Wednesday afternoon, GRAMMY, Tony and Emmy Award-winner Ben Platt headed to the internationally prestigious University of Cambridge to talk to students about his multifaceted career in entertainment as an actor, singer-songwriter and all-round extraordinary performer. In-conversation with Cambridge Union’s Adam Davies, Platt spoke about his many experiences and achievements, before opening questions up to an audience of the university’s students in a Q&A.

After leading roles in smash hit Broadway productions Dear Evan Hansen and The Book of Mormon, alongside blockbuster films such as Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, Platt recently released his debut album Sing To Me Instead (Atlantic Records), marking his arrival as a recording artist and songwriter having co-written all of the album’s 12 songs. Described as “an amalgam of a bunch of different relationships in my past, and the very small amount that I’ve learned while grappling with love and romance,” the LP is marked by a striking, deeply emotive brand of classic popcraft, enlivened with sweeping vocals and Platt’s undeniable charm and versatility. Fresh from a UK exclusive show at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo on Saturday, Platt headed a couple of hours north of the capital to chat with the Cambridge’s student body.

On how he burst into the music industry…
“I was working on the soundtrack for Dear Evan Hansen, when the conversation about writing my own original music came about. I had grown up rewriting pop songs with my family, for barmitzvahs and weddings. I was very transfixed with rhyme and sound and the concept of song writing, even though I’d never attempted to write a song from my own perspective before. Simultaneously, I had just moved into my own apartment in New York City where I finally had my own piano and space. So I started to tinker and see what it would sound like purely from my own perspective. Over the course of 10 months we wrote 40 something songs.”

On the influence of his childhood…
“There were 5 of us growing up, we all sang and wrote songs together. On car journeys we would listen to ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Oklahoma’ and I was putting on musicals in the backyard with my siblings. Music was always the way I opened up and interacted with people, otherwise I was quite quiet and closed off. I don’t know if I’d have known quite so early, or so surely, that this is what I wanted to do without growing up with it. My father is a producer, so I grew up around the business from the get-go and saw the reality of it. I was aware of how hard I needed to work in the theatrical community.”

On being an ‘O’ away from EGOT…
“I’m not necessarily setting a schedule for when I’d like to receive an Oscar! The other letters weren’t particular goals of mine, they just sort of happened when I followed what I thought was going to be the best work, and that I thought I’d be able to show the best of myself in. Film is something that I love but is the medium I know about the least being that I grew up in theatre and now I’m moving more into TV. But I would love to experiment more with film too.”

On the differing natures of the theatre, TV and music industries…
“They’re wildly different, even more so than I expected. The theatre community to me feels by far the most warm, particularly in New York and similarly in the West End, I’d imagine. Everyone seems to know everybody, there’s a very tiny group of creators and writers and it’s a lot more work ethic based – just because of the nature of theatre and having nowhere to hide.”

“Music is the one I know the least about, but from what I’ve learnt so far it’s the least specific of them - there are innumerable ways to make things happen with streaming, YouTube, social media, all these different ways in. I love that there’s such free reign, and the ability to create things for yourself.”