Ahead of the soundtrack arriving on January 15, actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. gets soulful on the single “Speak Now” from the film, One Night In Miami.
The original song was written for the historical drama (and Regina King’s directorial debut) in which Odom plays the iconic soul singer Sam Cooke on the night in which he celebrated Cassius Clay’s win against Sonny Liston alongside the boxer (who’d become Muhammad Ali), activist Malcolm X, and football star Jim Brown.
Along with the Best Original Song contender, the One Night In Miami soundtrack also boasts key compositions of Cooke’s catalog, including the masterpiece “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
“The movie is so special to me. Sam Cooke is dear to us all. We tried to hide that in the song we wrote,” Odom shared in a statement.
“In ‘Speak Now’ we’ve called out to young people. It is an urgent call to action – to speak – set alongside our urging them to first listen. Listen…and then speak. We listen for instruction, for inspiration. Malcolm left them for us. Sam left them. So Sam Ashworth and I listened to them all. And then we wrote.”
Odom also told Entertainment Weekly last year that the film’s producers “were always very interested in whomever was cast as Sam [being] the person that would write the song for the movie. That they would take that experience of Sam and then [write a song]. Because the task was so great, we wrote four different songs.”
Odom first rose to prominence originating the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical Hamilton for which he took home the Best Actor Tony and Grammy Awards. He recently released The Christmas Album, his second holiday album, which follows the release of Mr, his third album and first of all-original material.
Odom can also be heard voicing the character of Owen Tillerman in the Apple TV+ animated musical comedy series Central Park, a role which earned him an Emmy nomination.
Regarding his role in One Night In Miami…, Odom commented “Playing Sam Cooke was some big shoes to fill. It was a challenge and an honor. I have such respect and admiration and awe for his talent and what he was able to achieve.”