ABC RadioJohn Legend and his Get Lifted production company are executive producing the new historical drama Underground, with John overseeing music for the series which premieres tonight, March 9. Legend tells ABC Radio that he worked closely with the show creators, Joe Pokaski and Misha Green, in curating the best soundtrack for the 10-episode series focusing on slaves planning a daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation.
“From the beginning, the creators of the show, we talked about what the vision for the music was going to be and how to bring the music to the screen in a way that really amplified the action that was happening on the screen,” says Legend, who also worked on the music with soul veteran Raphael Saadiq. “We wanted it to be energetic, wanted it to feel urgent and we wanted it to not feel like it was stuck in a museum. So it wasn’t just negro spirituals and music of that time, we put modern music in there to add that energy and that depth to it and to connect it to today’s audience.”
John hopes fans can appreciate the narrative of the series. “I think these stories are universal and timeless, so they don’t have to feel like they just apply to a certain era,” he says, “nd so we wanted the music to feel that way too.”
Legend reveals Kanye West‘s “Black Skinheads” serves as the opener. “Yeah, his song is the opening song in the very first scene that you see in the show and it really sets the tone for the kind of energy the show has.”
So who else did Legend include? “Oh quite a few, we got FKA Twigs in there, The Weeknd, it’s a lot of cool, interesting modern artists,” he says.
Underground premieres Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on WGN America.
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