Be Alive

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"Be Alive"
Beyoncé - Be Alive (King Richard).jpg
Single by Beyoncé
ReleasedNovember 12, 2021 (2021-11-12)
Length3:39
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Black Parade"
(2020)
"Be Alive"
(2021)
"Break My Soul"
(2022)

"Be Alive" is a song by American singer and songwriter Beyoncé. It was written and produced by Beyoncé and DIXSON for the 2021 biographical drama film King Richard. It was released on November 12, 2021, through Parkwood Entertainment.

The song received critical acclaim and is nominated for several awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Song, and the Academy Award for Best Original Song, becoming Beyoncé's first nomination for the latter. The song eventually won a Hollywood Critics Association Award for Best Original Song.[2]

Background and production[edit]

"Be Alive" was recorded by American singer and songwriter Beyoncé for the 2021 biographical drama film King Richard, which chronicles the story of Richard Williams (Will Smith) as he coaches his daughters, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams.[3][4]

Beyoncé decided to write a song for King Richard after attending a screening of the film and becoming inspired by Venus and Serena Williams. Will Smith commented on the song that "the marriage of a movie and a song is a kind of magic that's unmatched in entertainment".[5] Serena explained that "there was no other person who could do this song except for Beyoncé" and "there was just no doubt in [Beyoncé's] mind that it belonged to her as well". Serena noted how she and Venus have had a similar path to Beyoncé in their lives; all three trained since a young age to reach their goals, with both of their parents being highly involved in their careers.[6]

Beyoncé reached out to DIXSON and the two co-wrote the song in a collaborative process. DIXSON commented: "Obviously, we all know if Beyoncé sings, it's going to be amazing. But I don't think we talk about her ability as a songwriter and a producer enough. I knew she was one of my favorite songwriters, but it was confirmed for me through this process."[7]

Release and promotion[edit]

"Be Alive" plays during King Richard's end credits, which feature archival footage of the real Williams family.[3] The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2021, and is set for release on November 19, 2021.[8] The song was also premiered at the festival, to the surprise of attendees.[9] The song was greeted with cheers from the attendees of the film's premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.[10] On October 21, 2021, the "Official 'Be Alive' Trailer" of King Richard was released, which features a teaser of the song.[11][12] The teaser of the song was shared by the Williams sisters and Will Smith on social media.[13]

Beyoncé did not promote the song following its release, making no awards campaign stops.[14] Beyoncé later performed the song at the 94th Academy Awards.[15] Variety reported that Beyoncé was in talks to broadcast the performance live from the tennis courts in Compton where Venus and Serena practiced as children.[14] The performance was later uploaded on Beyonce's YouTube Channel.

Composition[edit]

The song has inspirational and empowering lyrics and recalls the journey that the Williams sisters have taken throughout their careers.[16][17][18] The lyrics include messages on black pride, sisterhood and family, which link to the themes of King Richard.[19][20] Musically, the song is a powerful ballad with a drum-heavy beat, guitar licks and grizzly bass.[5][19][21] Beyoncé's vocals are described as "epic", "powerful" and "soaring", and are backed by layered vocal harmonies.[22][23][13][24]

Critical reception[edit]

"Be Alive" received critical acclaim upon release.[25] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard described the release of "Be Alive" as "an event", lauding Beyoncé's "singular voice and lush harmonies" and the lyrics which "radiate pride and beauty as a celebration of Black art and culture".[26] Variety's Clayton Davis described the song as a "very uplifting" conclusion to King Richard, comparing it to the 2014 song "Glory" from Selma,[27] while Jazz Tangcay of the same publication described it as "a soaring ballad that fits like a glove on the movie".[28] Writing for Bustle, Hugh McIntyre described the track as "fantastic, modern and original", highlighting its "great composition, one that's solid and empowering in all the right ways".[29] Rachael O'Connor of Metro described the track as "an unmistakable Beyoncé anthem", praising her vocal performance and "powerful" lyricism.[30] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Glenn Whipp characterized the song as "an instantly engaging original number" and called it the highlight of the film's premiere.[31] Yohana Desta of Vanity Fair described the "anthemic" song as a "thumping, beautifully harmonized motivational number",[32] while Meryl Prendergast of Hot Press characterized it as a "heart-stopping" and "iconic anthem".[33]

"Be Alive" was nominated for Best Original Song at the 94th Academy Awards.[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Result Ref(s).
2021 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Song in a Feature Film Nominated [35]
2022 Academy Awards Best Original Song Nominated [34]
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Original Song Nominated [36]
Critics' Choice Awards Best Song Nominated [37]
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Nominated [38]
Hollywood Critics Association Awards Best Original Song Won [2]
Satellite Awards Best Original Song Nominated [39]
2023 Grammy Awards Best Song Written for Visual Media Pending [40]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "Be Alive"
Chart (2021) Peak
position
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[42] 36
South Africa (RISA)[43] 99

