What’s Up With Unique: A Candid Interview With Glee Star Alex Newell


Tell us a little bit about what projects you’re currently working on:

Well right now I’m really working on my first album. It’s a lot to think about- and it’s a lot to do actually. I’m so use to going into the studio for Glee and being there for like an hour to record maybe 2 or 3 songs but now I’m working 5 to 6 hours for 1 song.

Can you elaborate a bit on what kind of album this is going to be and what type of sound we should be expecting from you?

It’s interesting. We’re still trying to figure it all out… but I can say that its going to be a new kind of sound.

It sounds really exciting. Are you in the beginning process of it or will it be released sometime in the near future?

I’m in the early process of it all… you have to do as many songs as you can so that you have options of amazing songs

If you could collaborate with one artist for this album who would it be and why?

Nicki Minaj! I love her energy and everything about her and i think she would do something amazing with this new sound we’re creating. And I think her crazy ideas would go amazing with mine.

Did you ever hear from her after your “Starships” performance on Glee?

No but I do hope she liked it. I mean I did do a split lift!!!

Your split was perfection. Did you ever hear from any of the artists you covered while on the show?

Thanks- and I haven’t heard from any of them.. I don’t think…

Well I bet they loved it if they saw it. Speaking of Glee- were you notified beforehand of the creative changes now taking place on the show? (with the story taking place just in NYC now)

We all knew and its interesting to see where the story is going!!

Do you think the show would have revolved around McKinley if Cory was still alive or do you think this was an inevitable change?

It’s all hard to say. I’m sorry.

That’s okay I understand. What would you like to see happen with Unique. Is there a storyline you could see her taking?

I could see so many things for Ms. Thang! She’s so interesting and I would like to see more interaction with her family or her finding someone that loves her for her that’s not a best friend like Marley.

I think it’d be great if we could see hear more from Unique especially with regards to a future romance. Are  there any songs that you’d love to sing on the show in the future?

Right now i would love to do “Grown Woman” or “Blow” even though it’s a little inappropriate.

So a little bit of a technical question. How far in advance do you know if you’re going to film an episode for Glee? Is it planned months in advance or do you work more episode by episode?

We work episode by episode it keeps us on our toes.

Do you have to leave your schedule somewhat open to accommodate potential episodes or do you have the time to work on other projects besides your album?

Well working on Glee you kind of had to have a completely open schedule because anything could happen and you could have to go into work at any time.

Okay that makes sense. What was your most challenging scene to film on Glee? I know that you had several moments on the show that were very dramatic and heart wrenching.

“If I Were A Boy”  There was a lot more to that scene that never aired but it was hard to just stay in the moment for two separate days that were a week apart.

So you filmed that number over multiple days? That must be really hard to stay in the moment. Also, you lip sync on set correct? Or do you just sing softly?

It depends…if it’s a dance number I  just move my lips because mama needs to breathe and keep it going for 8-12 hours.  If it’s a song like “Wide Awake” or you have more friends than you know I’ll sing full out so it look more real!! and you actually feel it.

Oh cool. I had hoped that’s what you did. Who would you say is your closest friend on the set?

I love me some Melissa and Blake but my heart is always with Amber, Kevin and Chris.

Melissa and Blake are engaged right? Did you see their relationship coming?

I mean yes! We spend a lot of time together!!

Is there any big character on Glee that you’ve never actually done a scene with?

Nope, I’ve had a scene with everyone.

How has your job on Glee impacted your position in the LGBT community? Do you think people expect more from you because you play a kind of character that hasn’t really been on prime time television?

I don’t think people expect more or less of me I think its just refreshing to see a character like mine represented on TV.

Do you think people can between you and your character? And do you wish there had been a character like this on television when you were on high school?

You know some people can’t tell the difference which in a way is a compliment… and in a selfish way i don’t because I  think it was waiting on me!!

That’s a great answer. Now I’ve seen you perform onstage as well as on Glee and I have to ask: Do you have any plans on returning to the stage any time soon? You really are an incredibly gifted stage actor as well as television.

I would love to to return to the stage!!! I kind of need to.. I tell my team that we need to make time for me to get back to my roots!!

Well I can’t wait for your return and I’ll be sure to be in the front row. On a completely different note, who are you rooting for on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6?

Well Auntie Ru keeps sending my favorites home!!! Like Trinity, Milk, Laganja and Gia. So right now I’m a Bianca and Ben fan!

I feel you. To kind of wrap things up- what is one piece of advice you’d give people?

Be yourself! It’s harder to try to be someone that you’re not. And it’s soooo beautiful to see someone come into their own and in the end  you are that much more successful.

 

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

Alex, myself and our elderly friend!
Alex, myself and our elderly friend!

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