You know her as a diva on the Broadway stage, having debuted in the original cast of Hairspray and later bringing audiences to their feet as “Elphaba” in Wicked, but Shoshana Bean is also a spellbinding solo artist. Her first three album releases all topped the iTunes R&B and Blues charts, and her fourth record, Spectrum — available Feb. 9 — is likely to do the same.
Inspired by the work of Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra, Spectrum features Bean’s crisp vocals in front of an 18-piece band. The album is a mix of beloved classics (Sinatra’s “I Wanna Be Around” and The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” among them), new workings of contemporary hits and a few original songs.
“This album is different because it’s pretty much all covers, only three originals,” Shoshana Bean tells Hornet. “It’s also the most classic album I’ve made, and definitely the largest album I’ve ever made. An 18-piece big band! But most importantly, I do feel it’s the most full representation of who I am as an artist and vocalist.”
The first single from Spectrum is called “Remember the Day,” and it’s a track Bean tells us she wrote mere days before she went into the studio to record the new album. “I was in a full panic to write an uptempo, and it needed to be the single and it needed to stand next to the classic giant songs and covers we had already chosen. So much pressure!” she says.
About a relationship that went awry, one of the song’s biggest draws is the fact that it’s instantly relatable — to gay men and, well, just about anyone. “I think we can all relate to heartbreak and the obsessive mind that accompanies it,” she tells us. “You just want to shut off that loop that has that person being the first thing on your mind when you wake and the last thing before you go to sleep. And then the day comes when you just forget to remember! And it’s 2 p.m. and you realize you haven’t thought of them all day! I live for that moment because you know you’re starting to let go!”
Knowing the LGBTQ community makes up a large portion of her fanbase — a fanbase that helped her raise over $120,000 to make Spectrum happen — she considers this song yet another anthem for us.
“It’s about healing the wounds of anyone who kept you down, made you feel small, less than or wrong,” she says. “Of finally getting to the other side of that and being free — free to be exactly who you are, which is amazing and beautiful and enough!”
Plan on hearing the faint sounds of “Remember the Day” through the earbuds of fellow treadmill runners at the gym.