For many, singer and actor Ben Platt will always be Evan Hansen – the dramatic, teen with the insistently broken arm – a character behind the vocalist’s 2017 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in Broadway’s ‘Dear Evan Hansen’.
Platt is also known as the overly-ambitious teen running for student body president in Netflix’s ‘The Politician’ and one of the aggressive missionaries from the creators of South Park’s ‘The Book of Mormon.’
What truly turned crowds around for Platt, however, was his emergence as a solo singer and songwriter with the same rich, oboe-like voice that he used in musicals such as ‘The Book of Mormon’ and ‘Dear Evan Hansen’, only this time for his own albums such as ‘Sing to Me Instead’ and ‘Reverie’.
For Platt’s second solo album, he’ll hit the stage at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Live this Saturday, Oct. 1.
As a composer or co-composer of his own music, Platt is always looking for something “permeative and free as long as it’s stemming from something that feels very personal to me,” he told Metro. “It definitely varies depending on who it is I’m working with, too. I would say, more often than not, the songs that I respond to the most or that I am the most inclined to fall in love with conceptually come from me.”
Giving the example of ‘Grow as We Go’ from his first album, Platt notes that it was a phrase and a concept “that had already been in my mind, as something that I really wanted to write about, the idea of somebody trying to avoid losing someone by explaining that the two can have space to grow.”
“I think the freedom of releasing something a bit different—that wasn’t so obviously tied to theater or a sort of theatrical sound or a more classical sound—opened me up,” Platt continued. “Not that I, again, don’t love those things and that they don’t also have influence in ‘Reverie’. I think that, just allowing myself to depart in that way felt very authentically progressive in a way that I didn’t necessarily expect. Just by virtue of that experience, when I went back to continue writing before the pandemic, those are the sorts of songs that started to come out.”
Platt explains that moving back to his family’s home in Los Angeles during the pandemic opened up personal experiences that made up ‘Reverie’.
“It became clear that I was going to have the opportunity to continue to try to complete this album from quarantine, which meant being in my childhood bedroom, at home with my family and amidst all my old stuff. I sort of let that inform the music that came.”
As for feeling more free as a solo performer, Platt says that while it is always “you being the one, going out there and delivering the performance,” that when it is his music, there is an added thrill.
“There’s an incredible boundary-less-ness, which I think is a scary thing, but a very positive, scary thing in the sense that it gives you those good butterflies. And it’s a challenge that never gets old,” he said. “It’s something that feels very kind of naked and very vulnerable … I do think after working since I was eight-or-nine years old playing characters, for 18, almost 20 years, I think it does feel rather cathartic to finally get to sort of perform purely as myself. So it’s an outlet that I’m very grateful to have.”