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'Dear Evan Hansen' inspired Ben Platt to get personal in debut album 

The album's 12 tracks dive into his familial relationships, fears of growing older and more.

Ben Platt's debut album "Sing to Me Instead"

Ben Platt's debut album "Sing to Me Instead" was released on Friday.  Photo Credit: Julian Broad

After spending years in the persona of Evan Hansen in the Tony-winning musical, actor/singer Ben Platt has decided to step into a new spotlight. With the Friday release of “Sing to Me Instead,” he becomes an original recording artist.

“It’s a scary thing, and in the days leading up to it, I didn’t realize how frightening it would be,” the 25-year-old says.

Entering this new world, Platt isn’t holding back. In one of the first tracks released off the album, “Ease My Mind,” the artist spoke about his sexuality for the first time publicly. 

The album’s remaining 11 songs play smoothly as they dive into his familial relationships, grapple with fears of growing older, describe painful breakups and more.

One of the slower tracks, “In Case You Don’t Live Forever,” offers a relatable look into the relationship between Platt and his father.

“He’s always been my hero in far as he leads his life with integrity, acceptance and compassion,” Platt says. “Fortunately, knock on all the wood in the world, he’s very healthy and isn’t going anywhere.”

But the song is also sung in tribute to Platt’s “Uncle Gary.”

“[He] was the only other member of my family who was gay, besides me, at the time,” he explains. “He passed away when I was young. I was thinking about all the things I wish I had been old enough to articulate.”

Getting raw in his debut album is an easy choice for Platt. “There was no version in which I was going to make my own, original record that wasn’t as authentic and transparent as I could be,” he says.

His critically acclaimed run in “Dear Evan Hansen” leaves him prepared. Between 2014 and 2017, the actor (who also starred in “Pitch Perfect”) sang near-nightly the story of a boy grappling with anxiety, depression and teen suicide.

“Having gone through the ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ experience and the way that upended my life, it brought me to new heights in an emotional sense,” he says. “It was a great time to start looking inward and thinking about what I would want to write. I was having emotional experiences I thought were worthy of singing about.”

Platt began working on the album two years ago, with a clear end goal in sight. Before leaving “Evan Hansen,” he’d already signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records. But the decision to release a debut album, he admits, wasn’t easy at first. 

An album like this “can limit the ways people see you and limit the characters you can have,” he says. “I didn’t really want to sacrifice my ability to be somewhat of a chameleon as an actor in order to form this deeper connection.”

The fan response from the album, Platt says, has already helped prove to him that he’s made the right choice.

“If it can act as an escape from this somewhat hellish moment in the country, that would be really great,” he says. “But most of all, if any of the songs can express something someone can’t articulate on their own, and they feel seen when they hear it … that’s the ultimate goal.” 

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