Earlier this month ABKCO released “Speak Now,” a new single from Grammy® and Tony® winner Leslie Odom Jr. who portrays Sam Cooke in One Night In Miami. Today, an official music video for “Speak Now” has been launched featuring Odom in intimate performance of the song which he composed for One Night In Miami with Sam Ashworth. The “Speak Now” video was directed by Bill Fishman and Simon Reinhart who also served as editor, the shoot was produced by Joseph Abate.
The song is heard in the film that was released last week through Amazon Studios and has been the focus of massive critical laudation. Concurrent with the film’s premiere, ABKCO has released the album One Night In Miami… (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) which includes “Speak Now.”
The highly personal song is a reflection of Odom’s own point of view regarding the ongoing struggle for civil rights and human dignity and dovetails seamlessly with his performances in the film of some of the key components of Sam Cooke’s repertoire, most notably the enduringly evocative “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
In “Speak Now” Odom sings
I swear we’ll never find our way to where we’re going, all alone (on our own)
Don’t take your eyes off the road
Can you hear the bells ring out?
Can you hear the angels singin’ loud?
The singer/actor/composer commented, “The movie is so special to me. Sam Cooke is dear to us all. We tried to hide that in the song we wrote. In “Speak Now” we’ve called out to young people. It is an urgent call to action—to speak, 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.”
Odom 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. Late last year, he released The Christmas album, his second holiday album, which followed 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.”
Directed by Oscar® winner Regina King. One Night In Miami… was written for the screen by Kemp Powers, based on his Olivier-nominated 2013 stage play, the film is produced by Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment and Jody Klein of ABKCO Films with King and Powers serving as executive producers.
Set on the night of February 25, 1964, the story of One Night In Miami… follows a young Cassius Clay (shortly before he became Muhammad Ali) as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center as the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Against all odds, he defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world. While crowds of people swarm Miami Beach to celebrate the match, Clay – unable to stay on there because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws - instead spends the night at the Hampton House Motel in one of Miami’s historically black neighborhoods. It was there that he celebrated his win with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. The next morning, the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people. The ensemble cast consist of Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, Eli Goree as Cassius Clay, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown as well as Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke.