends and try to bang this thing out. I'm just happy that it's out and off my chest and I'm getting good feedback. The best part for me is coming up, and that's going to be the live performances. That's what I do for a living, and I can't wait to be on stage singing my own songs."
On his duet partners Elton John and Sting: "That was a dream come true, but I didn't even think I could dream that big to have them on the album. They are two of the best singer-songwriters of all time. It was such an honor, such a learning experience -- especially in the studio with Elton John just watching this living legend do what he does. He's such a student of music and I will never forget that experience."
On the inspiration behind the song, "My Name": "It's probably the most personal song on the album. I wrote that song in London between the first and second season of 'Glee.' The paparazzi is kind of crazy here in L.A., but it's nothing like it is in London. They are animals over there, it's insane. I walk down the street and people see me as my character, no one really knows my name, Matthew Morrison, and I was kind of having a hard time dealing with that, so the song is about the duality of being Mr. Schuester and being me. One of the lines in the song is 'All of this love surrounds me, but I'm still alone.' It's weird walking in a room and people having this perception of you before they even meet you. I kind of miss the days of, 'Let me show you who I am.'"
On how being compared to Will Schuester isn't all bad: "Everyone thinks I'm a nice guy, which is not a bad way to be perceived. If I wasn't an actor and I hadn't gone to New York and had the success I had out there, I would probably be a music teacher like Will. I love getting to play that. People sometimes say to me that I'm the inspirational teacher they've always wanted to have, so that's a nice compliment."
On how he's managed to deal with the negative side of fame: "That's a side of celebrity that no one teaches you anything about, so you really have to learn on your own how to deal with it. I feel very lucky that this sort of fame happened at a later age for me. I really can't buy into what people say. Unfortunately, we live in a time where we have to sell these magazines, and they literally just make stuff up. When that first started happening, I was in a rage. But I got over that and I know my own truth. I have a great group of friends around me, so I'm happy at the end of the day."
On how tabloid fame has affected his love life: "I'm very wary of that. It's hard going out with friends or even just meeting someone new because of what it turns into. It's like I never had a chance with this person because it was squashed before I could even really get to know them because there's a big media circus around it and I can't see this person anymore."
On how his fellow co-stars have handled their new fame: "I think everyone's done a really amazing job. We really had to go through this whole process together as a family because none of us had ever experienced it, even Jane Lynch, whose been in the business a lot longer than any of us. Some of us made mistakes and I think we've all learned from those and we really just stand up for each other. We're just such a team."
On his guest co-star and new friend Gwyneth Paltrow: "One of the best things I got out of this season was meeting her. We've just become really great friends. And that's another case of people speculating something else, but when there were rumors surrounding us, she actually went out publicly and was like, 'Screw it. You'll see me hanging out with Matt Morrison. He's my friend. And I was like, 'That's how you handle that!' She doesn't care. She's been in this business long enough that she's dealt with a lot of craziness. She's an amazing mother and an amazing wife and to see what a strong family foundation she has amidst her amazing career -- I'm so in awe of her. I've learned so much from her in that aspect because I never wanted to be famous, I just wanted to be respected, and I have such respect for her. She's really done it right in my book."
On the future of Glee: "I think there's going to be some transitions coming up. The kids are definitely getting older and we've incorporated some new cast members this past year. I don't know if we're going to keep on doing that, like an ever-changing thing where new people come on and some people start leaving. Anything I could ever think of for the character or the show, the writers will think of something ten times better. I have so much faith in them. They've really guided us well. The best part of the job is getting a new script, it's like Christmas morning every time we get a new script."
On going on tour with New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys this summer: "I have a whole solo tour planned, but they came to me with this offer to do a couple shows and I really couldn't refuse. My tour will be playing 2,000 to 3,000 seats a night, but this is the opportunity to play 15,000 to 20,000 seats a night, and to people who don't really know me as a musician, so I can really gain more fans."
On listening to NKOTB as a teen: "Yes, I liked some of their songs. I had a cassette tape of New Kids on the Block. They had fun, catchy songs. I was there for the first album. I think it wasn't cool for guys to like them after that, but I probably secretly still listened to them."