Beyoncé plays adult Nala (rising star Shahadi Wright Joseph plays young Nala) in the upcoming blockbuster, and released the new song from the soundtrack in tandem with the film's 19th July premiere. The music video — which also has an appearance by Blue Ivy — is a stunning visual appetiser, comprised of sweeping shots of the desert, thoughtful Beyoncé choreography, and even new clips from the film.
The video opens with a familiar callback to the first scene of the animated 1994 Disney film: Desert cliffs silhouetted by the sunrise are emphasised by a Swahili chant (that translates to "Long live the king"), not unlike the Zulu "Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba" "Circle Of Life" opening that we all sang as children (which vaguely translates to “Here is a lion”). However, Beyoncé's soulful contribution to the canon gives a 2019 update to the soundtrack. Plus, the music video features Blue Ivy in a matching outfit to her mother — talk about the circle of life.
"Spirit, watch the heavens open," Beyoncé sings in tandem with her dancers. "Spirit, can you hear it callin'?"
“Spirit” is the first single off the soundtrack as well as its companion record, The Lion King: The Gift. While the soundtrack will likely be comprised of Lion King classics like “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata,” (plus a new track by original Lion King songwriters Elton John and Tim Rice), The Gift is Beyoncé's own contribution to the franchise, and will feature all-new songs by the cast members. and singers like Tierra Whack, Kendrick Lamar, JAY-Z, Pharrell, and more.
For now, however, let's bask in the glory that is "Spirit." Watch the music video below.