Lea Michele Debuts ‘Places’ Album: “F — it if People Don’t Like it”

David Livingston/Getty Images

How do you come up with a title for for your album if your record label says that it’s due tomorrow, and absolutely nothing is coming to mind? If you’re Lea Michele, you hold a wine-fueled seance at home, of course.

Well, not a seance, exactly — the 30-year-old pop singer and former Glee star was not trying to channel the deceased, but the spirit of Stevie Nicks. “I poured myself the biggest glass of red wine, I put Fleetwood Mac on my vinyl, I lit candles, and I legit started praying and looking for a sign,” Michele tells Billboard. “I have this incredible book that Stevie Nicks gave me in 2013 when my boyfriend [Glee co-star Cory Monteith] died. She gave me this art book of hers that she put notes in over the years and song lyrics, and then she rewrote personal notes for me that say things like, ‘Keep singing, and have faith.’

“I was looking through this book and praying that there was an answer in it, somewhere. And there was something in there that said, ‘The only thing that matters is you, and who you are.’ That’s what I’ve been trying to do with this whole record — just connect to me and where I’m from.”

The message led Michele to frantically call her best friend, fellow Broadway star Jonathan Groff. “I was like, ‘What’s something from our time in New York — a word, or a phrase, or something that is from theater, or from us?’ And he said, ‘What about “Places?”’ When you’re on Broadway, you get your 30-minute call, then your 15-minute call. You hear ‘Places, everyone!’ And that means it’s showtime.”

For Michele, sophomore album Places, due out later this year, is the rising curtain that she’s been awaiting for her entire solo career. From 2009 to 2015, the New Yorker starred as Rachel Berry on Glee, a cultural phenomenon that produced smash soundtracks and required countless hours of studio sessions from its regular cast. In the penultimate year of its run, Michele released her long-awaited debut album, Louder, on Columbia Records; the 2014 full-length was recorded simultaneously with her Glee covers, and has sold 110,000 copies to date,…