Beyonce doesn’t just voice Nala in the new live-action version of “The Lion King” — she has also produced and curated a compilation album for the film. Titled “The Lion King: The Gift,” the album will feature a variety of artists, including work from African musicians and producers. That’s kind of reminiscent of another music superstar’s collection inspired by a Disney film: Kendrick Lamar‘s “Black Panther” soundtrack, which earned a Grammy bid for Album of the Year. But if Beyonce is nominated for that award for “The Gift,” she may have to face another soundtrack: Lady Gaga‘s “A Star Is Born.”
“This is sonic cinema,” explained Beyonce in a statement describing the collection. “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. … 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.”
Only three soundtrack albums have ever won Album of the Year at the Grammys: “Saturday Night Fever” (1979), “The Bodyguard” (1994) and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2002). However, “Black Panther” earned a bid earlier this year after the recording academy expanded the top four general field categories to eight slots. Both Beyonce and Lady Gaga could now be gunning for nomination slots for their own compilations. Interestingly, it would be the fourth AOTY bid for both women, just like it was for Lamar. And neither of them has won that top award, also just like Lamar. But maybe “The Lion King” will be the “Gift” that keeps on giving for Queen Bey.
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