December 20, 2010

Hot Glee Star and New ASCAP Member Darren Criss Talks Songwriting and Performs a Holiday Classic

In an exclusive video interview, new ASCAP member Darren Criss talks about his songwriting style and the importance of being an ASCAP member, then plays a meltingly sweet rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."

Darren Criss - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

Darren Criss Talks Songwriting

Darren Criss - Why join ASCAP?

Darren Criss - What makes Glee so great?

When he came into the ASCAP offices in Los Angeles to sign his paperwork and officially join as a songwriter member, Darren Criss helped ASCAP reach an important milestone by becoming the Society's 400,000th member. He is awed, humbled and inspired by the legacy of his fellow music creators.

In a conversation with ASCAP's Etan Rosenbloom and Jeff Jernigan that you can view here, Criss talked about some of the songwriters who have inspired him. He noted that some of what makes Glee resonate so well is the marriage of music and visuals that Al Jolson pioneered in 1927's The Jazz Singer.

Trained in musical theater as well as in half a dozen musical instruments, Darren Criss was already an impressive talent when he was cast in his current role as Blaine on the popular television show Glee. He had played in a band and performed onstage in productions such as Do I Hear a Waltz and Babes in Arms in his native San Francisco before studying acting at the University of Michigan. While still at college, Criss wrote songs for and starred as Harry Potter in A Very Potter Musical, which along with its sequel, became a viral hit for his theater company Team StarKid. He also appeared on television's Eastwick and Cold Case.

Since joining the cast of Glee in November, Criss's Blaine has become one of the show's most talked about characters. And with a confirmed story arc that extends into the next season of the show, we can look forward to even more of Criss's talents onscreen.

Criss hasn't let his busy acting schedule slow him down as a musician and songwriter. His personal and touching self-produced EP Human came out on iTunes this summer, and Criss has big plans for Team StarKid productions in 2011 that will include more of his songs and more great performances.

To celebrate his new membership in ASCAP, Criss sat at the piano and performed a song from ASCAP's most-played holiday song list – "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin) to make the season extra gleeful. He certainly made many of his fans merry with the video – within a few hours of posting the clip, nearly 8,000 people had viewed it.