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For years, stuntman Nick Loren has played someone else on-screen, but with the release of his debut album, he finally has the chance to take center stage.

TWO HOURS AGO, NICK LOREN was leaning out the window of a sports car going 120 miles per hour on a Paris highway, aiming a rocket launcher at a cavalcade of baddies giving chase for Pierre Morel’s upcoming film, From Paris with Love. Two hours from now, Loren will be warming up his velvety singing voice, preparing to serenade a small audience with a slinky soul ballad from his debut album, Forever Be Cool.

Loren is prevalent on the big screen, even if he’s not well known to the casual moviegoer. Where may you have seen him? Do films such as Hairspray, Wild Hogs, and Be Cool ring a bell? This month, he appears in the new big-screen remake The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. But if he does his job right, you won’t even realize he’s there. That’s because as John Travolta’s longtime stunt double, he’s paid to go unnoticed.

“I’ve been John Travolta on camera for 12 years,” Loren says. “Even he can’t always tell whether it’s him or me in the finished movie. That’s a real compliment to me.”

Though Loren is an old pro at deftly dodging a hailstorm of bullets while narrowly avoiding being sandwiched by two 18-wheelers, he’s still a newbie in the world of music, despite the fact that he’s been singing for nearly 20 years. It was actually Travolta who first encouraged him to try singing professionally. Loren says that when they met for the first time, on the set of 1997’s Face/Off, he offered Travolta his demo tape, “a dingy, old cassette, the writing barely legible.” Travolta was blown away.

“He told me in no uncertain terms that I was born to sing, that I had to be doing music,” Loren says. “He’s supported me all the way.”

Releasing an album has been a lifelong dream of Loren’s; he grew up singing and playing drums with his family, inspired by singers like Donnie Hathaway, Lionel Richie, and Stevie Wonder. For years, Loren has worked on his music between film gigs, and now that his first album has come to fruition, he plans to devote even more energy to touring and recording. So what will Travolta do if Loren is unavailable when he needs a stand-in?

“We’ve talked about that,” Loren says. “John has always been so wonderful with me. He told me, ‘I’ll never replace you. I’ll just get another guy to do your job until you’re ready to come back, if you want to.’ He’s there for me, and I’m there for him. That’s what a double does.”