Jhené Aiko lends her voice to the soundtrack to Raya and the Last Dragon.
“Lead the Way” was written by Jhené and Oscar-nominated composer James Newton-Howard, and appears in the end credits to Disney’s upcoming animated film. With its uplifting message, Jhené delivers a magical theme song to accompany the epic adventure.
Jhené, who considers herself a “Disney kid,” jumped at the opportunity. “The number one thing was I heard dragon, and I love dragons. I have a big dragon tattoo on my back. I was born in ’88, which is the year of the dragon. And I just think it’s a beautiful, mystical creature that is just so many things, symbolizes so many things for me, personally,” she told Apple Music. “I’ve always had this little fantasy of being a Disney princess, voicing one, or like being the character. And so this was the closest that I’ve gotten, so I was pretty excited.”
She was given creative freedom to make a song that embodies the film. “I wanted to make Disney proud, because I grew up on Disney,” she added. “And yeah, it’s special. Where I live right now, they’re just put up a big billboard for the movie. So I was just like, ‘Look at that. Look at life.’ Just happy.”
The music video, directed by Raya and the Last Dragon director Carlos López Estrada, will be released next month. Meanwhile, Jhené is nominated for three Grammys including Album of the Year and Best Progressive R&B Album for Chilombo at the Grammys, which will air on March 14.
Raya and the Last Dragon will be available on Disney+ and in theaters on March 5.