UPDATE: The album is now out, a 27-track set featuring artists like Blue Ivy Carter, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Tierra Whack, Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar.
Check out the album below:
Previously reported: Beyoncé is curating and producing The Lion King: The Gift album for the upcoming film, and has released the single, “Spirit.” The album will be released on July 19.
The first song from the album, “Spirit,” was released Tuesday night. The track, performed by Beyoncé, will appear during a pivotal scene with her character, Nala.
The song was written for the film by Ilya Salmanzadeh, Timothy McKenzie and Beyoncé and is produced by Beyoncé and IIya and Labrinth.
Disney says, “With The Lion King: The Gift album, Beyoncé curated a masterful recording, a robust soundscape bringing together some of her favorite artists with the most talented and important African artists of the day to both pay tribute to the iconic film and bring the authentic sounds of African music to the world. [It features] a beautiful, multi-genre symphony, steeped in African influences from various corners of the Continent, with unexpected collaborations, pulsating rhythms and crisp production that celebrate the African diaspora. This love letter to Africa highlights the setting of the film, rooted in African culture and wondrous narratives”
“This is sonic cinema,” said Beyoncé. “This is a new experience of storytelling. I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film. 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 Afro Beat.”
She continues, “I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline. 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. 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.”
The full tracklist and featured artists will be unveiled ahead of the album’s release.
Listen to “Spirit” below: