While many fans of Seth MacFarlane know him for his television shows, such as Family Guy and American Dad!, he also has a successful music career, having released his fourth studio album, In Full Swing, this past September.
Billboard’s Kevan Kenney recently sat down with MacFarlane to discuss how he feels about coming into music from Hollywood and what winning a Grammy would mean to him.
Speaking of In Full Swing, the Grammy-nominated album which he co-produced with longtime collaborator Joel McNeely, MacFarlane says that he would be both “flabbergasted” and feel “validated” if he takes home an award on Grammy night.
“It would be doubly validating,” he tells Billboard. “It’s fantastic to be nominated, and if I go my whole life without ever winning, I still have these nominations and that’s more than I ever could have hoped for. But it would be massively validating.”
“We travel halfway across the globe to do these things [the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London], and spend all this time casting these musicians and working through these arrangements and really kind of creating each song as its own little storytelling piece,” he continues. “So, on the one hand, I would be flabbergasted and overjoyed, but on the other hand, part of me says, ‘Well, yeah, we put the work in, we’ve worked as hard as anybody when they do something like this. It’s not like because I come out of television that I’m giving 50 percent. We’re just trying to bring it in every way that we can.”
When asked about being up against <a href=”/music/Bob-Dylan”>Bob Dylan</a> and <a href=”/music/Tony-Bennett”>Tony Bennett</a> in the best traditional pop vocal award category, MacFarlane says it feels “surreal,” adding that while it is “intimidating as hell,” at the same time, he wasn’t “phoning anything in.”
“We’re busting our asses, and we’re really taking this as seriously as we possibly can and really trying to make something great,” he explains. “So, it’s intimidating but it’s also validating because we do feel good about the work. We do feel like we’ve really, really killed ourselves to make this everything that it could possibly be.”
MacFarlane also discusses the hurdles he has faced being a musician, having initially come from the world of Hollywood, comparing music fans to sports fanatics.
“There’s something about people’s appreciation of the music they like that’s particularly passionate,” he says. “It’s like when people are obsessive about sports teams that they like. People are obsessive about musicians that they like. So if you come into that world from a different profession, it’s oftentimes greeted with folded arms and a scowl. For that reason, you see a lot of people, like <a href=”/music/Will-Smith”>Will Smith</a>, who’ve gone from music to acting and been very successful at it. And the other way around, I can’t think of one person. I mean, it’s a very, very hard thing.”
You can watch the full video interview with Seth MacFarlane above, where he also discusses the process of recording In Full Swing, what initially encouraged his love of jazz and swing music, and the <a href=”/music/Frank-Sinatra”>Frank Sinatra</a> quote that inspires him as a musician.