Kamasi Washington scores new Michelle Obama documentary Becoming

Netflix has premiered its new documentary Becoming, which follows Michelle Obama on her recent book tour and features a musical score by saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

Now streaming, the film is based on the former First Lady’s bestselling 2018 memoir Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice.

The soundtrack by Washington is a mix of new and existing compositions, released on May 15 via Young Turks. CD and vinyl copies are available to pre-order.

“Working with Kamasi Washington on the musical score for Becoming was a dream come true,” director Nadia Hallgren said in a press release. “Not only is Kamasi a masterful musician, he also has a unique sensitivity that he pours into his music. His music reaches deeply into your soul. Mrs. Obama loves music, and when I read the line in her book, ‘And heaven, as I envisioned it, had to be a place full of jazz,’ I knew immediately Kamasi was the artist that could interpret her experience musically. His sound is contemporary and timeless, a magical fit to her story.”

Washington said in a statement that it was a “pleasure and honour” to work on the documentary, adding: “Michelle Obama is such an amazing person and this film gives a very unique insight to who she is, how she thinks, and the way she navigates the world. It’s truly inspiring to see. Working with the film’s incredible director Nadia Hallgren to create a musical palette to support this amazing piece was truly a blessing.”

The soundtrack follows Washington’s critically acclaimed double album Heaven and Earth, released in 2018 along with a companion EP called The Choice.