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BWW Album Review: FROZEN Star Samantha Barks Bravely Leads Listeners 'Into the Unknown' With Her New Album

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BWW Album Review: FROZEN Star Samantha Barks Bravely Leads Listeners 'Into the Unknown' With Her New Album

Frozen star, Samantha Barks, recently released her latest album, Into the Unknown, under new record label, Westway. The album features selections from a number of contemporary musicals, including Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Jagged Little Pill, Ghost, Mean Girls, Moana, The Greatest Showman, and more.

Barks' impressive resume includes credits such as making her Broadway debut in Pretty Woman; starring as Eponine in the 2012 film adaption of Les Miserables; as well as currently headlining as Elsa in the West End transfer of Disney's Frozen, among others.

While the word "unknown" can spark thoughts of uncertainty, fear, and anxiousness, Barks finds her unique voice through life's journey and presents an album full of power anthems. Themes of courageousness, strength, and acceptance shine though popular ballads, including "Reflection," Waving Through a Window," and "I'd Rather Be Me." Barks' voice is confident, yet raw and truthful, and tunes into the emotions of the human heart. She knows damn well who she is and that "playing nice and shy" won't cut it and what's true is being yourself. Amen, sister!

Barks and Olivier and Tony Award nominee, Ramin Karimloo, join forces on a stunning rendition of "Only Us." This proclamation of taking on the world together and not wanting to change a thing about your partner is so refreshing and what all of us want. It's a beautiful reminder of living in the present and focusing on the person right in front of you - having faith and knowing that "what came before won't count anymore" and that the future can be bright, if you are willing to take a chance. These lyrics are affirmative, romantic, and comforting like a big hug erasing past pain.

Another wonderful collaboration is Barks with Stephanie McKeon on "Let Me Be Your Star." The tempo is upbeat and bold and embraces what's next, after all the blood, sweat, and tears associated with chasing your dream. Witnessing all your hard work come alive is truly victorious and magical - making the hardships worth it and that's worth celebrating! This dynamic duo paints the picture of so many performers working to catch their big break or really anyone looking to achieve a goal, making this ballad so relatable and heartwarming.

On a personal note, "Falling Slowly" is one of my all-time favorites and Barks' version delivers! This is one song that allows me to completely pause and drink in the lyrics and orchestrations - nourishing my soul and spirit. I've always found the words to be emotionally stirring and so poignant - no matter how many times I listen to them or at different points in time - and was delighted to hear Barks put her special touch on this interpretation, while still allowing the purity and authenticity to remain at the forefront.

As 2021 comes to a close, Into the Unknown is the perfect album to listen to, as we consider the world we want to create going forward. While the last two years have been scary and unpredictable, these power anthems remind us that we do have some control in how we make choices, live our lives, and show compassion and love to others. It is impossible to know everything but being a good human being never goes out of style and that is an important truth we can take with us into next year and beyond.

Visit Barks' website to learn more and to order her latest album:

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