Newell, who is gay, gender-nonconforming and uses the pronouns “he” and “him,” had a lot of real-life experience to draw from when it came to playing Mo. 2/12/2020. For the fifth season, Newell was promoted to main cast because of the character's popularity. He looked at her and said, ‘No.’ I was like, ‘That's strange, because I'm pretty sure I’ve sung here since I was a toddler, I was here before you were the pastor, and I'll probably be here after you're the pastor of this church.’”. In 2015, Netflix's cult sci-fi series Sense8 featured a transgender character, Nomi, as one of the eight leads. How was he supposed to be this thing that other people had in mind for him? “One, because my mother was alway dressing me—always missing the mark. Manhood fell on him as a great responsibility and a foreign, oppressive inheritance. No one knows what it's like to be a god—except for maybe Beyoncé. 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. Enter Mo (Alex Newell), Zoey’s (Jane Levy) gender-fluid neighbor and music aficionado who not only helps hapless Zoey figure out what songs people are singing to her, but also figures out the rules and limits of this new power. “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. [8], Over the years, Newell sang at numerous events, such as the Coachella Festival, but also at many LGBT events and pride festivals. After playing a trans girl on season 3 of the TV hit series, Glee, Newell has found a place for 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. Citing Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, and Beyoncé among his influences, singer and actor Alex Newell broke through with the recurring role of Wade "Unique" Adams on the Fox musical comedy series Glee. 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. 4 on the Billboard Top Dance/Electronic Album chart, earning Newell more than 400,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. On 20-8-1992 Alex Newell (nickname: Alex) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, United States. Newell plays the title character's gender nonconforming neighbor and eventual friend Mo. "[6] He later appeared in two more episodes and completed his story arc that season. [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. [12] Newell's performance was described as "bold",[13] with "remarkable restraint and powerful vocals."[14]. [16][17] In the sixth and final season, he was not a part of the regular cast, but he did appear as a recurring guest star. 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. “‘Aren’t you Black?’ Or, ‘Why is your voice so high? 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. More information How ‘Once on This Island’ Redefines Gender and Race With Broadway Revival (Exclusive) The revival starring Lea Salonga, Alex Newell and Merle Dandridge brings new life to the 1990 musical. I grew up fortunate and blessed. Alexander Eugene Newell, born August 20, 1992, is a 27-year-old American actor and singer. “I love it,” Newell told me. I don't get it.". Alex Newell released his first EP, "Power," just a month ago. For many, especially Black LGTBQIA+ youth , coming out can be even harder as they reconcile multiple and intersecting identities, on top of the biggest challenge of coming out to their families. 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. Newell was accepted into the Berklee College of Music for fall 2012, but he decided instead to move to Los Angeles t… Earlier in his life, Newell struggled to understand his place when other people told him he wasn’t the right kind of man or the right kind of Black person. Newell was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. Unique is a young, talented trans woman who is played by gender nonconforming actor, Alex Newell. Is Alex Newell actually transgender? "I’m so taboo in my own African American community that they don’t even see me as Black sometimes.". On June 3, 2016, he released his first single outside of his recent project, entitled "Need Somebody". People like Newell indicate that male femininity is far more expansive than mainstream society would like to believe. The confrontation with the pastor disturbed Newell—and effectively reinforced his sense of responsibility to himself. Making things just a little more glorious is the presence of Zoe’s friend and neighbor Mo (Alex Newell), who is gender-fluid. By allowing himself both masculine and feminine modes of presentation—to appear before his audience as female, or expressing himself personally with femininity, knowing that his identity is comfortably male—Newell is projecting a life-altering message to boys and men across the nation: It is okay be a boy and to be feminine, and to embody the image of a beautiful woman the way that Newell does. Image: Alex Newell And Partner Zeke Thomas Kissing Each Other At An Award Event In July 2016, Newell has provided backing vocals in his biggest collaboration yet in charitable single "Hands". “I have to stick to this,” Newell said, grabbing his purse before catching a cab to Manhattan, lest he be late for his rehearsal. He is known for his role on Glee as Unique Adams, and he was a runner-up along with Lindsay Pearce on the first season of The Glee Project. Alex Newell released his first EP, "Power," just a month ago. Newell, along with the rest of the cast, received a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2012, but lost to Modern Family. [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. In 2015, Newell embarked on a series of cover songs and collaborations. “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. “I don’t know what else I can be.”