Classic songs from the Motown catalog form the basis of a new animated Netflix series set to debut November 20, and the soundtrack featuring this music will be available November 16 in CD and digital formats from Melodia/Motown Records.
Motown Magic, aimed at elementary-age children and adolescents 3-7, follows the successful Beat Bugs animated series created for Netflix by the same film maker, Joshua Wakely. Smokey Robinson is the new series’ executive music producer.
The soundtrack includes the theme song of Motown Magic, a new version of the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” performed by 11-year-old Zacary James from Canada’s Melisizwe Brothers. Also on the album are Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” as performed by NE-YO, and Smokey Robinson’s own, newly recorded versions of two songs he originally co-wrote and produced for the Temptations (“My Girl”) and Marvin Gaye (“I’ll Be Doggone”).
As a TV series, Motown Magic features original characters and a fantastical world in which “Ben,” a wide-eyed eight-year-old with a big heart and an amazing imagination, uses his magic paintbrush to bring the street art decorating his city – Motown – to life. Each 11-minute episode incorporates a plotline inspired by the themes and characters of a Motown song, and a fresh version of the song performed by a contemporary artist.
In addition, to Zacary James, NE-YO and Smokey Robinson, the artists who have covered songs for Motown Magic are Trombone Shorty (“Road Runner”), Becky G (“For Once In My Life”), BJ The Chicago Kid (“Living For The City”), Skylar Grey (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”), and Calum Scott (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”). The Motown Magic cast performs “Ben” (featuring Julia Stone), “He’s Misstra Know-It-All” (featuring Jacquez “Quizz” Swanigan), “The Tracks Of My Tears” (also featuring Swanigan) and “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”