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THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE

The Songs

As originally conceived, "Kingdom in the Sun" was to feature an ambitious song score written by Sting in collaboration with musician/composer David Hartley. An eager and tireless collaborator, Sting threw himself into the project and prodigiously wrote some outstanding story-telling songs for the film. As the script evolved and the story changed, many of Sting's original songs no longer had a place in the film. Sting rose to the challenge of writing for the new characters and wrote two new songs – "Perfect World" and "My Funny Friend and Me" – which are included in "The Emperor's New Groove."

Thomas Schumacher recalls, "When I first approached Sting about working on this film, we had a whole different movie in mind. And what has ended up in the film is different than what he began with, but it is sensational. We wanted to open the movie with a big, fun number that established the power of Kuzco and showed how he controlled the world. Sting wrote ‘Perfect World' to set up the title character and let the audience understand how over-the-top his own self-image is. It's very tongue in cheek and is sung by the Emperor's personal ‘theme song guy.' Tom Jones provided a fun performance that sets the tone for the film.

"The second song, ‘My Funny Friend and Me,' summarizes the relationship between Kuzco and Pacha. It really talks about the arc of the film. The melody recurs several times during the movie and becomes a wonderful theme. Sting has been fantastic to work with on this movie. He is so smart and cares so deeply about everything he's involved with."

Sting observes, "Disney films have always been in my life since I saw ‘Sleeping Beauty' and ‘The Jungle Book' and I was deeply flattered when they asked me to work on one of their animated films. To be asked to write songs for Disney characters meant that, if you did it successfully, those songs would become immortal and last for generations and generations. For years and years, children would know them and be singing them. That really appealed to me.

"For this project," he adds, "I decided to collaborate because I was writing an album for myself at the time and I didn't want to confuse what I normally do while working on the Disney project. David Hartley is a wonderful piano player that I have worked with in the past and he is very funny and has good ideas. I didn't want the songs to necessarily sound like Sting songs. I wanted them to be right for the characters and the collaboration helped me to do that."

"I've been a fan of Sting's since I was 17," Hartley says, "and barely a year or two before this all began, I'm in the Royal Albert Hall, watching his band, and thinking how much I envied Kenny Kirkland for playing in his band," says Hartley. "I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd end up doing what I'm doing now."

Primarily known as a musician, Hartley finds it ironic to be getting attention now, as a songwriter. "The last time I'd written any songs was when I was ten years old. So the first time that I've ever found myself writing songs of any description with another person is with Sting.... My jaw's still on the floor."

"It's been a three year journey and we've had our ups and downs," notes Sting. "I wrote six songs that did not get used because the story changed from a musical to a comedy. We lost a lot of good stuff in the process, but in the end, I was glad to have contributed something<

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