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Walt Disney Records: "Raya and the Last Dragon" music by James Newton Howard

Walt Disney Records, the Raya and the Last Dragon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features score by Oscar®-nominated, Emmy® and Grammy®-winning composer James Newton Howard ("News of the World," "A Hidden Life").  The digital soundtrack also includes the new original song, "Lead the Way," written and performed by Grammy®-nominated artist and songwriter, Jhené Aiko.    Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Raya and the Last Dragon'' will be available on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets, at the same time as it is released in theaters on March 5, 2021. 

Commenting on his score, Newton Howard said, "Writing on 'Raya and the Last Dragon' was nothing but a joyful and creatively inspiring musical experience.  Working in animation is a truly collaborative process, and the directors, cast, and animators brought the characters to life in such a thrilling and dimensional way. I worked with them to create a musical world that was as vast and varied as the fictional world of Kumandra where our story is set. The directors' vision for the world was largely inspired by Southeast Asia and particularly Indonesian culture, so I wanted to look there first for inspiration and sounds to incorporate into my hybrid orchestral/synth palette. The issues of division and healing a fractured society that the film tackles are very meaningful today, and the deep core of the film allows for the music to have an equally strong emotional impact. I am excited for all to listen!"

"Lead the Way" is featured in the end credits and the track was produced by Julian-Quán Việt Lê (Lejkeys).  The music video for the track featuring Aiko is directed by one of  "Raya and the Last Dragon" directors, Carlos López Estrada, and will be released next month.

Aiko drew inspiration for the song from the theme of trust in the film, and says, "What I love about the song is that it's upbeat, it's fun, but it also has a message for the world, for everyone. A message that is very timely right now. The main themes are trust and taking the first step in trusting others and how we can get so much more accomplished when we really come together. It was an easy song to write because these are things that I truly believe in."

About... James Newton Howard is one of the film industry's most versatile and honored composers, with a career spanning over 30 years and encompassing more than 140 film and television projects. He is an eight-time Oscar® nominee, and Emmy® and GRAMMY® winner. Howard has also been honored with ASCAP's prestigious Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement and the BMI ICON Award.

As a record producer, arranger and songwriter, he has collaborated with some of pop's biggest names, including Elton John; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Barbra Streisand; Earth, Wind and Fire; Bob Seger; Rod Stewart; Toto; Glenn Frey; Diana Ross; Carly Simon; Olivia Newton-John; Randy Newman; Rickie Lee Jones; and Chaka Khan.

He has created the scores for a broad range of films, recently including "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," "Red Sparrow," "Roman J. Israel, Esq.," "Detroit," "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," "Concussion," "Nightcrawler" and "Maleficent."  He has collaborated extensively with directors M. Night Shyamalan and Francis Lawrence, having scored nine of Shyamalan's films since "The Sixth Sense" and all of Lawrence's films since "I Am Legend," including all four installments of "The Hunger Games" franchise.

Most recently, Howard scored the Paul Greengrass film, "News of the World" and upcoming film projects include Disney's "Jungle Cruise" and the third installment of the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise.

About Jhené Aiko... Six-time Grammy nominee Jhené Aiko has crowned a breakthrough year with three new Grammy nominations for her R&B masterpiece, Chilombo, including the prestigious 'Album Of The Year.' Chilombo was also nominated for an American Music Award for Best Soul/R&B female, two Soul Train Awards, and three NAACP Awards. Jhené's 2020 album Chilombo - now certified Platinum with seven gold and platinum singles - topped the Billboard R&B Chart at #1 not once but twice this year, and has garnered over 2 Billion streams worldwide. Chilombo made chart history as the biggest Billboard R&B debut from a female artist since Beyonce's Lemonade. Jhené is currently dominating urban and rhythm radio with her hit single "B.S." featuring H.E.R. and guest appearances on new singles from Big Sean, Ty Dolla $ign, and Saweetie.
"Raya and the Last Dragon" takes us on an exciting, epic journey to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it's up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she'll learn that it'll take more than a dragon to save the world-it's going to take trust and teamwork as well.  

"Raya and the Last Dragon" features an outstanding voice cast, including Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang, Thalia Tran, Alan Tudyk, Lucille Soong, Patti Harrison and Ross Butler. Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada are directing, with Paul Briggs and John Ripa co-directing. Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho are the producers, and Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim wrote the screenplay.

Jeremy [Six Strings]

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