Shoshana Bean Is Lookin' for a Superhero

Not many girls can wow a Broadway crowd in shows like Wicked and Hairspray, then turn around and bring the audience to its feet at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. But Shoshana Bean goes far beyond what most people might expect, as evidenced by her soulful debut album, Superhero.

BY Charles Romaine

November 28 2008 12:00 AM ET

 SHOSHANA BEAN X390 02 (CURTIS BROWN ) | ADVOCATE.COM

Well what you do is so fitting right now in musical theater. And it allows me to parlay it into my music.
I’m always getting, "How are people going to
react when you come out with this pop album?"
They’re not going to be shocked at what I’m
doing.

I’ve seen the YouTube video of you singing
"How Will I Know."
Baby! You know? Yah, I don’t think
it’s going to be a surprise.

And the writing? Is that something you’ve always done? Yes, it is something I’ve
done…probably since high school. I was pretty
insecure about it up until this album, until I really had
something to say. I think for a long time I tried to
say what I thought people wanted to hear, or tried to
pattern myself after somebody else. So often people
say, "You sound like…" or "Whose career path do you
want to follow? Who do you want to sing like?" So if I
wanted to be like this person, I should probably write
songs like this person. It got to the point though
that so much was happening in my own personal life that I
was like, "Fuck it. I’m going to write what’s
actually going on and it’s not necessarily with
the purpose of being heard or being a big hit, but I
just have stuff that has to come out." And that’s
what people started actually responding to.

Do you mind if I ask? I read in the liner notes
that there was a tragedy that inspired this album.
Yes. I was dating a man who was killed in a car
accident. And I had never… I mean, I had lost
my grandparents, but it had been sickness and you knew
what was coming. To lose someone like that… I just
didn’t know. I couldn’t imagine the vast
range of emotions that happened. That more than
anything was what I had to talk about -- along with the fact
that I was like, "I can’t wait!" I mean, there
were so many things that he had wanted to do and plans
we had made. If I die tomorrow, what have I left? What
have I done? Other people’s work. I’ve
replaced other people. I’ve sung other
people’s lyrics. That’s great and all, but I
haven’t left my part.

Is it scary for you, saying I don’t ever want to
make a decision based out of fear, when so many people do?
And I did for many, many years. And a lot of
people do…and now I see it and I call it out.
And people are like, "Well, it’s not that
easy." Don’t tell me it’s not that easy!

Is this the catalyst for you then -- to just say,
"Fuck it! I’m afraid, but I’m doing it anyway"?
Yes, and then once you make that decision, you
can’t go back, because life supports that
decision. There have been opportunities for me to sort
of go back…and there is that temptation because this
hasn’t just been a labor of love, it’s
been all my time, all my money -- everything has gone
into this. So, you know, it gets panicky sometimes, but
it’s absolutely been worth it and there was
absolutely a lot of fear that had to be worked through
to do it.

So who in your life is there for you when you start
to get what I call the spins -- the whole "What the fuck
am I doing?"
Well, I have my two best girlfriends and then,
actually, the person who did sort of put this into
motion is another great friend of mine… I
played him something -- and this was before I had decided it
was going to become an album -- at this time I was
just writing music and producing it so that I was
creatively moving forward. I was still hoping that someone
was going to come in and sweep me off my feet and tell me
exactly what I needed to be doing. I told him, "I
can’t afford to keep doing this." And he told
me, "You’re being selfish!" He said, "Even if
it’s just 10 people who are dying to hear you do an
album, you’re being selfish. You’re
robbing them. Think of the people we’ve admired
who go into hiding. And we wish they’d do another
album or do another show. You’re robbing the
world of inspiration…" I’d never thought
of it unselfishly.

Tags: Music

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