That mysterious new track on The Lion King soundtrack just got a little less mysterious thanks to the live-action film's director Jon Favreau. Turns out, the secret track is written and performed by Beyoncé, who plays adult Nala in the film. So, Oscar, can you feel that? It's Beyoncé's new Lion King song coming for your love.
After The Lion King live-action soundtrack tracklist revealed it would include a new song, simply known as "TBA" for now, fans started guessing what it could be. The hope, obviously, was that Queen Bey would be gracing fans with new music inspired by the Disney classic. Well, instead of keeping fans guessing, on Monday, June 24, Favreau just went and told Fandango that Beyoncé is behind the "to be announced" track, which is one of two new songs on the soundtrack. The other being "Never Too Late" by Elton John, who, along with Tim Rice, wrote the music for the animated Lion King.
Perhaps, Favreau let the big cat out of the bag because he's just as excited to work with Beyoncé as anyone in the world would be. "Dad got cool for about a week there," Favreau said about Beyoncé joining the cast, "because my daughters and my wife are huge fans and I was introduced to her music through them, and so it felt exciting."
Even more exciting than hearing Beyoncé sing "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is hearing her perform a new song for the film. “We have all the original songs," Favreau told Fandango, "but there’s a song that she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production along with working with Lebo M., who’s part of it with Hans Zimmer."
Favreau said Zimmer and South African composer Lebo M., who also worked on the original The Lion King and the Broadway musical, collaborated with Beyoncé "to bring this new piece of music into a film where there's already a very established musical personality to the piece. So it was nice to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production."
But, there is more to this announcement than just Beyoncé is releasing new music. The fact that this is a original song written by Bey means that it could be nominated for a Best Original Song at next year's Academy Awards. It would be her first nomination ever and let's assume the Beyhive isn't the only one thinking, it's about damn time.
In his interview with Fandango, Favreau also revealed that Beyoncé's Nala will have a bigger role in this movie than she did in the animated film. That's because he took inspiration from The Lion King on Broadway when it came to the female characters. "There's an opportunity to build upon especially the female characters of Sarabi played by Alfre Woodard and Nala played by Beyoncé that the stage play explores further," Favreau said. "It has a lot more time to do so than the original film. That was an area that we could build upon the original."
So be prepared to hear more from Beyoncé in The Lion King, in theaters July 19. And hopefully, when awards season rolls around, fans will get to hear Bey give her first Oscar speech.