Out actor and singer Alex Newell is coming to Philly to lend his considerable talents to the main stage at Philly Pride.
Best known for portraying transgender character Wade “Unique” Adams on the hit TV show “Glee,” Newell has gone on to be signed by Atlantic Records and featured on dance hits by a number of international artists, as well as working on an upcoming EP of his own.
Newell said his fans can expect a mix of his own songs, as well as some “Glee” tunes, when he takes the stage at Philly Pride.
“I’m not trying to hide the fact that I was on ‘Glee’ for so many years, so I always try to do at least a couple of songs that I did on the show, just to show everyone that I actually did sing them,” he said. “And I’m at such a positive time in my life that I love sharing that positivity I have singing those songs. I will do some of my new stuff as well, like some of the stuff I did with other groups like Clean Bandit and The Knocks, mixed in with some ‘Glee’ favorites and my own favorites.”
Newell said his upcoming EP won’t alienate fans of “Glee” but will still go in a different musical direction.
“The songs that I did on ‘Glee’ were covers and great hits,” he said. “The songs I’m working on have somewhat of a new sound, something that everyone can still enjoy across all platforms, like ‘Glee’ music, but at the same time it’s something new that people will enjoy more. It’s so pop. It’s kind of Donna Summer meets Beyoncé meets Luther [Vandross] meets Britney [Spears]. It’s very dance-driven and makes you want to tap your feet and get up. It’s also thought-out and intelligent because there is so much instrumentation into it. There’s so much thought going into creating this sound.”
Newell added that he’s been able to work with some iconic producers and songwriters for his upcoming EP, such as Nile Rogers and Diane Warren.
“I’ve been working with so many amazing people and legends. That just blows my mind,” he said. “I’d like to collaborate with more people like Beyoncé; she’s one of my greatest inspirations because she’s just a powerhouse and in her own lane. There’s no one else out there that’s like her. I look at her as an example of what I want to be in my own career.”
Hmm … Maybe that’s why Newell has his eye on a particular dream gig.
“Everyone knows I would kill and murder everyone in my way to play Effie in ‘Dreamgirls,’ so that’s the number-one priority for me.”
Jennifer Hudson needs to watch her back!
In the meantime, Newell is content to focus on his music and field the many acting opportunities coming his way.
“I’ve been doing musical theater my entire life, so acting, singing and dancing is in me,” he said. “I’m always going to want to act. Sometimes I get offers and they don’t pan out schedule-wise; I can’t always jump at the opportunity and do them. So that is a bummer but I’m always harassing my team about getting different shows or booking me on ‘The Wiz’ on NBC. I’d like to get back on stage and do musical theater again but I would love to do another TV show or another movie.”
Alex Newell performs at Philly Pride June 14 at Penn’s Landing. For more information, visit www.phillygaypride.org.