The trailer for the upcoming remake of the 1976 musical drama Sparkle (which stars Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston) features a few promising snippets of the movie’s music, including bits of “Hooked on Your Love” and “Something He Can Feel,” which Aretha Franklin sang on the original film’s Curtis Mayfield-produced soundtrack. Intrigued? We talked to Sparks and Sparkle director Salim Akil about what to expect from the soundtrack.
–The film will include new versions of most of the original songs, including “Something He Can Feel” (which En Vogue scored a hit with in the early ’90s), “Look Into Your Heart,” and “Jump.” But not the classic title track? “No, not the song ‘Sparkle,'” says Sparks. “Which actually could change, because we’re still working on getting songs on the soundtrack. That could be a possiblilty. I was wondering about that too! I’m actually meeting with people who are working on the soundtrack today. You know what, I’m going to mention that.”
–In addition to some arranging work, R. Kelly wrote two brand-new songs for the movie. “They’re just phenomenal,” says Sparks. “I remember them playing the demo for me and R. Kelly is singing them and I’m looking at everybody going, ‘I get to sing this song? Are you serious?’ I was very excited. My fans are going to see a different side of me, because it’s deep R&B. It’s got that old ’60s flair. It’s just really emotional and super connected.”
–One of the R. Kelly songs, “Celebrate,” is a duet between Sparks and Houston. “It’s just an upbeat, fun song with two women who can really blow,” says Akil. “It’s just one of those kind of songs. There’s no other way to put it. You’ve got two strong women who can sing their asses off. It’s upbeat and they’re trading off like Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley.” Sparks, who got to know Houston on set, is also excited about the duet. “I actually just heard a cut of it the other day and my jaw was on the floor,” she says. “For me as a singer growing up listening to her, to be able to do a song with her is incredible. And being her friend, just hearing how she sounded, it was amazing. So I can’t wait for people to hear that. I cannot wait.”
For more on Sparkle, check out our Summer Movie Preview, on newsstands April 13.