Megan Hilty's debut album, It Happens All The Time will be available March 12, 2013 from Portrait, Sony Masterworks' new adult contemporary imprint, in partnership with Columbia Records. The album is produced by Grammy-winners Andy Zulla and Jimmy Hogarth and showcases a different side of Hilty, the beloved star of the hit musical TV drama series Smash.
Songs featured on It Happens All The Time include Hilty's fresh interpretations of compositions by stellar contemporary songwriters as Aimee Mann, Sara Bareilles, Bruno Mars and Damien Rice. Also noteworthy are new songs by writers such as Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Duffy), Wayne Hector (James Morrison, One Direction), Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette, Wilson Phillips), Ne-Yo and Carrie Underwood.
The repertoire is a significant step outside of both the musical theater world in which Hilty initially found fame - via Broadway roles as Glinda in Wicked and Doralee Rhodes in 9 To 5: The Musical - as well as her TV character Ivy Lynn in Smash, in which she's sung such noteworthy songs as the Grammy-nominated "Let Me Be Your Star," Carrie Underwood's "Crazy Dreams" and the Rose Royce (and Mary J. Blige) soul hit "I'm Going Down."
With It Happens All The Time, Hilty was determined to display a side of herself that even her fans have yet to see. "I want to show a different side of me because it's the first thing I've ever done that's just me and not attached to any character or story line," says Hilty. "Coming from a musical theater background, everyone expects that I'd do a Broadway album or pop standards. Smash changed all that. We did a completely different arrangement of 'Crazy Dreams,' and it resonated with a lot of people."
For Hilty, the key to her debut album was finding songs that she could identify with. "Stylistically these aren't the type of songs that I'm used to singing. It was exciting and challenging, for example, to take a song written by Ne-Yo and make it my own," says Hilty.
"I was looking for lyrics I could connect with," she explains, "which comes from another part of my theatrical background: I always feel that there has to be a point to what I'm singing, instead of it just being a pretty sound. The lyrics reflect the year I've had in breaking up and finding new love, whereas the music shows my eclectic tastes. Andy [Zulla] tied it all together with his arrangements." While it wasn't intentional, the album took on a break-up theme, "not a sad one so much as the end of a chapter and wondering what comes next," she says.
Of the original songs on It Happens All The Time, Hilty cites "Be A Man" as "one of the ultimate breakup songs. It begs someone to tell you how they really feel and that the relationship is over." She also points to "Walk Away" (co-written by Ne-Yo, Carrie Underwood and Luke Laird) for its message of empowerment in the face of a painful breakup. Keeping with the theme of new beginnings, "No Cure" is unique to the rest of the album in that co-writer Hogarth joined her on vocals, giving it the feel of a duet, which Hilty loved.
The title track on the album drew Hilty in the first time she heard it. "'It Happens All The Time' is about the frustration of trying to find true love. If it happens all the time then why hasn't it happened to me?"
When taken together, the songs on It Happens All The Time instill great pride in Hilty as "the first recording that's just me. It's really thrilling to hear and I can't wait to share it with my fans."
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