The stage star recovered from Covid to create an album of hope. She talks role models, belonging and theatre’s time of change
Your new album, Tomorrow, features original songs, musical-theatre classics and cover versions. Is there a common theme?
It all started with the song Tomorrow. I recorded it myself in my house while I was recovering from coronavirus. I wanted to raise money to help artists pay the bills so I reached out to Broadway Cares and Make a Difference to create a charity single. The song dropped at the time that social media went dark and no one was posting. I took this song from Annie, which is a little kid’s song that’s usually annoying, and I turned it into an anthem of hope. From there we picked more musical-theatre songs that we wanted to give a spin and make relevant to the times.
You must have loved some of these songs, like Somewhere, for years
I didn’t grow up with money. I’d get VHS tapes from the pawn shop or wherever and I got the VHS of West Side Story. That musical is all about race and finding a place for yourself as an immigrant. We’ve all felt displaced over the last year. As a black person in this time, we feel displaced. Where do we belong? People say, “Go back to where you came from”, but even where we come from, we don’t belong there. But there is a place for us, a time and a place where we’ll have harmony and peace. We’ve just got to get through this to get somewhere.