As we prepare ourselves physically and spiritually for the arrival of Beyoncé’s (and Disney’s) live-action version of The Lion King, we suddenly have yet another reason to celebrate. Beyoncé has executively produced a new album as a musical ode to the film, and it is appropriately named The Lion King: The Gift. This gift will be arriving July 19, and includes a new original song from the film called “Spirit,” which is performed by Beyoncé herself. Similar to Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther album, the rest of The Gift will be a Beyoncé-curated selection of songs inspired by the film, including ones by several African artists. “This is sonic cinema,” Beyoncé said 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.”
“I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline,” she said. “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.” We’re ready to start this journey later tonight, when “Spirit” will be released as a single.