John Legend, Chris Cornell & Alicia Keys Featured on ’12 Years A Slave’ Soundtrack

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(Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

(Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

One of the biggest contenders to take home Oscar gold this year, 12 Years A Slave, is also getting a soundtrack crafted by John Legend, whose version of the slave song “Roll Jordan Roll” has been released as the first single — listen below.

12 Years A Slave is a stunningly powerful film,” Legend said in a press release issued by Columbia Records. “I was so moved when I saw it. I felt every minute of it and was so inspired to contribute to the music of the soundtrack. This album brings together some incredible artists from different places and different genres who have all been touched by the film. When artists are inspired by great art, it makes us want to create. This album is the result of that inspiration.”

The original soundtrack will feature 16 tracks characterized as “songs of freedom,” all inspired by the true story of Soloman Northup. Northup–played by Chiwetel Ejiofo in the film–was a free man in upstate New York, before the Civil War, who was abducted and sold into slavery. (Watch the trailer below.)

The soundtrack promises an all-star list of performers, including tracks from Alicia Keys, Gary Clark, Jr., Laura Mvula and Chris Cornell in a duet with the Civil Wars’ Joy Williams.

RELATED: New Music To Know: Laura Mvula’s Unexpected World Of ‘Orchestral Soul’

“I was moved by this film and the story in a way that transcends any film experience I have ever had,” Cornell said. “I was inspired to write a hundred different songs, but finally landed on one based on what I believe is an extremely important message I took from this man’s journey. Compassion, basic human rights and love must be our priorities above race, religion or commerce. Every generation needs a reminder of that simple idea.”

Also contributing to the soundtrack are multiple GRAMMY nominees, the Alabama Shakes. Singer Brittany Howard gave some insight into why they selected the particular track they interpret on the album.

“We chose a song called ‘Driva’ Man,'” said Howard. “It is a sparse, brooding, slow-swinging jazz number. There is no lightness in the music of ‘Driva’ Man’ because there is no mention of freedom in this song. The focus of the track is about an enslaved person reaching ‘quittin’ time’ while also trying to please the overseer to avoid getting beaten. After we watched 12 Years A Slave in our hometown of Athens, Alabama, we stumbled across this song a week later. It is a very simple song which is why we chose it to contribute to the soundtrack. The two works, for a moment, take the audience into another time and place where you can imagine being denied your freedom. After which, one’s own freedom can be better appreciated.”

The full track list for the soundtrack is below. It will be available digitally for purchase on November 5.

!2 Years a Slave Soundtrack Tracklisting

1. Tim Fain “Devil’s Dream”
2. John Legend “Roll Jordan Roll”
3. Gary Clark Jr. “Freight Train”
4. Tim Fain and Caitlin Sullivan “Yarney’s Waltz”
5. Alabama Shakes “Driva Man”
6. David Hughey and Roosevelt Credit “My Lord Sunshine (Sunrise)”
7. John Legend feat. Fink “Move”
8. Hans Zimmer “Washington”
9. Gary Clark Jr. “(In The Evening) When The Sun Goes Down”
10. Alicia Keys “Queen Of The Field (Patsey’s Song)”
11. Hans Zimmer “Solomon”
12. Laura Mvula “Little Girl Blue”
13. Chris Cornell feat. Joy Williams “Misery Chain”
14. Topsy Chapman feat. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cast “Roll Jordan Roll”
15. Tim Fain “Money Musk”
16. Cody Chesnutt “What Does Freedom Mean (To A Free Man)”

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