Beyoncé called the upcoming Lion King soundtrack "a love letter to Africa" ahead of the film and album's release this Friday

By Matt McNulty
July 16, 2019 01:30 PM

Beyoncé has worked extensively on the soundtrack for Disney’s remake of The Lion King, calling the album “a love letter to Africa” in a new interview.

The Lion King: The Gift, which the 37-year-old produced and curated, will be released on Friday in tandem with the film’s theatrical release.

“This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa,” she says in a sneak for an ABC News television special on the film. “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa,” she said, describing the use of “a lot” of drums and “incredible new sounds mixed with some of the producers from America.”

“We’ve kind of created our own genre and I feel like the soundtrack is the first soundtrack where it becomes visual in your mind,” she explained. “The soundscape is more than just the music because each song tells the story of the film.”

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The soundtrack for the original animated film took home four Grammys, two Golden Globes, and two Academy Awards (for Best Original Song and Best Original Score) back in 1994, topping the Billboard 200 album charts for 10 nonconsecutive weeks and earning a diamond certification after selling 10 million units, the Recording Industry Association of America reports.

Kwaku Alston/Disney

Beyoncé and actor-singer Donald Glover covered the song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” originally sung by Elton John for the animated film 25 years ago, for the upcoming live-action version’s soundtrack, as heard in the latest trailer.

Queen Bey’s Lion King soundtrack also includes the likes of her husband, JAY-Z, daughter Blue Ivy Carter, Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell, according to her website, which also includes the album’s tracklist.

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Her song “Spirit,” from the film’s soundtrack, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Kid Digital Song Sales Chart following the single’s release last week.

Glover and Beyoncé also provided voice acting for the Lion King remake, playing the characters of Simba and Nala, respectively.

The TV special will air Tuesday night at 8 PM ET on ABC.

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