By Zach Johnson
Today, The Walt Disney Company launched the Reimagine Tomorrow digital destination, its first large-scale platform for amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories. The Reimagine Tomorrow endeavor builds on Disney’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The effort, announced to employees in 2020, reflects the actions and innovations Disney employees have taken across the Company to affect workplace representation, content, and the communities in which the Company operates.
As part of this fantastic endeavor, Disney approached three remarkable artists to put their own spin on “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” written by Disney Legends Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Watch each artist’s music video (below), and visit the Reimagine Tomorrow digital destination to get the inside scoop on their creative processes.
Originally from Chicago’s South Side, Bardo brings wildly diverse influences to his music, inspired by his Cape Verdean heritage and his time living all over the world, from Michigan to Italy, Spain, and Japan. “Living abroad did wonders for me in terms of being able to approach music from different angles,” he says. He continues to evolve his sound, studying classic soul, reggae, and more, aiming to craft classics of his own and give people music that just feels good: “I’ve had that type of exposure that allows me to weave those different elements in and out, make my music more interesting and feel more fresh.” Nowhere is that more evident than in his reimagining of “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” The original, released in 1964, is “a completely different style of music,” Bardo says. “It’s got a completely different bounce to it. One of the hardest parts was just rapping those lyrics, because those lyrics were not written with a rapper in mind; they were written to be sung.” Ultimately, Bardo was able to add both a “hip-hop twist” and a “Latin flair” to his rendition.
Caleigh Cardinal is the winner of the 2020 Juno Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year, one of many honors bestowed upon this self-described “soul-funk” songstress. She’s also a host on Alberta’s CKUA Radio Network and prioritizes using her visibility to pave the way for other indigenous artists. When Cardinal was asked to reimagine “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” she says she “couldn’t believe that it was really happening to me.” In fact, she says, “What’s been really great about this project is it’s led me to this place where I realize that not only am I enough, but that I’m doing the work that I need to do to make this world a better place for Indigenous people.” As such, Cardinal’s reimagining of the Sherman Brothers classic is reflective of her own journey. Her “hopeful” rendition has “a little bit of darkness,” she explains, “because the Indigenous experience hasn’t been easy.”
Hailing from San Francisco, Filipino-American Jeremy Passion is a self-taught musician who began playing piano at age 4 and was writing songs by the time he was 15. “I love R&B/Soul, so that’s kind of my niche,” Passion says. He has released two R&B songs on YouTube, “Lemonade” and “Well Done,” which now boast a combined 5 million-plus views.
“When I was first contacted about participating in Reimagine Tomorrow, the first thought that I had was, ‘Whoa,’” Passion says. “As an independent artist, as a Filipino-American, as an Asian-American, this is a really important project to be in.” After he first heard the Sherman brothers’ “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” Passion says he wondered how to “flip this classic big band showtune and still bring honor to the original song.” He conceptualized a beat, then added to the melody. All of a sudden, he says, “I saw colors—just straight-up colors—as I was creating this progression. I wanted it to feel like sunshine.”
Visit the Reimagine Tomorrow digital destination to go behind the scenes with each artist and to learn more about Disney’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.