Since finishing as runner-up of American Idol‘s fifth season in 2006, Katharine McPhee has split her time as a musician and actor. Her eponymous debut peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling over 381,000 copies, and her starring role as Karen Cartwright on the musical drama Smash was received well by critics.

McPhee now has a leading role on CBS’s new drama, Scorpion, which airs Monday nights at 8PM. The show debuted at #1 with over 14 million viewers. Regardless of her success on the small screen, McPhee never wants to leave her music career behind.

“I basically spent a year after Smash was over working on the record,” says McPhee. “I was getting ready to release it… around Spring of last year.” Before she was able to finalize details with the label, McPhee received the pilot for Scorpion and fell in love with it. The album took a backseat after Scorpion was picked up by CBS; shooting for the show consists of long days, Monday through Friday.

Depending on the show’s success, McPhee hopes to find time to release a new record this Spring. “I think when the show’s over — hopefully we’ll get picked up for the back nine — which will leave me open next Spring. I’m hoping next Spring we’ll have some new music,” says McPhee.

“I do need that musical outlet,” adds McPhee. “I love being able to do live shows.”

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