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'Places,' Please: Lea Michele Turns Back To Broadway

Lea Michele's new album is <em>Places</em>.
Lea Michele's new album is <em>Places</em>.

Lea Michele was 8 years old when she was cast as the young Cosette in Les Misérables. Then came more Broadway roles — in Ragtime, Fiddler On The Roof and Spring Awakening — before she became Rachel Berry on Glee.

Now, Michele has a new album that plays off her stage history. The title, Places, calls to mind the announcement that actors hear backstage just before the curtain goes up, and Michele tells NPR's Scott Simon that's not an accident.

"This is my second record; I had the privilege of recording my first album, Louder, in 2014," she says. "The sound of that record was a little pop-heavy, and it was important for me, with recording this second record, that I really connect with my true sound. ... I wanted a title that was sort of a call to all of that, and a call back to my roots."

Michele says one of the songs on Places, "Hey You," is in some ways the sequel to a song she wrote for Louder about the loss of her boyfriend and Glee costar, Cory Monteith.

"With writing the first song, it definitely had its darker tones to it," she says. "This song in particular — it comes from a much more healed place. It's just about thinking to yourself, if you had five minutes with someone that you lost, what would you say? And I realized it would be a much more simple conversation than you would imagine."

Michele spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about her journey to Broadway as a child, learning more than 800 songs for Glee and the sometimes-confusing process of developing her own style. Hear the interview at the audio link.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.