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Brandi Carlile Records Theme Song for Pixar Pic ‘Onward’

The brother-themed film has two sets of brothers involved in the music: Carlile's co-writers Phil and Tim Hanseroth, and the scoring team of Mychael and Jeff Danna.

Brandi Carlile arrives at the 62nd
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Just a few days after the trophy for best original song was given out at the Oscars comes news of the first significant new original song of this movie year. The end-titles theme for the upcoming Pixar film “Onward” has been recorded and co-written by multiple Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, Disney announced Wednesday.

The song will be released simultaneously with the full soundtrack, out digitally Feb. 28 in advance of the film’s bow in theaters March 6.

Carlile’s announcement of the new song on her social media got responses from some famous friends. “Hello OSCAR,” wrote Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. “Come and join the club!” responded Bernie Taupin, who won the Academy Award three nights earlier for co-writing Elton John’s “I’m Gonna Love Me Again.”

Carlile co-wrote “Carried Me With You” with the co-writers of most of her material, bandmates Phil and Tim Hanseroth. The trio just picked up a Grammy last month for co-writing Tanya Tucker’s “Bring My Flowers Now,” which won for country song of the year. It was the fifth Grammy in two years for Carlile and the third for the Hanseroth brothers.

“‘Carried Me With You’ is a song about not taking love for granted — accepting love even when you don’t feel like you deserve it,” Carlile said in a statement. “It’s absolutely wonderful to be a part of a Pixar film. I can’t wait for my little girls to see it. It’ll no doubt have all the wonder, imagination and creative life lessons our family has come to love about Pixar films.”

The digital soundtrack album will include the orchestral score by another set of brothers, Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna.

It may be strictly coincidental that two pairs of brothers are involved in the music for “Onward,” but the film itself is about siblings — elfin siblings (voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) — as they try to invoke magic to spend one last day with their late father.

“It’s weirdly and uncannily personal for us,” Mychael Danna said in a statement, adding that when director Dan Scanlon related the film’s story about familial loss, “the hairs went up on the back of my neck. The whole story: father is an accountant and dies when the brothers are young, and how the relationship of the brothers is affected. In our case we were 19 and 13. … As a composer,” he said, “there was no problem accessing all the personal emotion we have about this story.”

The Dannas’ score was recorded with a 92-piece orchestra but also makes use of more obscure folk and early-music instruments.

This is Carlile’s first film assignment, although she expressed her love of movie music when she and Shooter Jennings recorded a cover of Limahl’s theme for “The Never Ending Story” several years ago.

The Danna brothers have worked in film individually and collectively, with their joint efforts including last year’s “Addams Family.” Mychael Danna won the original score Oscar for “Life of Pi.”