(Photo: Courtesy Walt Disney Records)
As remixes go Disney is putting a hip hop/R&B/gospel spin on a timeless storybook tale with the forthcoming premiere of The Disney Channel Original Movie, Let It Shine. The story, a modern day, hip hop inspired rendition of the classic 19th century love tale Cyrano de Bergerac, stars Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) as Cyrus and Coco Jones (Disney's Next Big Thing) as Roxanne.
The family film focuses on a shy but talented teen (Williams) who pens rap songs for a girl he has a crush on, only to use his friend (Trevor Jackson as Kris McDuffy) to deliver his words.
"I'm playing the role of Cyrus and I'm doing a lot of the more lyrical stuff actually," Williams says, which is a departure from his usual non-musical roles. "For me it's just about good projects. If there are good projects coming out of them, then I will definitely do them but I'm definitely open to everything."
As Cyrus the lyrical genius, Tyler steps out as an MC for the first time as he vies for the attention of Roxie and battles other rappers. Williams is credited on eight of the original songs on the film's wide-ranging soundtrack of soul, hip hop, R&B and gospel-inspired songs. Debuting on Radio Disney on June 9, the soundtrack also features contributions from big name producers and artists like David Banner.
"I wanna be the greatest in the world/ Not for the money or the fame or the girls/Not for the jet skis or the vacations in the West Indies," raps Williams in "Guardian Angel," the first single from the soundtrack. A video for the song released earlier this month also features the fresh-faced Jones in her role of Roxie. Jones showcases her talent on six of the songs on the soundtrack.
"She sings, she dances, she raps. She's sort of like a Nicki Minaj but not quite," Jones says of her character, who she says reminds her a lot of herself as an artist in real life. The young starlet, who came into the Disney family as a featured artist in season three of Radio Disney's N.B.T. (Next Best Thing), a musical talent showcase competition, released her self-titled debut album in 2010 and describes her sound as "sort of like Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Nicki Minaj but in one."
However, keeping in step with her values of strong self-esteem and morals, Jones acknowledges that she has a lot of young eyes and ears watching her. "I'm definitely going to be a good example for them," she says. "One way that I plan on doing that is just being myself and I'm not one of those crazy girls I'm not wearing my skirts too high or anything."
Be on the look out for Let it Shine, debuting on the Disney Channel on June 15, and the accompanying soundtrack which will be available nationwide on June 12 on iTunes and wherever else music is sold.
Listen to an exclusive premiere of "Joyful Noise," one of the featured tracks from the soundtrack album.
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