Few singers on television, either in or out of the reality realm, have the ability to evoke genuine emotion purely with their vocals. That is, in essence, what separates the goods from the greats. And as anyone who has seen Megan Hilty on Smash (or previously on Broadway) can attest, she's got the goods to be great.
On It Happens All The Time, her newly released album, Hilty delivers in a big way over ten tremendous tracks that reveal a remarkable versatility and showcase her even more remarkable voice. On April 23, Joe's Pub plays host to an intimate concert of her new tunes and ETonline caught up with the triple-threat to talk about this exciting showcase, her CD's inspiration and the last stretch of Smash episodes!
ETonline: Congrats on the Joe's Pub showcase! That's a huge deal.
Megan Hilty: I know, Joe's Pub is an institution of New York. There's so much history and so many great people have performed there, so I'm super excited to be there. Plus, it's the first time I've ever done a concert there. I'm excited to try out a whole new type of music than people are used to hearing from me.
ETonline: Right, this is the first time you've recorded music that has nothing to do with a character you're playing. Does performing it feel different?
Hilty: Yeah. It's exciting but, I have to admit, a little terrifying too. It's so much more personal and because of that, it makes me feel a little scared. But that's another reason why I'm so excited to be doing it in an intimate space like Joe's Pub. And I'm interested to see how it plays live because it's not the big, belty stuff I'm used to doing. This isn't party music, so I think this is the perfect space for it.
ETonline: What was the song selection process like for you?
Hilty: The whole concept of the album was totally different when we started. It was going to be all covers of movie themes and that's what was going to tie it all together. Then [her record label] started sending these original songs and so many of them worked that we abandoned the original concept and it evolved into a breakup album. I like the darker, deeper, lyrics to begin with and these songs really spoke to me. It was so organic how it unfolded. This was not the album I set out to make, but this was the album I always wanted to make ... I just didn't know it. Ultimately, my personal goal for this was to try something new and stretch myself. I didn't want to do something expected. I'm really, really thrilled with the outcome.
ETonline: What have you thought about the second season of Smash?
Hilty: It was great. It's always nice to be a sophomore. It was nice to have had a year under my belt with everything that happened this year.
ETonline: What was your take on the show's shift to Saturday nights?
Hilty: All of that is so out of my control. I realized a long time ago that, as an actor, there is so little you have control over. So instead of worrying about all the stuff I can't change, I just show up every day and do my best. That's all I can do!
ETonline: With Ivy back in Bombshell, what are you excited for people to see as the season plays out?
Hilty: I am! I feel like she belonged there all along, but needed to go through that other stuff before she could come back. Ivy has some really big and wonderful surprises coming up. I think anybody who roots for Ivy is going to be really happy because she's finally going to have something to be proud of.
ETonline: If the season finale turns out to be a series finale, are you happy with where it leaves Ivy?
Hilty: Absolutely. It's a great ending. And, it could go any way after this. I'm thrilled with the arc that I've gotten to play with this character. She's gone through a lot and somehow managed to have some really great supporters along the way -- especially through the bad times. I'm so lucky I got to play this character.
ETonline: Do you think a second album is in your near future?
Hilty: Oh, I would love to dive right into the next one. I've already got ideas for what I want to do. I haven't told them to anybody, but I definitely want to take my sound in a totally new direction after this.
ETonline: Hardcore techno?
Hilty: Exactly [laughs] -- how did you know? It'll be all house music.