Lea Michele Has “Hard Road” Ahead Without ‘Glee,’ Expert Says

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Gleeks will be bidding Lea Michele goodbye when she “graduates” next season. On Thursday, Glee executive producer Ryan Murphy announced the news that Lea, along with Emmy nominee Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith, would not be returning for season four.

While it’s difficult to imagine the show continuing without the breakout stars, fans are curious to find out what’s next. Can these stars stay relevant to their fan base as they pursue new projects? Celebuzz caught up with Lisa Damiani, one of NYC’s leading vocal coaches and CEO of Star Rock for Kids!, to find out if Glee actress Lea Michele (and her vocal chops) can survive in a world full of Britneys and Rihannas.

As Lea leaves Glee, what do you think would be her best career move?
She is an extraordinary talent and has an amazing voice. The world has come to embrace her as this Broadway talent. Lea is all voice. Her future would be very successful if she sticks to Broadway.

Do you think she should follow in Matthew Morrison’s footsteps and release a solo album?
She has the ability to do pop, but I don’t know how her fans would embrace it. With pop music, it doesn’t lend to those with big vocals because a lot of the songs you hear on the radio today, the voice is programmed with electronics. If she was going up against today’s pop radio — Rihanna, Britney Spears, Pink — that’s going to be a hard road for her because she doesn’t necessarily have the pop sound. That would be rough. The music industry and Broadway are completely different businesses. She is up for a challenge if she’s looking to do pop charts… When you’re on your own as a solo artist, the challenges are much bigger. Planning a solo career doesn’t happen over night, even with the best managers and PR firms behind you.

Do you think she’ll ever be able to branch out from her Broadway roots?
Well, Glee is successful because people became fans of the singers on the show — not necessarily the storyline. People watch for the performances. For Lea to change that and become a pop or sitcom star, that will be a difficult reception with her fans. I’m sure there are plenty of Broadway shows that would love to feature her.

If you were managing her, what advice would you give her to stay relevant?
Well, being on a weekly show, she’s everywhere right now. She has to figure out a strategy to stay in the public eye. If I were her, I would have lined up a Broadway show or be recording music… Perhaps she should put out an album of her favorite Broadway songs, like Barbra Streisand’s Back to Broadway. If she sticks to what compliments her voice best, which is theater and Broadway music, I think she’ll have a very successful career. But if she changes, then her fans might turn on her.

A lot of people wonder if Glee can survive without Lea and the other cast mates. Thoughts?
When I ask kids [in my Star Rock for Kids! program] what shows they’re watching and specifically about Glee, the response has been consistent: they used to love and watch the show but not so much anymore. Kids have faded away from the Glee, so perhaps the cast feels that way too and knows that if they don’t move on, they’ll be forgotten and lose their audience.

Tags: Glee, Lea Michele