Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams inhabit the mind of a soul-searching bear on “Shine,” a breezy ballad written for the computer-animated film comedy Paddington. “One thing about me / I’ll be there for my team,” Stefani croons over acoustic guitars and horn blasts. “I’ll do anything to protect my people’s dreams.” Pharrell makes a vocal cameo at the climax, navigating his falsetto. A low-quality “Shine” leak hit the Internet on Wednesday and is available to stream below.
The two musicians – who both served as coaches on Season Seven of The Voice – first announced the collaborative track in November. Paddington, a big-screen adaptation of Michael Bond’s popular Paddington Bear book series, will hit American theaters on January 16th. (“Shine” was not included in the British version of the film, which was released in November.)
Stefani and Pharrell previously collaborated on “Hollaback Girl,” the hit single from Stefani’s debut solo LP, 2004’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby., along with multiple tracks from her follow-up album, 2006’s The Sweet Escape. The duo recently worked on material for Stefani’s upcoming third LP, which is expected to be released in 2015.
“It was time for her to really express herself and not have a bunch of people telling her what to do,” Pharrell told Rolling Stone in a recent interview. “I held up the mirror and [said], ‘Do you know who’s in there? Do you know how many people respect that person?’ The more she saw, the deeper she reached, and the crazier the stuff came out.”
Stefani has already released two tracks from the album: the Pharrell-produced dance-pop track “Spark the Fire” and the synth-driven “Baby Don’t Lie.” The record was executive-produced by hit-maker Benny Blanco and also features collaborations with Calvin Harris and Charli XCX.