Darren Criss Trying Out ’26 Years’ Worth Of Music On Listen Up… Tour

'Glee' star tells MTV News his tour, kicking off this week, is 'more of an experiment' for his long, long-awaited debut album.

Listen up, Darren Criss‘s solo tour kicks off Wednesday (May 29). And the “Glee” star is using the summer jaunt to road test some material off his in-the-works debut album .

The Listen Up… tour kicks off in his hometown of San Francisco before wrapping up four weeks later in Maryland on June 30. And along the way, the actor/singer will be trying out some never-before-heard material.

“We’re playing a lot of new songs, and it is a sort of venture into new territory for people who may or may not know my music [and] people who know me pre-’Glee’ or pre-StarKid There’s a lot of music that I had that I may or may not play on the tour,” he explained to MTV News. “It’s more of an experiment. I’ve been working on a solo album for basically 26 years. It’s been changing throughout my life, depending on where I’m at personally, as it should, I guess.”

With so much material at his disposal, he knew the tour was the right way to sift through it all and see what will make the cut for his 2013 release. “Instead of trying to make these calculated decisions of what people are going to like, what they’re not going to like and what they’re responding to, I was like, ‘Let’s just go on the road,’ ” he said. “It’s really a chance to test out that material; if something doesn’t work, it’ll be instantly noticeable.”

But, if a song shouldn’t work during these live gigs, and the audience doesn’t seem to be feeling it, it doesn’t mean he’ll toss it altogether. He’s getting the final say if he “digs it.” “It’s a two-way street,” he explained. “If we’re playing it and it feels [disingenuous], audiences are smart… I will definitely take notes from what seems to resonate with people.

“I can’t help but feel if the audience doesn’t enjoy it, I don’t think I will either,” he added. “I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of disagreement there. It is a very symbiotic thing when you play in front of an audience. We’ll see; who knows? Never say never.”