Ahead of the Hollywood premiere of The Lion King last night, Beyoncé announced that she’d curated a companion album for the movie. The Lion King: The Gift will drop on July 19, same day as the film, and feature some of Beyoncé’s favourite artists. According to the press release:
"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."
In planning and recording the album, the artists' personal connection to the iconic film and its story was highly considered.
"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. 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."
And there’s her own song, “Spirit”. This is the mystery track, track #14 on the soundtrack. We first heard about the song a couple of weeks ago and…what did I tell you then? Beyoncé is making a move for that Oscar.
If you haven’t already, make sure you have the volume UP, way up, when you’re listening to “Spirit”. Let the Queen move you. And start getting ready for her to deliver this next February, at the Oscars. There is no way it won’t be nominated. Because, yes, it’s Beyoncé, but also because it’s Disney. Disney is not about to invite a swarming by the Beyhive by not putting money in that campaign. Here’s Disney Chair Bob Iger with Beyoncé last night on the carpet. How quickly is he going to have this photo mounted in his office?
As we’ve been discussing, Beyoncé’s been omnipresent on this press tour without actually being all that present. She has made her contributions where necessary though, with work on the album and this single, and at the premiere last night, by far the most important arrival – obviously. She arrived hand in hand with Blue in matching Alexander McQueen. I might actually like Blue’s look better than her mother’s, especially those two crowned buns in her hair.
And B was generous with the photos last night, posing with select castmembers and Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for a Destiny’s Child reunion, and agreeing to get in a shot with Raven Symone:
I don’t have to tell you that this is not standard protocol where our Queen is concerned. Remember, she didn’t walk the carpet or take pictures publicly at the Wearable Art Gala, which is her mother’s event! But she has different priorities where The Lion King is concerned. Beyoncé is taking ownership of it. As we know, as we’ve seen, time and time again repeatedly, everything is planned, everything is prepared, she always has a strategy.
Next stop: the London premiere. Prince Harry is expected to attend. And rumour is Meghan Markle will be there too. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Beyoncé anointing Meghan in person. Will they give us a photo? The photo that will break the internet? Will it actually happen?