A Minute With: Hugh Laurie sings the blues after 'House'

Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:52am EDT
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By Lindsay Claiborn

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hugh Laurie, best known as the cantankerous doctor Gregory House from Fox TV series "House," has carved out a new career path that has steered him away from acting and led him to music.

The British actor released his second album "Didn't It Rain," a nod to New Orleans blues, in the United States last week. The record features a mix of classic blues tracks performed by Laurie on piano and ensemble group The Copper Bottom Band.

Laurie, 54, talked to Reuters about his transition from an actor to a blues crooner, working with Stephen Fry and appearing in a Daft Punk tribute with Stephen Colbert.

Q: Is it strange to switch between acting and music?

A: It's not an obvious transition, but it was one I was very grateful for. Because I suppose after acting on the end of a television show, I would've probably had quite a long period of, I don't know if mourning is quite the word, but withdrawal anyway, because it was a thrilling time in many ways ...

(House) was a character I loved, still love, always will love, he will be forever with me. And I might have gone into a strange withdrawal period, but (I had) this incredible opportunity, I mean really, really once-in-a-lifetime chance to suddenly get in a room and speak in different tongues, as it were, with a whole different set of people with different ideas about life.

Q: You're a Brit. Why take on the blues, which is a genre that has its roots in Southern U.S. culture?

A: This is the music I've always loved. I know that I'm not really allowed to say this because I'm not from here, I'm a "damned foreigner." But it felt like this was my music. I mean I know it's not and I know I'm an outsider coming to this, I'm trespassing. I know that and for that reason I treat it very seriously and I treat it very reverently where I can.   Continued...

British singer and actor Hugh Laurie performs with his band during the 46th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux in this July 9, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files