What Inspired Beyoncé’s Album, ‘The Lion King: The Gift’?

Are you with her, lions? Beyoncé’s latest project, The Lion King: The Gift, just got a little more personal for fans. Thanks to Beyoncé’s ABC documentary, Making The Gift, Beyoncé shared some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of this album. What are some of the artist’s inspirations for her music? Here’s what we learned from the ABC special.

Beyonce Knowles-Carter
Beyonce Knowles-Carter | Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Beyoncé discussed the process of making this album in ‘Making The Gift’

She can truly do anything. During her surprise ABC special, Making The Gift, Beyoncé dove into the inspiration behind her latest album. Of course, at the forefront was Disney’s movie, The Lion King. In the documentary, Beyoncé explained she didn’t want to water down the metaphors and themes, so each song helps represent the emotions conveyed by Disney’s characters.

Another inspiration was Beyoncé’s children. She even featured her daughter, Blue Ivy, on the song “Brown Skin Girl.” This song, Beyoncé explained, is made to help lift up young children and is part of the reason why she makes music.

For this album specifically, Beyoncé wanted influences from African culture, music, and art to shine through. To better convey this, the documentary shows her journey to Africa, highlighting parts of Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya.

During an interview with Good Morning America, Beyoncé said she wanted the music to reflect African culture and music

Throughout Making The Gift were parts of Beyoncé’s interview with Good Morning America. There, the artist explained the importance of reflecting African culture and music in The Lion King: The Gift. To do that, the artist invited musicians and producers from Africa, and from the United States, to work on the project. That includes artists like Pharrell, Jessie Reyez, Tekno, Yemi Alade, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Salatiel, SAINt JHN, WizKid, Tiwa Savage, Shatta Wale, Tierra Whack, Busiswa, Moonchild Sanelly, and 070 Shake.

“This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa, and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it,” Beyoncé said during an interview with Good Morning America. “We’ve kind of created our own genre, and I feel like the soundtrack, it becomes visual in your mind. It’s a soundscape. It’s more than just the music because each song tells the story of the film.”

The music of ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ helps narrate the story of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’

Of course, behind every song is the story of The Lion King, Disney’s animated film where Beyoncé voiced the character, Nala. Her album, The Lion King: The Gift, uses music to tell the story of the film. At the same time, Beyoncé explained, she wanted to leave room for the listener to imagine and interpret each song.

“I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “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.”

The Lion King: The Gift is available of Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and most major streaming platforms.