UPDATED: Beyonce has announced a new album “The Lion King: The Gift,” for which the 23-time Grammy winner has curated a variety of Lion King-inspired songs written by African artists. The album, which comes from Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records, will also include a song written and performed by Beyonce titled “Spirit,” which will also appear on the film’s soundtrack.
Beyonce released the single Tuesday night, following the Disney film’s exclusive premiere; however the entire Beyonce-curated album won’t debut until July 19, the day of the film’s U.S. release.
The Beyonce track, co-written by IIya Salmanzadeh and Timothy McKenzie (a.k.a. Labrinth) alongside Queen Bey, is expected to play during an emotional “Lion King” scene involving Beyonce’s character Nala.
“The Lion King: The Gift,” an album featuring global artists & steeped in the sounds of Africa, produced & curated by @Beyonce Knowles-Carter, will release 7/19. “Spirit,” the single from the album & soundtrack for The Lion King, will be available tonight. https://t.co/IbMpQvJ97U pic.twitter.com/AA7Fxl7hb7
— The Lion King (@disneylionking) July 9, 2019
“This is sonic cinema,” said Beyoncé in a statement. “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 went on, “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 official soundtrack, produced by Hans Zimmer and Jon Favreau, will be released by Walt Disney Records on July 11 and includes “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” featuring Beyonce and Donald Glover, who plays Simba in the live-action remake.
“The Lion King” will hit theaters July 18.