The song is an ode to the late Chadwick Boseman and is her first as a lead artist in six years.
Navy, the wait is over. The long-awaited music of Rihanna is finally here to cheer us all up.
The song “Lift Me Up,” the lead singer’s first in six years, was made available as part of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack on Friday. The unvarnished, heartbreaking song, which was co-written by Rihanna, Tems, Ludwig Goransson, and the movie’s director.
Ryan Cooler, honors the late Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in 2020, as well as his life and legacy. Autumn Durald Arkapaw’s accompanying music video for the single, which Rihanna released on Friday in the afternoon.
She sings in the track, which is a simple affair supported by piano, strings, and harp. “Lift me up / Hold me down / Keep me close / Safe and sound,” it says. At the halfway point of the song, a choir enters to support her soft vocals. For Rihanna, who has gained notoriety primarily for her sensual, rebellious dance-pop bangers, its simplicity is striking.
Tems, a Grammy-nominated Nigerian singer-songwriter, said in a press release that Coogler and she had a heartfelt conversation that served as the inspiration for “Lift Me Up.”
She said, “I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song.
“I made an effort to picture how it would feel to sing to them right now and let them know how much I miss them. Hearing Rihanna performs this song is a great honor for me because she has been an inspiration to me.”
On the purple carpet for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Wednesday, director Ryan Coogler discussed the motivation behind the creative team’s decision to approach Rihanna about contributing to the soundtrack. The album’s lead single, “Lift Me Up,” and the upcoming “Born Again” are the only two songs the singer is releasing.
Coogler told The Hollywood Reporter, “When we realized what this movie was going to be about, we were looking for artists who can embody it thematically. “With the movie, we adopted a different musical strategy. We wanted to make the movie with real songs that were incorporated into the score throughout, including myself and our composer Ludwig Göransson.”
The director said they were able to “thread the needle” with Kendrick Lamar on the soundtrack of the first movie, but they were looking for a new musician whose overarching message felt compatible with the follow-up.
He continued, “Rihanna was at the top of that list. “We were holding out hope that maybe it could work out and, boy, did it,” she said. “We knew she was at a point in her life as well where she was focusing on different things — you know, focusing on business, motherhood, which is a big theme in our film.”
In addition to ruling the Billboard charts, Rihanna is a thriving businesswoman who recently became a mother after giving birth to her son with boyfriend A$AP Rocky back in May.
Earlier this month, Angela Bassett revealed in an interview with EW that her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever character, Queen Ramonda, would have to manage to rule a country while also lamenting the death of her son T’Challa, who was portrayed by Boseman in the first movie.
At the time, Bassett said, “She is the queen of Wakanda, the most powerful, most advanced country in the world, but she is also a mother.” “As she copes with the loss of her son and king, she juggles trying to protect her country from threats, guide her people, and raise her daughter. She has a lot on her plate.”
Since the 2016 Star Trek Beyond song “Sledgehammer,” Rihanna hasn’t released a brand-new solo song until “Lift Me Up.” Since then, she has worked with artists like PartyNextDoor, Future, Kendrick Lamar, and DJ Khaled on songs like “Wild Thoughts,” “Loyalty,” and “Selfish” (“Believe It”). 2016’s Anti is her most recent studio album.
One week prior to the movie’s Nov. 11 release, on Nov. 4, the soundtrack for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be available.
Watch the video for “Lift Me Up” and listen to the song.