It features the likes of Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Meghan Trainor, Troye Sivan, Selena Gomez, Kacey Musgraves, Mary J. Blige, Jason Derulo, Imagine Dragons, Jennifer Lopez, Adam Lambert, Tyler Glenn, P!NK, MNEK, RuPaul, Mary Lambert and Nate Ruess. The confrontation with the pastor disturbed Newell—and effectively reinforced his sense of responsibility to himself. By Curtis M. Wong “While I'm not 1,000 percent masculine and not 1,000 percent feminine, I know that I am heavy on the feminine,” Newell told me. Alex Newell released his first EP, "Power," just a month ago. There are people like Wade and Unique, and [they're] being themselves. Newell had few models for that. Back in that brick building, Newell tells me about his most recent achievement—making it to Broadway. “A Broadway poser. He’d just come from shooting an interview upstairs; in an hour, he’d need to be back in Manhattan to rehearse for his new role in a Broadway musical. [31] It was passed on and no other network wanted to make it into a series. [7] He has cited Donna Summer, Sylvester, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Beyoncé as his influences. I was always like, ‘Great, I’m in a zoot suit, living my best fashion life,’” he laughed. Finally, for Christmas, Newell released a cover of the song "O Come All Ye Faithful". Unique is a young, talented trans woman who is played by gender nonconforming actor, Alex Newell. My mother worked very hard to make sure I went to the best of schools.”. ", “My aunt, who was the minister of music, was like, ‘Alex is gonna sing,’ and sent a note over to him. How was he supposed to be this thing that other people had in mind for him? On a day this past spring, the singer and actor Alex Newell perched on the edge of an old sofa in a cavernous brick building in Brooklyn, wearing a tight dress. “I don't know what it's like to own up to being a man. It was also revealed that it was going to be produced by Adam Anders. Whether recording in the studio, performing on Broadway, or appearing on television, he instantly connects. When Newell was cast as Unique on Glee, some people in his religious community wanted to punish him for expressing his support for sexual and gender diversity on TV. If you don’t like my representation, that’s on you. After all, as a fiery kid in church choir, Newell was not about to let some lesser singer steal any church-choir solos from him. Also, the earnings from its first week of sales were to be donated to the Trevor Project. In March, he provided feature vocals for the re-issued version of "Stronger", a song by Clean Bandit. In his new single, "Mama Told Me," Newell's … ", "Uniquely Alex: Alex Newell on coming out, Trevor Project and life after Glee", "Lynn's Alex Newell relishes 'Unique' role on 'Glee, "Alex Newell Talks New Music & Future Husband Material", "Will Alex Newell be "The Glee Project"'s Kurt Hummel? Newell supported fellow Glee alum Adam Lambert on tour from February 23[27] until the April 2 finale at Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theatre in 2016. She made her 1 million dollar fortune with Glee, Geography Club, The Glee Project. [3][4] His father, a deacon, died of cancer when he was six years old, at which point his mother raised him as a single parent. He is known for his roles as Unique Adams on the Fox musical series Glee and Mo on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.He also starred as Asaka in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island at the Circle in the Square Theater in 2018. As he came of age in a Black church, Newell said he was “the only boy in the soprano section,” and described how the singers were physically arranged in the sanctuary: “Girls, girls, girls, boys—Alex.”. Are you gay?’, There’s so much pressure,” Newell told me. Wade broke ground by being one of the most visible transgender characters on television and one of the first on a network prime time show. He was cast in the role of Wade "Unique" Adams, a male-to-female transgender teenager. She came in for Mo [Zoey’s neighbor, played by gender-fluid actor Alex Newell], and everybody remembered her when we were casting [Zoey’s sister-in-law] Emily," says Ulrich. He just showed the public and conservative viewers me. Does anyone know if Alex actually identifies as transgender, or if he's essentially just dressing in drag* when he plays Unique? *(Of course, a transgender woman wearing women's clothes isn't drag, I used that term in the context of Alex identifying as male but wearing women's clothes.) Click to copy. The musician is currently single, her starsign is Leo and she is now 28 years of age. You might need to catch up first … Copied to clipboard. "I’m so taboo in my own African American community that they don’t even see me as Black sometimes.". Watch our exclusive video interview with Newell above. “I question myself [about] that all the time,” he told me. Alex Newell Is Too Busy Slaying Broadway To Worry About Gender The out "Glee" star talks about playing Mother Earth in "Once on this Island," fangirling over Lea … My voice has always been naturally extremely high, for no apparent reason,” he laughs. [11] Newell first appeared on Glee in the third season episode "Saturday Night Glee-ver". Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2, Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 4, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, "Once On This Island – Cast And Creative", "Tomorrow's Hits: Alex Newell, The Strumbellas & AudioDamn! “Everything we do, we do with our whole heart, souls and mind,” declares Alex Newell about working on NBC’s musical comedy “Zopey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” “I think it comes from such an authentic place from the actors’ standpoint,” he says. After controling Broadway in addition to television, Alex Newell is changing his focus back to the dance floor covering. [12] Newell's performance was described as "bold",[13] with "remarkable restraint and powerful vocals."[14]. He graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School in 2012, where he was involved in his school's choir, improv club, costume club and also a member of his church choir. [32] He contributed with music to the HBO TV series Vinyl on a track also featuring DJ Cassidy and Jess Glynne. Watch Now. “You didn’t know whether that slave owner was going to the murder your firstborn child or steal your firstborn child and take them. [8], Over the years, Newell sang at numerous events, such as the Coachella Festival, but also at many LGBT events and pride festivals. Gender: Male. [6] Unique returned as a Glee recurring cast member in the fourth season premiere, "The New Rachel". Like his character, the actor and singer had to reconcile his religious faith and his gender identity growing up, and he’s been vocal about how that dichotomy informed his work as an artist. “I am the minority of life,” Newell told me, his hair curving over his brow. “‘Aren’t you Black?’ Or, ‘Why is your voice so high? [18][12][19][20], Newell announced in October 2013 that he had been signed by Big Beat Records and that he was going to release Newell's debut album. "Stronger" did not enter the Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 79 on the Flemish Ultratip chart. “My father died when I was six, so all I had was my mother to look up to,” he told me. He was awarded the part after impressing the show's producers with his runner-up finish on The Glee Project, a singing competition that aired on the Oxygen network. “I don’t know what else I can be.”. That Newell has remained so with apparent ease—along with a face full of makeup and stiletto pumps—makes him a notable model for gender nonconforming people everywhere. Mo (Alex Newell), Zoey’s gender non-conforming neighbor who became her closest confidant, opens the new year in the same role, but with more of a personal storyline. With traffic-stopping delivery, sweeping range, and wild charisma, the GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer, songwriter, actor, activist, and performer evokes a physical reaction every time he steps up to a microphone. Born: August 20, 1992. A highlight of the sixth season was Newell singing "I Know Where I've Been" from Hairspray with the Transpersons Choir of 200 performers. [3] He never had any formal voice lessons before landing the part on Glee. I get kids walking up to me like, ‘You helped me transition; you inspired me to transition.’ I’m like, ‘I did that!’” he told me. Skylar Astin & Alex Newell took to the Rockefeller tree lighting stage to perform for Christmas at Rockefeller Center 2019. [7] Newell's self-taped audition earned him over one million MySpace views as well as a spot among the 12 participants who competed for a seven-episode arc on Glee. [9] Eventually, he became the series’ first runner-up. “But sometimes I want to rip the hair off and be in a sweatpant!”, Newell identifies as a man, but because of the way he dresses, acts, and sounds, people often make assumptions about his gender—like that he’s actually a trans woman. The pastor eventually left the church, Newell and his family still attend. Mo (Alex Newell), Zoey’s gender non-conforming neighbor who became her closest confidant, opens the new year in the same role, but with more of a personal storyline. SEE Jane Levy Interview: ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ He’s best known for portraying the first openly transgender high school student on American television: Unique Adams, who appeared on Glee in 2012 after Newell was first runner-up on