UPDATE: Beyoncé has unveiled her executive produced and curated 27-song The Lion King: the Gift album. It features cast members from The Lion King along with Kendrick Lamar, her husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy, Pharrell Williams, Major Lazer, Tierra Whack, 070 Shake, Jessie Reyez and many others. Stream it below.
Beyoncé unveiled the new video for her song “Spirit” during an ABC News primetime special on Tuesday called The Lion King: Can You Feel the Love Tonight With Robin Roberts. The special featured interviews with the singer, fellow members of the remake’s new cast and director Jon Favreau, alongside cast members and others involved in the original 1994 animated and music-driven The Lion King film and the stage production that followed.
In the new video for the song “Spirit,” which appears in the reboot of the The Lion King, its soundtrack and on Beyoncé’s executive produced and curated The Lion King: the Gift, clips from the movie are interspersed with beautiful shots in vibrant locales, including by waterfalls and in bodies of water, flanked by mountains and in night and daytime settings. It features Beyoncé and a cast of dancers in a variety of settings dancing and striking poses in colorful costumes. Her daughter Blue Ivy also makes a cameo. The song about resilience opens with resonant call-and-response voices and features piano and orchestral touches with gospel-tipped choruses. “Rise up to the light in the sky, yeah,” Beyoncé sings. “Watch the light lift your heart up/Burn your flame through the night.”
During Beyoncé’s interview with Roberts, she said that the original film was “the first Disney movie that brought me to tears” and she praised director Favreau and the technologies employed in the new version. She added that the movie has “an incredible spirit” that “takes you on so many emotional rides,” which is captured in the “Spirit” video. “The concept of the video is to show how God is the art director,” she added.
“The soundtrack is a love letter to Africa, and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa and not just, you know, use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it,” Beyoncé explained in a preview clip from the special. “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa.
“A lot of the drums, the chants — all of these 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, it becomes visual in your mind,” she continued. “It’s a soundscape, it’s more than just the music because each song tells the story of the film.”
The Lion King: the Gift will be released on Friday, the same day The Lion King remake premieres in theaters.