Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: 'Dear Evan Hansen' star Ben Platt's 2nd act

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Ben Platt was the toast of Broadway, winning the Tony Award for the lead role in "Dear Evan Hansen," but now, his large fan base grows even bigger with the release of his first solo album, "Sing to Me Instead."

"I met the folks at Atlantic Records through obviously making the album of 'Evan Hansen,'" he said. "And they approached me and said, 'You know, have you ever thought about making a record of your own and sort of going on as a solo artist.'"

The actor and singer spent his formative years in Los Angeles, where he grew up a child of show business. But he had never tackled songwriting.

"I had never tried my hand at earnestly songwriting from my own perspective, and that was the first kind of push to do that," he said. "So I sat at my piano and tried my hand at it, basically, and saw what would come of it and tried to be as honest as I could and then wrote a few songs and found that I did have it in me to do it, and was introduced to some fabulous co-writers as well. And then this album was born."

The star came out as gay to his family and close friends years ago, but announcing it publicly was a different animal.

"It was almost entirely an artistic decision," he said. "I think there's fear about revealing yourself in any way...of course, I had to take into account what the repercussions might be in other parts of my career, but ultimately, if I was going to do this, I was either going to go for it or not. So there was really no big decision."

The videos for the album reflect Platt's love of New York City, the place he's called home for the past seven years.

"This is always where I've wanted to be and wanted to be based and dreamed of living, and so I think I knew that if the music was going to sound like my own music, it was going to be informed by the city," he said. "This is where I had a lot of the experiences the album is about, and it's where I wrote a lot of the music, and it's where I walk the streets and listen to other music that's inspired me. And so I always knew that it was a very New York-based piece."

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