Darren Criss has spent years crafting his debut album. And, while fans got a taste of what the "Glee" star can do on his 2010 EP, Human, this time, the singer/actor is challenging himself to make something they've never heard before.
"So I really have been putting that in high gear and I have been working for the past three years seriously on making that album, and it's tough 'cause I come from so many different worlds," he explained to MTV News. "I could make that very niche pretentious, Wall of Sound, Rufus Wainwright, Animal Collective fusion record, which I will make someday maybe, but it won't sell 'cause nobody will like it except me. I could do that, but as an artist everyone has a responsibility when they're on a public landscape to cast the widest net and find the in-between."
The album is slated to drop sometime later this year. Before then, he'll be testing out material on his Listen Up... tour, kicking off on May 29 in San Francisco. So, he's looking to gauge the audience to see how they are feeling about these new tunes. "It's really trying to make something as appealing for everybody, that is fun and exciting and young and immediate," he explained. "That's really the goal. I don't know if I'm going to accomplish it. It's a really tall order."
But with the album not yet completed, Criss still has time to try to fill that order based on how he's feeling once he gets out there. "Because I really started going to music as a musical theater writer, and lyrics are really important to me and wordplay and whimsy and sort of always slightly left of center, which is my general mantra in life for everything I do for me," he said.
"I try and stray away from cliches as much as humanly possible and not to say cliches are bad... but basically there are certain things you hear over and over in the radio, certain lines and certain sounds that are unavoidable because they're catchy," Criss added. "And I'm really trying my best to have it sound like something where people say that sounds like Darren. It needs to be specific to me. That's a really important thing to do as an artist and it's not easy. I don't think I'm going to accomplish it."
In the end, Criss notes, it's about going as big as he possibly can. He said, "I aim for the stars and if I land on my roof, I'm happy."