This story, genuinely surprised me.
It appears out of left field, then it sounds like the type of story that’s “a dime a dozen” among Hollywood stars and finally after you have reached the end, you accept the sincerity of it and find yourself sucked in with intrigue and the desire to further explore the topic; which is what story telling and news reporting often set out to do.
Hugh Laurie, the British actor who plays Dr. Gregory House on the CBS medical drama “House”, was interviewed for a portion of this morning’s installment of CBS Sunday Morning. While Laurie doesn’t need any kind of gimmick to simply draw people’s attention into watching anything he’s involved in, (being the “highest paid actor in a drama on US television” is a testament to this. – cit. HERE) if you are a Laurie/House fan, I’m sure hearing that multi-medium actor is now adding “musician” and “recording artist” to his list of titles will not be a cause of boredom. The man has recorded a blues album titled “Let Them Talk” and the worthiness of this venture was solid enough to grab the attention and performing support of backing musicians who spend their time playing for musical giants like: Alison Krauss, the late Solomon Burke, John Legend and k.d. lang. I’ll be open and admit I don’t even watch House. It’s not that I hate it; I just never got into the show and have neither the strong enough inclination or the time, to take on a show that’s eight seasons and counting. Nevertheless, as I know people that are avid fans of the show and rave of its popularity, as a non-viewer, I still found interest in seeing a side of Hugh Laurie that no one ever talks about. Granted this side is relatively new, but I surely didn’t expect it.
Given how much Laurie earns as the highest paid actor on a drama, no one would be faulted for thinking his stop off in the recording business is just another TV star’s ‘fantasy filling foray’ since he clearly does not need supplemental income or a new angle to gain, regain or increase his popularity. Then on top of that, not atypical of these “I’m doing it because I can afford it” detours, the people making these ‘side-projects’ were often not in music’s territory before, so of course it remains up to the digital magic of filters, compression, reverb and vocaloid processing to make dreams come true!
However Laurie clearly states the opposite as his reasoning for putting on a new hat, and he also clearly shows everyone the positive surprise which is his actual talent. The man plays the piano and has a singing voice that seems reminiscent of old time jazz and blues club singers and vintage recordings. Very upfront and very real and very without technological blemish remover.
So sure, Laurie is doing this because he can, but certainly not just to have someone write him a “soon to be #1 hit” and then to fall off the music industry’s radar with nothing but a whimper and a banal failure of a project to show for it. Maybe one album will be his only but it definitely seems to me to have much higher potential for staying power in listeners playlists and mixes than long faded out medium jumpers like say, the musical stylings of Jennifer Love Hewitt — of which there are four releases but put together have less authenticity than Laurie’s one work.
Below is the clip from today’s CBS Sunday Morning, which captures and delivers the honest ‘wow factor’ on Laurie’s decision, with the actor’s own explanation. This, to me, makes it all the more fascinating. (They even used a more cliche play on words than I did!)