A new animated series to inspire and nurture a love of music in young viewers, Motown Magic, will premiere exclusively on Netflix worldwide on Tuesday, November 20. Produced by Grace: a storytelling company and Beyond International Limited, the show is created by Josh Wakely, who brought the Emmy-winning Beat Bugs to screens. Motown music legend Smokey Robinson is Executive Music Producer.
“It’s always time to introduce the music of Motown to a new generation, and Josh Wakely has the creativity and the vision to entertain families all over the world,” said Robinson. “It’s exciting to see these timeless classics reimagined through extraordinary animation and heartfelt stories while still honoring the roots of the music.”
Motown Magic follows Ben, a wide-eyed eight-year-old with a big heart and an amazing imagination, who uses his magic paintbrush to bring the street-art decorating his city, Motown, to life. The series is composed of a diverse cast and crew, including 11-year-old singing sensation Zacary James (of the Melisizwe Brothers), who covers the show’s theme song, “ABC,” and famed beatboxer HeaveN BeatBox.
The show features 52 newly-recorded versions of songs made famous by Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and many more. Each 11-minute episode incorporates a plotline inspired by the themes and characters of a classic Motown song, and an original version of that song covered by contemporary artists including Ne-Yo, Becky G, BJ The Chicago Kid, Skylar Grey, Calum Scott, and Trombone Shorty.
A soundtrack will be released concurrently with the series launch on Melodia/Motown Records through Capitol Music Group.
“I was raised on the music of Motown, and always found it incredibly inspirational and culturally important,” said writer, director and creator Wakely. “With Motown Magic, my team and I have created stories that bring to life the world we’ve imagined while listening to these iconic songs in a way that families can enjoy together.”
The Motown music label issued dozens of worldwide hits over the decades, including “ABC,” “My Girl,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Superstition,” “Master Blaster,” “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” all featured in Motown Magic. For this series, Wakely secured rights to the Jobete Music Company and Stone Diamond publishing catalogs in an agreement with EMI Songs Australia Pty Limited.