To any fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s, Mandy Gonzalez is a well-known face and voice: she was the original Nina in In the Heights and she’s currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton. Gonzalez is also the first artist launched under Warner Music Group’s new Arts Music division and her album, Fearless, was just released on Arts Music’s East West imprint. Before a series of shows at New York’s Cafe Carlyle (Oct. 24-Nov. 4), she stopped by the Billboard on Broadway podcast to chat about her career thus far and her new music.
“It’s music that was written by artists I admire, but a lot of time when I sing it it’s from a character’s point of view,” Gonzalez says of the songs on her album, which include a single by Miranda himself. “Now, it’s from my point of view. And my voice is different from characters I play. I really got to open up my voice and be myself.”
She sees her experience recording with Warner as indicative of a larger change happening regarding musical theater’s place in pop culture. “There is definitely a shift happening,” Gonzalez says, noting the growing number of pop artists interested in working on Broadway. “It’s really just about good music. To hear what [artists like me] are doing in the theater world is so important. I give props to Warner for that.”
In her chat with host Rebecca Milzoff, Gonzalez discusses what she’s learning from performing in Hamilton, reuniting with her In the Heights co-star Christopher Jackson on Fearless, why Miranda calls her “the Beast” and much more.