Pride Month Spotlight: Ben Platt

Lisa Marino, Radio General Manager

[Eds Note: This article has been published in partnership with Spinnaker Radio to feature LGBTQ+ music artists and celebrate Pride Month.] 

Tony Award winning actor and singer Ben Platt grew a love for performing when he was a young child. He was born in Los Angeles, California and graduated from the Adderley School for Performing Arts after ten years of studying musical theatre. Shortly after he began studying at Columbia University, he booked his first Broadway show, The Book of Mormon, in 2012. Platt dropped out of college for the show that has since grossed nearly 700 million dollars.

Playing the role of Benji Applebaum, Platt’s first movie was Pitch Perfect, released in September 2012. He was featured again as Applebaum in Pitch Perfect 2, released in May 2015. In Pitch Perfect 3, however, Platt’s role was cut from the story. Trish Sie, director of the Pitch Perfect series, explained why Platt’s role, along with other male roles, were cut in the last movie in an interview with Lauren Huff from The Hollywood Reporter.

“Ben Platt is busy winning awards on Broadway – but I think the main purpose was these girls are moving on with their life… A lot of people don’t end up with their college boyfriend…,” said Sie in the interview.

In 2016, Platt starred in the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen as Evan Hansen. The musical went on to win a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and six Tony awards in 2017. Hansen was then awarded Best New Musical and Best Original Score or New Orchestrations in the 2020 Olivier Awards.

Photo courtesy Ben Platt.
Photo courtesy Ben Platt.

After taking home his first Tony awards, Platt signed with Atlantic Records to start releasing original music, according to Billboard.

“It has been a long time dream to create original music; I am so excited to be working on this debut album and even more excited for the day I can share it with the world,” Platt said to Billboard press.

Sing to Me Instead was Platt’s debut album, released in March 2019 by Atlantic Records. Platt and Atlantic Records ultimately listed 12 tracks on the album, chosen from 40 they co-wrote. The album includes songs Best Habit, Honest Man, Grow as We Go, and more.

“I’ve never had material of my own out in the world. I’ve always been sort of a conduit for other stories and other characters and other projects. And this is purely just putting myself out there,” Platt said in an interview with Billboard journalist Keith Caulfield.

About romantic relationships that become addicting, Bad Habit is the first track from Platt’s debut pop album. Platt released this song, along with its music video, in anticipation of the album in February 2019.

“It’s sung from the perspective of someone looking retrospectively at a relationship that they have gotten out of and realizing that it’s someone they can’t seem to escape,” Platt said, about Bad Habit, to EW journalist Maureen Lee Lenker.

In an interview with Apple Music, Platt explained how he came out as gay to his parents at a school field trip when he was 12 years old.

In eighth grade, Platt told a few of his friends that he was gay and the word got around to his classmates. On the trip, another student started speaking about how “lucky” Platt was to be gay because girls told him their secrets and allowed him to hang out in their hotel room. A chaperone heard the student and wanted to speak to Platt’s parents about the matter. Platt told the chaperone he had not come out to his parents yet and that he would handle the situation.

“It wasn’t really a bullying situation, it wasn’t derogatory. He [the student on the field trip] was just very truthful and that was the truth,” Platt said in the interview with Apple Music. “I called them [Platt’s parent’s] …my mom said, ‘We know. You know, you spent your whole childhood dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz… you’re quite young and if this changes, great, if this doesn’t, great,’” said Platt.

Photo courtesy Ben Platt.
Photo courtesy Ben Platt.

Platt’s latest release is a duet with Sara Bareilles, Grow as We Go, released on May 20, 2022. Originally, the song was released as Platt solo on his debut album.

Finger strums of an acoustic guitar and a reverberant stream of vocal hums begin Grow as We Go. Platt introduces the first verse with a solo vocal line singing a soothing melody. The conversational lyrics call for another voice. In comes Bareilles to vocally compliment Platt with a major harmony a third above the melody.

Simplicity continues in the pre-chorus as the vocals pursue the major harmony. The harmony is interrupted when Bareilles diverges from the major chord to its parallel minor. She lowers the third she sings while Platt supports the chord with the root. One bar is dedicated for the vocal euphony to ring as the guitar rolls the final chord before the chorus.

Major harmony resolves the preceding chord in the pre-chorus to set the chorus in motion. Bareilles floats above the melody in major harmony. A new Bareilles vocal track comes in to join the existing voices, singing a descending melodic line independent from the prevailing melody. Voices suddenly amalgamate on the melody. In the distance, Bareilles arpeggiates the chords as they progress.

Harmonizing with herself on another vocal track, Bareilles is given the melody for the first time on the second verse. A resounding group of background (BG) vocals bestow for just one line until the duet of Bareilles’ vocals returns.

Lavish BG vocals flutter in harmony as Platt and Bareilles sing the melody in unison in the pre-chorus. This time, Bareilles finishes the pre-chorus alone. The acoustic guitar reintroduces the module mixture with the major chord’s parallel minor.

Bareilles sings the melody in the second chorus. Platt’s warm vocal timbre compliments her gentle tone as they sing in unison. Calming, dainty major harmonies assemble in the BG vocals in the latter of the chorus.

Secondary dominance parts the bridge from the lyrical melody. Platt and Bareilles converse as they successively sing the melody.

Over multiple reiterations of the familiar chord progression, Platt and Bareilles stray to vocal embellishments of the melody. The acoustic guitar rolls the final tonic chord as Bareilles’ voice rings on the mediant.

Ben Platt’s music can be found on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music.


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