The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual roundtable is here and it’s featuring some of the best songwriters of the year.
Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., and Justin Timberlake virtually united and discussed the songs they composed for films and how they found inspiration through a pandemic.
With a crazy 2020, Blige, who wrote “See What You’ve Done” for the doc “Belly Of The Beast”, admits the year taught her “just how to be patient.”
“And 2021 is teaching me the same thing. There’s nothing you can do about COVID, about quarantining, the whole thing. So it’s just really put me in a place where I appreciate every single thing that I have. And the things I don’t have, I’m not worried about,” she continued. “We took for granted the time we had and we [were] just moving, moving, moving, not spending time with our families, not spending time with ourselves. And just giving myself a lot of time and just being patient and just letting life be life. That’s what it’s done for me.”
Timberlake agreed: “This time has shown us we have to appreciate our loved ones, keep our families close, shower them with love and receive their love. I think the result of us not moving around so much was helping us realize how important that was for us.”
The singer added, “And I am optimistic for 2021.” Timberlake is earning rave reviews for his track “Just Sing”, which he wrote for the hit animated film, “Trolls World Tour”.
“For me, being present has been a huge focus,” Monáe chimed in. “And I started the year off, no phone, no texting, no social media. The best thing I did was find somebody who could run my accounts because it’s so important.
“When I’m present, I’m at my most creative. When I’m present, I can give the most sound advice to myself and others.”
Monáe penned the emotional turn “Turntables” for the voting rights documentary “All In: The Fight For Democracy”.
Odom Jr., who co-wrote “Speak Now” for Regina King’s “One Night In Miami” (in which he also stars), also revealed where he found inspiration: “I believe inspiration comes from the divine. It comes from somewhere else.
“That’s why I always think that the easiest parts of any project — I speak for myself — are the beginning and the end, because the beginning, I’m only starting something because I was inspired to begin.”
Legend adds, “I am optimistic for 2021. I know that we’ve gotten off to a bumpy start, but I really do believe things are going to get better, because a lot of people have worked really hard to make change happen.
“We’ve seen the results of that in November, in January, and that has not borne fruit yet with the change in the conditions that we need. But I think we’re setting ourselves on the right path as a country and as a society to get better, to learn from our mistakes and to grow from them. I believe that good things are around the corner.
The Oscar winner penned “Never Break” for the Netflix documentary “Giving Voice”.
Read more from the songwriters here.