NEW YORK — Much of Ben Platt’s debut album “Sing to Me Instead” is inspired by past loves, but he laughs at the notion that he could be pulling a Taylor Swift.
Platt says the songs are more about emotions than specifics, so there’s no need to give any former boyfriends a heads-up.
“I didn’t feel the need to give any warnings,” he said recently. “Thankfully there’s nothing too harmful said about anyone … I’m sure if these people ever did find out that I had written about them, I’m sure they would agree the emotional experience was what I put across.”
He does say there was something cathartic about looking back through the lens of music.
“I always sort of laughed when Taylor Swift talks about relationships, and she can only move on when she’s put it into a song, but there’s a real truth to that.”
The album doesn’t just put his exes in the rearview mirror, it also puts distance between Platt and his Tony Award-winning role in “Dear Evan Hansen.” Little on the album is reminiscent of the songs from the hit Broadway musical; instead, the “Sing to Me Instead” is a more soulful project.
It was important to Platt, that his first album as an artist take him on a different path from the music he performed in his acting roles (He played the nerdy Benji in “Pitch Perfect” and its sequel).
“I definitely wanted to make sure it was stylistically and sort of musically what I liked the most and what I love to sing,” said Platt, citing James Taylor, Carole King and Donny Hathaway as examples.
Anyone coming to see the star when his concert kicks off in May and expecting to get a dose of “Dear Evan Hansen” take note: Platt won’t be singing any of that show’s songs on his tour.
But he hasn’t completely left that character behind.
Universal Pictures — and Platt’s producer dad Marc Platt — have secured the film rights to “Dear Evan Hansen” and he hasn’t ruled out reprising the role on the big screen.
“I know it’s in development and being written. Of course, that would be a wonderful thing I would love to be a part of,” he said.
In the interim, his next acting role is a much darker character than those he’s been most identified with.
Platt stars in the upcoming Netflix series “The Politician” from Ryan Murphy, playing a wealthy, morally challenged teen seeking to win an election to secure his spot at Harvard. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange and Zoey Deutch also star.
Platt said Murphy sought him out for the role after seeing him in “Dear Evan Hansen.”
“He said, ‘You were this open book, this sweet, empathetic, very easy to root for (character). And I would like you to now play someone who is conniving and sociopathic and has a lot of hubris and is kind of a brat. I want to challenge you to just turn completely on its head,'” Platt recalls. “I was like, ‘What more could you ask for as an actor?”
ALICIA RANCILIO, Associated Press