Matthew Morrison confirms that "someone's dying pretty soon" on "Glee" -- but it probably won't be his character, teacher Will Schuester, who leaves the mortal coil on the May 17 episode, which is titled "Funeral." "I'm working today," he tells Billboard.com from the Fox show's set, "so I don't think it's gonna be me."
Morrison, in fact, is working on more than one front these days.
His self-titled debut album drops on Tuesday (May 10) and features the single "Summer Rain" -- one of four songs Morrison co-wrote for the set -- as well as duets with Sting, on a gospelized take of his "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot"; Elton John, on a pairing of "Mona Lisas and Madhatters" and "Rocket Man"; and recurring "Glee" guest Gwyneth Paltrow on "Over the Rainbow." A 22-city solo tour, meanwhile, kicks off June 18 in Minneapolis.
"This is something I've been wanting to do for a long time, actually, and 'Glee' has set me up to be in a position where I can make it a great album and do it right and do it on my own terms," says Morrison, a seasoned Broadway actor who was also part of the boy band LMNT a decade ago, but was out of the lineup by the time its 2002 debut came out. "I'm one of those people that really wants to do it all. I have a big appetite for life, and I want to do everything I possibly can."
Morrison started working on the album last year during "Glee's" production break and finished it on weekends after the show resumed shooting. He initially started to make "a cross between Michael Bublé and Justin Timberlake -- I called it Bub-lake. I have more of a Bublé voice. Growing up, I was very inspired by Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra, the old crooners, but I wanted to have a more contemporary vibe to it." When the approach "just didn't feel organic," Morrison opted instead for an "eclectic" pop album that felt more natural.
"I'm very eclectic. I love a lot of different styles," notes Morrison, who will perform the song "Still Got Tonight," co-written by "American Idol" Season 8 champ Kris Allen and others, on "Glee's" May 24 season finale. "But, you know, this is my first album. It's kind of a learning process. I think I'm a little more informed of what kind of direction I want to go in for the next album." Having started songwriting, Morrison adds, "I look at everything differently now in my life. It's a different outlook on life, I guess, being a songwriter. Now I keep a pad and pen next to my bed, 'cause if I wake up thinking of something I just want to write it down."
Morrison plans to incorporate some of his "Glee" songs into his concerts, which he says will have "kind of that old throwback-crooner kind of feel, kind of a 40s and 50s vibe. I just want it to be very kind of moody and cool and evoke a kind of timeless feel." He'll be out with an 11-piece band and, being a Broadway hoofer with credits that include "Footloose" and "Hairspray," will incorporate "a lot of dancing as well. I don't have a budget to hire other dancers, so I'll be doing the dancing myself."
"It's going to be great," he promises, adding that performing on stage "is what I do. Doing 'Glee' and being on TV and stuff is great, but I'm a live performer at heart. That's where I thrive, so I can't wait."