Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr in Hamilton, is not planning on letting this moment fade. Sunday (June 12), Odom won his first Tony, for best actor in a leading role in a musical -- just one of Hamilton’s 11 wins (icing on its reported $60 million box-office gross). Just two days prior, the Broadway/TV veteran (Smash, CSI: Miami) dropped his self-titled debut album on S-Curve Records. The standards- and cabaret-filled project has been in the works for a while, says the New York native, 34. “I was clear about what to parlay Hamilton into. When people asked me what was next, I said, ‘Music.’ ” Billboard spoke to Odom Jr. before his Tony win about making his own music and preparing for his "once-in-a-lifetime moment" at the Tonys.
What do you want people to feel while listening to this album?
Empathy. Growing up, I’d only ever heard women sing [1956 standard] “The Party’s Over.” But for me, it felt like something I’d sing to my 12-year-old daughter after her first heartbreak. What can I offer that might comfort her and provide encouragement?