As she hits the road for her first-ever world tour this weekend, Idina Menzel has the recording studio in her sights, too.
“I’ve been working on a new album,” Menzel — whose first stop is on Saturday, May 30 in Seoul, South Korea — told reporters during a pre-tour conference call. “I’m in that process of just being in the writing stages and recording with producers and songwriters that really inspire me. There’s not much to say other than that I feel creative and I’m sort of putting my heart out there and exploring different sounds and things like that. I’m not limiting myself. I’m just doing what I feel in my heart and then I’ll see if there’s somewhat of a theme or a trend going on and then I’ll pick the songs that tell that story. But I’m not there yet. Right now I’m just doing music that I love.”
Menzel — primarily known as a Broadway star creating roles in Rent, Wicked and If/Then before hitting commercial pay dirt with “Let It Go” from the Frozen soundtrack — will certainly be doing plenty of favorites, both her own and her audience’s, during the tour, which plays Japan, the Philippines and the U.K. before arriving in North America on July 7 in Richmond, Va., and wrapping Oct. 3 in Los Angeles. “Most of the songs are from shows that I’ve been in, and then other music I want to explore,” Menzel says. “It’s funny; although ‘Let It Go’ is my only hit radio song in my career, I sort of consider songs like (Wicked‘s) ‘Defying Gravity’ and songs from Rent to be my other hit songs.
“My barometer for that is if I can put the microphone out and the audience can sing every word, then that’s my hit song so I make sure that I includes those songs that I think people would want to hear. Then I challenge myself; I pick other songs I always wanted to sing or do a new interpretation of something.”
Menzel said her stage will look slick but not over-the-top, while she’s favoring a functional wardrobe without a lot of walk-off costume changes.
“The thing about my wardrobe is I don’t like to leave the stage,” she explained. “When I was a little girl I saw Diana Ross perform and she made about 123 costume changes in the concert, and I thought that was so amazing. But as I’ve gotten more seasoned in my own career, I realized I don’t want to leave the stage. So I’m playing around with a dress that can have maybe a couple different looks to it and change on stage and never lose my audience’s attention.” Menzel plans to rock some high heels as well — “I like to feel taller and I think the heels make me look skinnier” — but she guarantees that “at some point I have to just toss them off and get comfortable and be barefoot. It’s easier for me to sing grounded on the floor and not teetering around. Only people like Beyonce can walk down all those stairs in those high heels and still sound good. I can’t do that.”
Menzel acknowledged that she’s conscious her “Let It Go” success will be bringing a younger crowd to the shows as well, but she maintains that “I’m trying not to let it impact the show that much. Between Rent and Wicked and even Glee and now Frozen, I’ve always had to figure out how to negotiate, navigate around a wide demographic — which is obviously a very lucky thing, a gift, but also can be tricky. I’m a 43-year-old woman up there on stage and I curse, I swear about something and then I realize that’s a mom in the front row with her little 8-year-old daughter in an Elsa costume. But I have to be myself, too. That’s a challenging thing is how I reconcile all of that.”