COULD BEYONCÉ’S LION KING ALBUM ‘OPEN THE GATEWAY’ FOR AFRICAN ARTISTS IN THE US?
Artists and producers involved in the album believe it will be a major boost for their international footprint — especially in America, the world’s biggest music market, which has been far less welcoming to African artists than the U.K. or France. “There have been samples [of African music in American pop] here and there, things like Drake and Wizkid collaborating [on ‘One Dance’],” says Guilty Beatz, the Ghanian producer who worked on three different tracks from The Gift. “But it’s just been little things. Now that Beyoncé released a whole album, this will open the gateway.”
Word of The Gift started to spread in the music industry at the end of spring. “Mid-may we started hearing rumblings of Beyoncé working on a Lion King project,” says James Supreme, an A&R at Universal Music Publishing Group. “One of our colleagues, Ari Gelaw, has a great relationship with Beyoncé‘s A&R, Mariel Gomerez. We reached out, and Mariel opened her arms.”
words by: Elias Leight