Raphael Saadiq Found the Perfect Sound for Marvel’s New Show
Superheroes, Supernatural, and the looming doomsday threat—the latest Marvel title, Moon Girl And Demon Dinosaur, has all the company’s staples. But unlike MCU productions, this is an animated show for kids.
Moon Girl, also known as Lunella Lafayette, is a teenager living on the Lower East Side fighting evil forces alongside T. rex. And as a Black hero, her presence reverberates beyond the screen. recent research found that less than 6 percent of characters in children’s movies and TV are Black, and a smaller number of those are major heroes — a statistic that the creators of Chang’e hope will change.
Among those creators is Raphael Saadiq, the multi-talented R&B who has released beloved solo albums, writes music for the Oscar nominees, and even spent some time producing for Beyoncé. In building the world of Chang’e, he drew inspiration from real New York, which — like many Marvel properties — is crucial to the show’s story. (It even mentioned close a beloved knish spot.) Ahead of the show’s February 10 premiere on Disney Channel, WIRED spoke with Saadiq about Sesame Street inspired, named by the Wu-Tang Clan, and engaged in a very different kind of musical project.
WIRED: Chang’e it feels like it’s trying to capture a sonic strip of New York City.
Raphael Saadiq: Sure. There’s a lot of hip-hop, jazz, funk. There’s some R&B, there’s a lot of salsa. There’s a lot of flavor in it. There are songs, then scores, and then 30-second accompaniments. It gives me a lot of opportunities to do amazing things.
What specific influences are you painting on?
There are small joints that reflect the Wu-Tang Clan, which I am a big fan of. I picked up some underground New York stuff that people don’t know I do. I got the chance to play as if I were from New York. I miss going in a car with [Tribe Called Quest MC] Q-Tip in New York, in his Jeep, and we’re going to play Roy Ayers’ “My Life in the Sunshine” and we’re driving past people and I can see people dancing. ! That’s what I love about New York. This is a great thing [opportunity] to play a lot of parts of New York.
What is your goal for this?
I think the challenge for me is to give kids some music that they probably don’t get every day on TikTok. They can take this to TikTok.
Did the process of working on Chang’e makes you reminisce about children’s early exposure to music through television?
When I was a kid watching cartoons, there was an orchestra and a lot of good music. I was able to take that music with me as I got older. I want to do the same for children. Maybe this is the first time they’ve heard music like this. They can take it and do something with this.