The Artist Who ‘Let It Go’ Really Does Let It All Go
I consider my taste in music to be very eclectic. I enjoy songs from artists with various genres: from System of a Down to Britney Spears. From Black Sabbath to Frankie Valli. From The Beastie Boys to Jackson Browne. But if there is one artist I idolize the most, it is Idina Menzel.
If you’ve heard the name Idina Menzel, you probably automatically associate it with, “That chick who sings that song from Frozen,” or “That lady whose name John Travolta butchered at The Oscars.” Walking through Times Square, passerby can see the giant billboard for her musical If/Then that dubs Idina Menzel as “Broadway’s Biggest Star.” Menzel is, most notably, attributed as being a Broadway sensation. First appearing on Broadway in 1996, she originated the role of the”bold, flirtatious, sassy, and funny” Maureen Johnson in the rock musical RENT. In 2003, she originated the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West in the musical WICKED. Later, after launching what was clearly a successful Broadway career, Menzel’s solo album, entitled I Stand, appeared on Billboard 200. In March 2008, the track “Brave” charted in the top 20 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.
Although “I Stand” was the first album to appear on the charts, it was actually the third solo album Menzel released, the first being a 1998 album entitled Still I Can’t Be Still. Idina Menzel is my personal role-model. She was just this Jewish girl from Long Island with a powerful singing voice that demanded to be heard, and I view myself in the exact same way. I had the pleasure of going to Menzel’s sold-out concert at Radio City this past June, at which she talked about that 1998 album, which is no longer in print because of the fact that such few copies were sold. After sharing that the record label proceeded to drop her, she then performed the title track to that first album.
After finding the rest of the songs online, I really can’t come up with any logical reason why this album did not sell more copies, except for the fact that maybe, because Menzel was only known as a Broadway star (if at all), no one wanted to take a chance on her. True Idina Menzel fans, or “Fanzels,” as they have been dubbed, know that when she is in her element, Idina is raunchy and raw and edgy. The vocals in the Still I Can’t Be Still album display all of these emotions and more. Idina Menzel is probably one of the most versatile artists whose versatility is so unfortunately unknown. She gives her performances everything she’s got and never holds back.
If more people took the time to really listen to her instead of shoving her aside as “just another Broadway star,” they would not be disappointed!