By Maureen Lee Lenker
June 19, 2019 at 08:06 PM EDT
  • TV Show

Kevin McHale has his own new music coming out, but there’s also been a bounty of fresh tunes in the years since Glee left the airwaves in 2015.

The actor, who played Glee club member Artie on the Fox musical series, tells EW that there’s an active Glee group text where the former cast members text each other about songs they think would have made the show if it were still on. “You hear a song on the radio and you’re like, ‘Oh, we totally would have done this song,’” he muses. “There’s like a specific sound, and I knew who would sing which parts.”

McHale suggests an eclectic range of artists he thinks would have made the cut, including Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, and Frank Ocean. “Bruno Mars’ last album probably would have been a feast for us to do,” he says. “We could’ve done a whole episode based off of Bruno Mars. Honestly, any of Frank Ocean’s music. Frank Ocean and Calvin Harris, that song ‘Slide’ that came out like two years ago. Any of Calvin Harris’ last album, any of that, that would’ve been good.”

There is one album he thinks they would’ve tackled, but he wouldn’t have been so sure about: Beyoncé’s Lemonade. “I don’t know if I would’ve allowed that to happen,” he jokes. “I would’ve been scared. We can’t touch a masterpiece. But maybe I would just have had Amber [Riley] do all of Lemonade because I trust her with anything.”

McHale is now channeling his musical ideas into his own EP, Boy, which comes out June 21. He says the record is primarily pop- and R&B-inspired. “I just want the EP to be out,” he says. “I’m ready for people to hear it because all the songs are so different from one another… You don’t know if it’s going to connect the way you want it to. You do all this work and you spend all this time and money making something you think you’re proud of, and it comes out and you’re like. ‘Eeee, good luck.’”

Treating the album like he was having a conversation with friends is what McHale says convinced him to get really vulnerable and write the type of music that makes him proud. “I realized I needed to speak in song form like I do to my friends. It was something about getting rid of all the decades of media training to talk freely and really being inspired by younger artists that are doing that exact thing,” he says. “It just felt reflective of the time, and I felt confident I wasn’t putting on some type of front. In the past when I’d done music, it didn’t necessarily feel like me, like a real version of me, and I felt weird about that and the music never came out, so this was the first time I was like, ‘Okay, we’ll do this, let’s put this music out.’”

Watch the video above for more from McHale.

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