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Be Alive (Original Song from the Motion Picture "King Richard")". YouTube.
  2. ^ a b "The 5th Annual HCA Awards". Awardsdaily - The Oscars, the Films and everything in between. December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Feinberg, Scott (September 3, 2021). "Telluride Awards Analysis: 'King Richard' Catapults Will Smith to Front of Best Actor Race, with Across-the-Board Recognition Possible". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Zemler, Emily (September 6, 2021). "New Beyoncé Song to Appear in Will Smith's 'King Richard'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Andrea Towers (October 21, 2021). "Will Smith explains how 'King Richard' landed Beyoncé song 'Be Alive'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  6. ^ "Serena Williams Reveals Why Beyonce Got Involved in Will Smith's 'King Richard'". EssentiallySports. November 7, 2021. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  7. ^ "Dixson just earned an Oscar nod for his song with Beyoncé. He's still saying, 'Not yet'". Los Angeles Times. February 22, 2022. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  8. ^ Hammond, Pete (September 1, 2021). "Telluride Film Festival: Will Smith's 'King Richard', Peter Dinklage Musical 'Cyrano', Joaquin Phoenix In 'C'mon C'mon', Ken Branagh's 'Belfast' Set To Premiere". Deadline. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  9. ^ "Beyoncé's New Song In A Buzzy Venus & Serena Biopic Could Get Her An Oscar". Elite Daily. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  10. ^ Ntim, Zac. "Beyoncé's new song 'Be Alive' is one of the most emotional moments in the Venus and Serena Williams biopic 'King Richard'". Insider. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  11. ^ Legaspi, Althea (October 22, 2021). "Hear Beyoncé's New Song 'Be Alive' in Venus and Serena Williams' Biopic Trailer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  12. ^ Brockington, Ariana (October 21, 2021). "Beyonce's New Song "Be Alive" Teased in 'King Richard' Trailer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 24, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Beyoncé's New Song 'Be Alive' Teased in 'King Richard' Trailer: Watch". Billboard. October 21, 2021. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Donnelly, Matt (March 21, 2022). "Beyoncé in Talks to Perform on Oscars Telecast From Compton Tennis Courts (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  15. ^ "Beyoncé will perform live at the 2022 Oscars, singing 'Be Alive' from 'King Richard'". Los Angeles Times. March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  16. ^ Gonzales, Erica (October 21, 2021). "There's a New Beyoncé Song in the 'King Richard' Trailer". ELLE. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  17. ^ Moorwood, Victoria (October 21, 2021). "Hear a new Beyoncé song in the latest 'King Richard' trailer". REVOLT. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  18. ^ "Beyoncé Shares New Song "Be Alive" from Will Smith Movie 'King Richard'". American Songwriter. November 14, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Ntim, Zac. "Beyoncé's new song 'Be Alive' is one of the most emotional moments in the Venus and Serena Williams biopic 'King Richard'". Insider. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  20. ^ Akdag, Yas (November 18, 2021). "Listen to this: Beyoncé releases new song 'Be Alive'". Washington Square News. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  21. ^ Blistein, Jon (November 12, 2021). "Beyoncé Is Back With Her First New Song in Over a Year, 'Be Alive'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  22. ^ Aswad, Jem (October 21, 2021). "Beyonce Teases New Song, 'Be Alive,' in 'King Richard' Trailer". Variety. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  23. ^ Curto, Justin (October 21, 2021). "Beyoncé Lobs Her New Song 'Be Alive' Into the King Richard Trailer". Vulture. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  24. ^ "Preview Beyoncé's New Song "Be Alive" In The 'King Richard' Trailer". Stereogum. October 21, 2021. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  25. ^ Bahr, Sarah (February 8, 2022). "Beyoncé Scores Her First Oscar Nomination". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  26. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (November 12, 2021). "First Stream: New Music From Taylor Swift, Silk Sonic, Beyoncé and More". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  27. ^ Davis, Clayton (September 4, 2021). "With 'King Richard,' Will Smith Could Become Second Black Man to Be Oscar-Nominated for Acting and Producing". Variety. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  28. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (December 2, 2021). "Beyonce, Jay-Z, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ariana Grande All Vy For Best Original Song Consideration". Variety. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  29. ^ "Beyoncé's New Song "Be Alive" Is Attracting Buzz For Her First Oscar Nomination". Bustle. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  30. ^ O'Connor, Rachael (November 12, 2021). "Beyoncé has just dropped a brand new song and fans are freaking out". Metro. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "Will Smith just stole the Telluride Film Festival. And he could bring Beyoncé to the Oscars". Los Angeles Times. September 3, 2021. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  32. ^ "Beyoncé's Oscar Journey: Will 'King Richard' Finally Bring Her Gold?". Vanity Fair. November 18, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  33. ^ Prendergast, Meryl. "Beyoncé releases powerful new ballad 'Be Alive'". Hotpress. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  34. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (February 8, 2022). "Oscar Nominations: 'The Power Of The Dog', 'Dune' Top List; 'Drive My Car' Among Big Surprises". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  35. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (November 4, 2021). "Beyonce, Van Morrison, Hans Zimmer Receive Hollywood Music in Media Awards Nominations". Variety. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  36. ^ "The 2021 Black Reel Awards (BRAs) Nominations". Next Best Picture. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  37. ^ "It's Beyonce vs. Jay-Z for Best Original Song at 2022 Critics Choice Awards — Will It Be the Same With Oscars?". Billboard. December 13, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  38. ^ McIntyre, Hugh. "Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson And Billie Eilish Lead The 2022 Golden Globes' Music Categories". Forbes. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  39. ^ "Power of the Dog, Belfast Lead Nominations for IPA Satellite Awards". December 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  40. ^ "2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Nominees List". www.grammy.com. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  41. ^ "Beyoncé Surprises Fans With A New Song And Could Be Eligible For An Oscar". uk.style.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  42. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. November 22, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  43. ^ "Local & International Streaming Chart Top 100: Week 46". The Official South African Charts. Recording Industry of South Africa. Archived from the original on November 25, 2021. Retrieved November 26, 2021.