. It was later revealed that the song had been recorded the previous year when Newell was working with Clean Bandit, Blonde and The Knocks, and inspired the producers to work with him on his debut extended play. Age: 27. He just showed the public and conservative viewers me. Finally, for Christmas, Newell released a cover of the song "O Come All Ye Faithful". Alex Newell [32] He contributed with music to the HBO TV series Vinyl on a track also featuring DJ Cassidy and Jess Glynne. ‘Stop crying. In 2017, Newell made his Broadway debut playing the role of Asaka in the revival of Once on This Island. I don't get it.’”. “And so it’s like, when I get married and have kids, I know that I'm going to be the mother figure. 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. News. For young people today, this way of life is reflective of their gendered truths. “There’s nothing that I could have hidden, honestly. [23] Later in the same month, he produced a disco-house stylization of Robin S.'s single "Show Me Love" together with Russian DJ Matvey Emerson. The musician is currently single, her starsign is Leo and she is now 28 years of age. The road to stardom is supposed to be paved with disappointments and heartaches before you hit the big time. “I’m in the limbo of life.” It’s something to celebrate. Im Alter von sechs Jahren verlor Newell seinen Vater, der als Dekan tätig war und einem Krebsleiden erlag, weswegen er ab diesem Zeitpunkt mit seiner Mutter alleine aufwuchs. By Curtis M. Wong It was expected to be one of a few tracks that Newell was making as part of the HBO TV series Vinyl. So these are the things that we’re dealing with in our show right now. Are you gay?’, There’s so much pressure,” Newell told me. I was always like, ‘Great, I’m in a zoot suit, living my best fashion life,’” he laughed. [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. The gender-nonconforming actor and singer dropped his first single in four years, “Boy, You Can Keep It,” on Wednesday. After controling Broadway in addition to television, Alex Newell is changing his focus back to the dance floor covering. Back in that brick building, Newell tells me about his most recent achievement—making it to Broadway. Earlier this year, the superstar returned to the small screen with another groundbreaking role on NBC’s new dramedy, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. In March, he provided feature vocals for the re-issued version of "Stronger", a song by Clean Bandit. It was exclusively released onto iTunes and Apple Music on June 3 and released onto other platforms several days later. Skylar Astin & Alex Newell took to the Rockefeller tree lighting stage to perform for Christmas at Rockefeller Center 2019. [28] In preparation, he began training with NYC voice teacher Mike Ruckles. After playing a trans girl on season 3 of the TV hit series, Glee, Newell has found a place for Alex Newell tells EW about how his 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' character, Mo, draws on his own life and struggles with his faith and sexuality. In the years since, Newell has made a name for himself as a recording artist. The musical Newell appears in, Once on This Island, is about a peasant girl’s pursuit of love in the colonialism-ravaged Caribbean Sea. Dec 23, 2017 - The revival starring Lea Salonga, Alex Newell and Merle Dandridge brings new life to the 1990 musical. On 20-8-1992 Alex Newell (nickname: Alex) was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, United States. “I don't know what it's like to own up to being a man. Watch Now. Alex Newell wurde 1992 in Lynn im US-Bundesstaat Massachusetts geboren. To bring [this] to light to a community that doesn't really understand that most days—whether that be the white community or even sometimes the Black community who just wants to turn a blind eye to it—it’s amazing, it’s wonderful to get to do that.”, “I’m so taboo in my own African American community that they don’t even see me as Black sometimes,” Newell told me. [33], He is committed to helping other LGBT youth and regularly performs at benefit concerts, most notably for The Trevor Project,[5] the Human Rights Campaign,[17] Jack Antonoff's