Just over a week ahead of the highly anticipated release of Disney’s photorealistic, computer-animated remake of The Lion King, one of the film’s biggest stars, Beyoncé — who portrays Nala — has released an original song for its soundtrack entitled Spirit.
Spirit dropped early Wednesday morning, along with the news that Beyoncé has curated and produced her own album, called The Lion King: The Gift, which will be released alongside The Lion King’s official soundtrack next Friday.
The compilation album will feature not only Spirit but a plethora of new songs inspired by the film, which will infuse various different music genres, including R&B, pop and hip hop.
The tracks were recorded by a variety of international artists, according to Pitchfork.
Spirit was composed by Timothy McKenzie (best known as Labrinth) and Swedish-Persian songwriter, Ilya Salmanzadeh (also known as Ilya). The duo wrote the lyrics for the song with Beyoncé.
In an official statement, the 37-year-old spoke about the album.
“This is sonic cinema,” she said. “This is a new experience of storytelling.”
“I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film,” revealed Beyoncé. “It is a mixture of genres and collaboration that isn’t one sound. It is influenced by everything from R&B, pop, hip hop and Afrobeat.”
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“I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline,” she continued. “Each song was written to reflect the film’s storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery while listening to a new contemporary interpretation.”
The statement concluded: “It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me.”
As of this writing, the official tracklist for The Lion King: The Gift has not been revealed.
Both Beyoncé and The Lion King quickly became trending topics on Twitter following the release of Spirit. However, that’s not unusual for the Halo singer when releasing new material.
Already, Spirit has received a ton of praise, with many believing it might earn a nod at the 2020 Oscars.
Here’s what some fans had to say on Spirit and Beyoncé in general:
“Listen here Beyoncé,” wrote one Twitter user, “you did not have to scalp me this good [this] f–king morning! #Spirit is giving me life.”
“Spirit is absolutely beautiful,” tweeted another fan. “They may as well run Beyoncé her Oscar for ‘Best Original Song.’”
Spirit is now available through all major streaming platforms.
In addition to The Lion King, Disney still has live-action reboots of Mulan and The Little Mermaid in the works.
The first official trailer for Mulan dropped on Monday, whereas the live-action Little Mermaid has sparked a lot of controversy over the last week for the casting of its lead character, Ariel.
The Lion King hits theatres next Friday, July 19, 2019.
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