Erich Bergen just released his debut single “Running Through the Night” last month — and now PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the music video for the soaring track.
The 32-year-old actor says the last five years of his life informed the lyrics.
“It’s been an incredible time in my life, but I’ve also grown up a lot, and that’s what this song is about … growing up. I hit a point in my life where I started to wonder if I was in the right place, if I was doing the right thing, and what it was all adding up to,” he told PEOPLE. “Becoming an adult doesn’t just mean paying bills on time and lower back pain. It’s learning that life has its ups and downs, to accept them, embrace them and to keep going — taking with you what you’ve learned.”
Bergen added that his trying battle with testicular cancer also influenced his songwriting.
“The post-cancer experience certainly triggered a lot of the feelings this song is about,” he said. “The fear that the ‘C word’ — or any sudden traumatic experience — is waiting around the corner is an exhausting and debilitating thought to have in your head. The key for me was to push my way through the darkness. To keep running through the night.”
Similar sentiments inspired the music video.
“I wanted to focus on the idea of running away from something great because of not wanting to deal with the bad side of a good thing. It’s something I’ve dealt with personally and I know many others who have,” he said.
Bergen added: “One time, I remember being on the verge of a starting a relationship with someone, but I didn’t pursue it because at the time it felt like all of my friends were going through major arguments with their significant others or on the verge of a break-up. It was just like, ugh, I don’t wanna ever go through that. So I stayed away from something potentially great because of something potentially tough. … It wasn’t the healthiest of choices.”
While he’s maybe best known for his role opposite Téa Leoni in Madam Secretary, Bergen has always been a musician. He portrayed the Four Seasons’s Bob Gaudio in Clint Eastwood’s 2014 Jersey Boys adaptation on the big screen. And this summer, he made his Broadway debut in Waitress alongside Katharine McPhee.
“There is a weird stigma with actors who sing that doesn’t seem to exist with singers who want to act. I’m not quite sure why that is, but I really don’t care,” he says. “I’ve always made music. Way before I knew what acting was, I was making music. It’s just not how most people got to know me. But I hope people give me a shot.”