All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter flexes his acting muscle in the alt-rock act’s latest music video.
Last month, the band released two new songs, “Sweat” and “Close Your Eyes,” alongside a riveting, 11-minute short film in which Ritter’s character has a “Dirty Little Secret”: He plays a privileged man who moonlights as a prostitute named Betsy.
To prepare for the performance, Ritter — who made a memorable foray into acting on NBC’s Parenthood — practiced prancing around in heels.
“It was a really exciting leap for me to be able to go through character development, walking around my kitchen naked in high heels every morning for a couple of weeks to get into the character,” Ritter, 33, tells PEOPLE.
“It was nice to feel graceful, sexy, empowered — especially in 6-inch platforms,” he adds of the role. “I loved preparing for her — just waking up every morning and getting naked and jumping in my heels and going through my routine, finding that confidence in my walk and finding the way that she stepped, the way that she gesticulated. It all fell into place, which was really a unique experience for me. My wife [Elena] even helped me with walking!”
Ritter wanted the visuals for the new tunes to explore identity.
“On my time off, I dove in a little bit into the spirituality,” he explains. “I think we all have that yin and yang, the feminine and masculine energy in us.”
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The All-American Rejects haven’t released an album in five years, and Ritter says “Sweat” (a funked-up stomper) and “Close Your Eyes” (a spare ballad) preview the extremes fans can expect on their forthcoming LP. While Ritter focused his efforts on acting during the group’s hiatus, he promises the new album is a passion project worth the wait.
“I found music a little bit easier whenever I was focused on acting because it wasn’t me sitting down in front of a piano going ‘OK, talk to me.’ Sometimes you wanna talk to the piano; you don’t want it to talk to you,” he says. “We took the time these last five years, just growing into the new skin of the All-American Rejects. You have growing pains. What brought us all back to it was that the music had changed and had grown with us.”