Leslie Odom Jr. goes from 'Hamilton' to the recording studio

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Entertainment repoter Sandy Kenyon has the story.

Leslie Odom Jr. won a Tony Award for his role in the smash hit musical "Hamilton," but now the actor is stepping away from the bright lights of Broadway to focus on the other side of his career.

Odom made his debut in "Rent" at the age of 17, but the performer had to wait a long time to become a star.

He finally found fame in "Hamilton," where he sang about wanting to be "in the room where it happens."

"I've longed to be in the room where it happens my whole life," said Odom, seated in a recording studio. "And this is the room."

The studio where he recorded the "Hamilton" cast album is now where he's planning his solo career.

"I haven't really had any time to process what's happened over the last couple years, because we had a job to do," he said.

Among the songs he's recording include the lyrics "Nobody knows you when you're down and out," words he can definitely relate to.

"I wanted to make sure I remembered what that felt like," he said. "What it felt like to be down and out."

After 15 years in the business, Odom says being in "Hamilton" helped make him into the artist he'd always dreamed of being.

"I got a lot of love here in this light," he said. "But it was time to try something new and take a chance."

He's taking all his stage experience with him into the studio to make his debut album.

"After all that I've learned, all that I'd done over the past couple years with "Hamilton," it's taught me so much," he said. "Now, to take that back into the studio and to record again and to perform live again as a solo artist was the only thing I wanted to do."

His debut album -- called simply "Leslie Odom Jr." -- is on S-Curve Records and available online and in stores now.

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