The Glee Project. ‘Stop crying. “When my father was dying, all I kept hearing was, ‘Now you’re the man of the household,’ and I was just like, ‘I don’t know what this means,’” Newell said. From stunning the world with his performance as the sensational Wade “Unique” Adams in Ryan Murphy’s Glee, the firmly distinctive artist thrives in the spotlight and has continued to dominate as a mainstay in Hollywood through his nearly decade-long career. “I always had jelly on my hips and a swish in my step,” Newell told me with a knowing glance. Check out Alex Newell's new video for "Boy, You Can Keep It" below: By Stephen Daw. Character: Unique Adams. For Pop Star and Actor Alex Newell, Gender Is Anything But Obvious “I’m me, and I have to look out for myself. “I’ve lived in a world where ‘trans’ is such a beautiful, positive thing in my life. I’d look like a miniature version of my 45-year-old uncle. After this, a door opened up for representation that would soon allow trans and non-binary characters to be played by actors that actually are trans or non-binary. “I didn’t know that I was Black until someone made it known,” he said, offering an example of how identity can be social constructed. After playing a trans girl on season 3 of the TV hit series, Glee, Newell has found a place for [citation needed], Newell identifies as a gender nonconforming man,[34] and in May 2020 said he relates to his character Mo in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, who is genderfluid. Newell lives at the intersection of Black, gay, and feminine. Alex Newell wields such a voice. “‘Why do you talk that way?’” Newell recalled, listing the questions his peers posed to him when he was young. Alex Newell, the gender nonconforming star of ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,’ discusses his latest role and life since ‘Glee’ [36]. “I never felt comfortable in my own clothes,” Newell told me. ", "Alex Newell of 'Glee' Plays with Androgyny as TV's First Transgender Teen", "The Palm Springs Center Stage Gala Welcomes Alex Newell and Kate Clinton to the Desert", "Andrew Rannells, Kimberley Locke, Alex Newell, Tyne Daly Raise $285k for APLA in the 29th Star Studded S.T.A.G.E Gala", "Bill O'Reilly: 'Glee' Might Encourage Kids To Experiment With 'Alternative Lifestyles, "UPDATED Glee Exclusive: 4 Original Cast Members Not Returning as Series Regulars for Season 5; Plus — Who's Getting Promoted? In 2016, he came out with his debut EP, POWER, on Big Beat Records. The song itself was written by Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels and BloodPop and produced by Tranter himself and BloodPop, as well as Mark Ronson. On 20-8-1992 Alex Newell (nickname: Alex) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, United States. In 2017, Newell made his Broadway debut playing the role of Asaka in the revival of Once on This Island. As many as 50 percent of Millennials consider gender to exist on a spectrum, not a binary. Newell identifies as a gender nonconforming man, and in May 2020 said he relates to his character Mo in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, who is genderfluid. “There’s nothing that I could have hidden, honestly. He is known for his roles as Unique Adams on the Fox musical series Glee and Mo on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. “There’s this expectation of being a Black man, of being stronger than most; having that rigid, hard back, that almost arrogant feel,” Newell told me, his full lips painted and his black eyelashes batting. Alex Newell. “I have to stick to this,” Newell said, grabbing his purse before catching a cab to Manhattan, lest he be late for his rehearsal. It is his difference from the norm that has made him a star. (Alex Newell is gender-fluid but prefers he/him pronouns.) It’s a sweltering late afternoon in June and Alex Newell is struggling to put on his shoes. Newell used drag as a way to stand out on the show. The newest pastor plans to take a busload of parishioners out to see Newell perform on Broadway. [28] In preparation, he began training with NYC voice teacher Mike Ruckles. Or was it the passable or not passable: Did you pass for white or did you not pass for white? He currently appears on NBC's musical dramedy Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist in the role of Mo, a genderfluid DJ and the protagonist's next-door neighbor. Alex Newell released his first EP, "Power," just a month ago. I don't get it.’”. In the years since, Newell has made a name for himself as a recording artist. Given his crammed schedule, I wondered when he’d find the time to put out new music—I was introduced to his work when I stumbled across his excellent pop single “B.O.Y. “I’m me, and I have to look out for myself. 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