Ally Coalition and other fundraisers. In Once on This Island, Newell is grateful for the opportunity to play a cisgender female role that directly confronts race. Alex Newell wields such a voice. The opportunity is especially meaningful to Newell because he has struggled, as with gender, to find where he fits within a Black identity. "I always had jelly on my hips and a swish in my step. Or was it the passable or not passable: Did you pass for white or did you not pass for white? Like many femme boys and girls, Newell grew up playing with dolls, which his masculine male family members reprimanded him for. “I question myself [about] that all the time,” he told me. My voice has always been naturally extremely high, for no apparent reason,” he laughs. I’d look like a miniature version of my 45-year-old uncle. After conquering Broadway and television, Alex Newell is turning his attention back to the dance floor. 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. For Newell himself, his gender isn’t so obvious. 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. Alex Newell Partner Zeke Thomas Alex is gay by sexuality and he is dating his long term boyfriend Zeke Thomas. I'm sorry—I don't understand that. [35] He goes by all pronouns. [My show is] a revival of the original— and so it's a mother of the earth [character] and I get the question: 'Well, you don't know what it's like to be a mother, you don't know what sits like to do this,' and I'm like, 'I also don't know what it's like to be a god. “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. “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. Once that backstory is delivered, Mo shifts from being Zoey’s mentor to being her best friend, and the audience gets the pleasure of seeing a gender-fluid series regular character explore love, life, and loss in ways that we haven’t seen on a broadcast drama before. "[25] Vulture concluded: "This is just diva vocal acrobatics flexed with the swag of a queen. Whether recording in the studio, performing on Broadway, or appearing on television, he instantly connects. Gender: Male. He also performed at the Governors Ball Music Festival and BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend. Newell lives at the intersection of Black, gay, and feminine. Contents. [5], After four complete years of education in the first class of Kipp Lynn Academy, he moved on to and graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School in 2012,[6] where he was involved in his school's choir, improv club, and costume club; he was also a member of his church choir. As a singer, Newell has released tracks with Clean Bandit, Blonde, and The Knocks. Alex Newell wields such a voice. “‘Be a man’—that’s what you hear so much from your uncles and your cousins. “Honestly, when you strip all that back, you’re still just a human.”. “I always had jelly on my hips and a swish in my step,” Newell told me with a knowing glance. The role broke Newell out of suburban anonymity in Massachusetts, where he crafted his voice in his church’s choir and navigated gender and sexual identity in his personal life. The newest pastor plans to take a busload of parishioners out to see Newell perform on Broadway. Character: Unique Adams. As I see it, it is precisely because Newell does not pin himself to any label that he has so much power. I’d just booked my first Broadway show at 25, and I feel like I was just, like, being fake—this poser,” Newell explained. He was cast in the role of Wade "Unique" Adams, a male-to-female transgender teenager. Newell used drag as a way to stand out on the show. 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. 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 am the minority of life,” Newell told me, his hair curving over his brow. It’s a sweltering late afternoon in June and Alex Newell is struggling to put on his shoes. ", "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? “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. [9] Eventually, he became the series’ first runner-up. After controling Broadway in addition to television, Alex Newell is changing his focus back to the dance floor covering. I'm sorry—I don't understand that. “I never felt comfortable in my own clothes,” Newell told me. "[25] The song, from the EP So Classic, will be included in The Knocks' debut album 55, scheduled to be released in March 2016. [15] Newell commented, "My mother said, 'If Bill O'Reilly said something about you, you are doing something right.' [36]. I mean.”, There are just some days when he brings “her” out, and others when he doesn’t. Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist stars Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Peter Gallagher, and Mary Steenburgen with Lauren Graham as a special guest star. ” he told me to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored.. 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