An Interview With Musician Actor KEVIN MCHALE, Formerly of Glee Fame, All About His Debut EP, ‘Boy’!
Globally acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, and former Glee star Kevin McHale released his debut EP “Boy” earlier this year via innovative content platform and global distributor Vydia.
Boy is a collection of “remarkably vulnerable, neurotically introspective and playfully funny” tracks, toying between “.. a rare combination of self-possession and pop hedonism, which, overall sounds a little bit like if Justin Timberlake had Troye Sivan’s sensitivity, with a dose of Lorde’s introspection,” according to Paper Magazine.
McHale’s indie debut project earned millions of streams in just the first few months and added to tens of thousands of playlists globally, garnering the support of influencers and notable press alike.
“This EP is about having confidence in being self-conscious,” Kevin explains. “As counter-intuitive as that may sound, I just mean that it was all about being able to express whatever I wanted regardless of how self-deprecating or vulnerable or arrogant it might come off, and to feel good and confident about that because ultimately the music is for me – for me to express my memories, feelings, thoughts and work through them. I want this music to be a conversation for those who see themselves in it and those who don’t and myself – an open dialogue about our experiences with no filter and some nice beats.”
After over a decade of assuming key roles on everything from FOX’s EMMY® Award-winning Glee to the acclaimed ABC mini-series When We Rise, with his debut EP Kevin McHale is formally introducing himself as an artist with an infectious and idiosyncratic take on pop. As a child in Texas, he took the first step towards a life in music. In 2007, he launched his career in the pop group NLT before transitioning to film and television full-time. Beyond memorable spots on the likes of True Blood and The Office, he spent six seasons on Glee as fan favorite Artie Abrams in addition to touring the country in the show’s live production and appearing on the big-screen in Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. During this time, he attracted millions of followers online and garnered nominations at the Teen Choice Awards and beyond. Along the way, he quietly wrote songs and spent countless hours in the studio.
Encouraged by NLT collaborator and producer Justin Thorne as well as songwriter Wednesday, he crafted his debut solo EP, Boy—released as the first artist signing for Vydia in 2019. The project illuminates the nuances of Kevin’s manic love for a wide swath of genres, finding a middle ground between influences as diverse as SZA and nineties pop favorites a la Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.
In addition to releasing new music this year, Kevin also launched a podcast with former Glee cast-mate Jenna Ushkowitz. Titled Showmance, the project is part of The LadyGang/ PodcastOne Network and features Kevin and Jenna interviewing some of film and television’s favorite best friends about their work-life balance and maintaining friendships in Hollywood.
Stream Boy on Spotify – Boy
Learn more about Kevin McHale in the following All Access interview-
Now that we are at the end of the year, how has 2019 treated you? What are some goals that you had for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
2019 has been really good to me! I released my EP boy over the summer, just after my debut single “Help Me Now” and people actually listened and watched the videos! It’s really cool feeling putting your art out there and getting a great reception. I can now officially scratch that goal off, which was ironically my goal for the year. I had been working on my own music for a while but I knew this year was time to finally get it out there.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Who was encouraging you to make this a career from the very beginning?
Music was probably the biggest part of my life, growing up. I’ve been obsessed since as long as I can remember. My entire family loves music (we still have dance parties when we’re together over the holidays) so they’ve always been really supportive of my career from the NLT boy band days to Glee and especially now with my own solo project.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician or an actor today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
I could possibly also be a professional cake taster. If there are any companies out there paying for this, I’m your guy! I could definitely feel fulfilled eating cake every day, haha.
Congrats on recently releasing your debut EP called “Boy”! How did you celebrate the release of it? What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How long would you say that you have wanted to make this EP?
I’m really lucky that I got to work on EP music with my best friends, Justin Thorne and Wednesday. Not a lot of artists have the right kind of talented people in their lives that are willing to just go to work for them. It’s definitely been a long time in the making. But timing is everything and it took my a bit to get past the anxiety of just putting it out.
Can you talk about how the June download proceeds of “Help Me Now” and “James Dean” were donated to The Trevor Project in honor of Pride month? Why is this organization particularly important to you?
My distribution company, Vydia, actually had the idea to donate the download profits from my follow up single “James Dean.” We were releasing it during Pride month and the video is obviously LGBTQ themed. I chose The Trevor Project b/c they’re an important organization to me, just remembering what it was like growing up with these feelings and not knowing exactly what to do or who to talk to about it. I’ve also collaborated with and support them in the past.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career?
All my fans know I’m literally on social media all the time so no, it hasn’t been too hard keeping up. It’s great b/c I’ve muted and/ blocked all the trolls over the tears, so it’s like my own little pool of loving and beautiful comments. Instagram is my regular go to. Unless we’re talking politics, world news or important social issues, then I’m all over Twitter.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who has inspired this EP and who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’m LOVING Lizzo right now.. she’s just.. amazing.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
Haha, wow. I’m not sure. I’d have to consult with my friend, Justin Thorne, who conceptualized and directed 3 out of the 4 of my videos for the EP (Help Me Now, James Dean and Arizona. I can’t even imagine what he’d come up with, with an unlimited budget, but he’s insanely talented so everyone would be talking about it, I’m sure.
Where would you absolutely love to hear one of your songs? On a TV show, in a movie or elsewhere?
Honestly, anywhere but I’d really like to make it to the New Music Friday playlist with one of my future release (awkwardly looking at you, Spotify). One Day.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I really just hope they enjoy it! The music is an expression of myself, but a lot of the messaging is relatable and I hope people can identify with it.