Morrison joined by Robinson, Ramone on new album

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Matthew Morrison has a guy crush, and it's someone more than twice his age: Smokey Robinson.

"I love women, but just looking into his green eyes, he can melt you," the 34-year-old "Glee" star said with a laugh. "He's just an amazing, beautiful man. I love him so much."

Robinson, 73, appears on a duet with Morrison on "The Wiz" classic "Ease on Down the Road." It's from Morrison's sophomore album, "Where It All Began," due out June 4 on Adam Levine's 222 Records.

Morrison said he recorded before Robinson, but wanted to redo his vocals after hearing the Motown legend's magic.

"I was so inspired by his performance on the song that I wanted to kind of match his energy," he said in an interview Monday from London.

Morrison's album, which includes songs made famous on Broadway, was produced by Phil Ramone, who died of complications stemming from heart surgery last month.

"When he said yes, it was a game changer," Morrison said of getting his "dream producer."

Morrison said an ill Ramone surprised him by coming to the November taping of his PBS special, "Matthew Morrison: Where It All Began — Live From the Bushnell," to air June 1.

"Just listening to him (talk about) working with Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand and just hearing these great stories; some were heartfelt and some were vulgar, stuff I can never repeat, but that was a great part of the journey," he said.

Morrison has appeared on Broadway in shows such as "Hairspray," ''Footloose" and "The Light in the Piazza," which earned him a Tony nomination.

He released his self-titled debut in 2011 on Mercury Records, and his upcoming album is the first release on Levine's new label. He said the multiplatinum singer was an easygoing boss.

"He's such a fan of these songs, of this genre ... we can talk about Frank and Sammy and Dean Martin for days," he said. "He really treated me as he wanted to be treated as an artist. ... He came a couple times in the studio just to kind of hear where we were and he just absolutely loved it. I never felt so free in a recording process."

Morrison recorded the album in between his schedule for "Glee," where he stars as Spanish teacher and glee club coach Will Schuester. Fox recently signed the show for two more years, and Morrison plans to stick around.

"As an actor it's rare to find a steady gig, so I'll definitely stay on for a while," he said.




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