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Let It Shine: A Modern-Day Cinderella Story – Music Romance and Drama

Let It Shine: A Modern-Day Cinderella Story

In the world of music industry, the ability to create, perform, and produce original songs sets one apart from the crowd. That is the story of Let It Shine, a 2012 musical drama Disney film directed by Paul Hoen and written by Eric Daniel and Don D.

Scott. This article will provide an in-depth look into the movies storyline, characters, and musical performances.

Plot Summary

Let It Shine tells the story of a talented young musician and songwriter named Cyrus, played by Tyler James Williams. He struggles to get his music heard beyond his church community even though his peers and older sister believe in his talent.

Cyrus has a crush on a beautiful girl in his community, named Roxanne, played by Coco Jones. But he lacks the courage to express his feelings for her, which drives him to create a persona to do the talking for him named Truth (Brandon Mychal Smith).

The story unfolds as Cyrus friend Kris (Trevor Jackson) enters them into a national songwriting contest hosted by Cyrus idol, the famous rapper Lord of Da Bling (Algee Smith). However, things take an unexpected turn when Cyrus lyrics are stolen by Kris unscrupulous rapper cousin, Bling (played by Tyler James Williams in an impressive dual role).

The film tackles essential themes like identity, self-discovery, and honesty with a sprinkle of romance, humor, drama, and of course, music.

Character Analysis

The cast of Let It Shine is impressive, and each character brings a unique perspective to the story. Tyler James Williams delivers an exceptional performance as Cyrus, and his portrayal of the timid gospel rapper and brave rap artiste demonstrates his range as an actor.

Coco Jones as Roxanne brings grace and beauty to the screen and sings in a way that moves the heart. Brandon Mychal Smiths portrayal of Truth, a confident rap persona, has a magnetic presence on screen.

Lord of Da Bling is played by Algee Smith, who gives an outstanding performance as the famous rapper and judges the songwriting competition with a harsh but honest critique of the contestants.

Musical Performances

The music is what makes Let It Shine stand out, and the movie features a mix of gospel, rap and R&B hits, written by stars like Beyonc, Marvin Sapp, and Kirk Franklin. The song Dont Run Away, performed by Coco Jones, is the backbone of the movie and one of the highlights of the film.

The song is a soulful ballad that deals with topics like forgiveness, regret, and love. Its haunting melody will have audiences humming it long after the movie is over.

Another standout performance is Let It Shine, which features Tyler James Williams, Coco Jones, and Brandon Mychal Smith. The song encourages people to overcome fear, letting their inner light shine through and be proud of who they are.


Let It Shine has something for everyone, and its messages are vital, especially for young audiences. It encourages them to be confident in themselves, following their dreams, and not to be afraid to let their light shine.

The music in this movie is catchy and will make you tap your feet and sing along. It is worth watching and re-watching if you’re a fan of music, romance, and drama.

Let It Shine is available to stream on Disney+. Let It Shine: A Modern-Day Cinderella Story Plot Analysis

The plot of Let It Shine is a modern-day twist on the classic Cinderella story.

In this case, the fairy godmother is replaced by the power of music and technology. The movie shows how music has the power to transform individual lives and change the world.

The film is set in Atlanta, the birthplace of hip-hop, and where gospel music has deep roots. The location of the movie is significant as it sets the stage for Cyrus, a teenage boy who has a remarkable talent for gospel music but is struggling to gain the recognition he deserves.

The movie’s opening sequence establishes the gospel atmosphere of the environment and introduces the characters of Cyrus, Roxanne and Cyrus best friend Kris. The first few minutes of the movie also illustrate a budding romance between Cyrus and Roxanne.

She is a confident girl who has a passion for music and performs at various events. Cyrus, meanwhile, is hesitant and lacks confidence, preferring to keep his music in the church community.

This internal conflict becomes more prominent when he learns about a national songwriting competition, Shine, hosted by his idol, Lord of Da Bling. Despite the pressure from his family and friends to participate, Cyrus initially declines.

In the movies central conflict, Cyrus struggles with issues regarding identity and self-doubt, with his alter-ego Truth existing as an outlet for his true self. The turning point of the story happens when Cyrus realizes his lyrics and music had been stolen, and the rap performance by Kris and Bling at the finals of the Shine competition were the product of deception.

This betrayal leads Cyrus to take the stage as Truth himself and show the world who wrote the original song. This finale scene is the keystone of the movie’s themes as Cyrus shines brightly, performing as himself and showing the world his authentic self without fear or doubt.

The narrative shows how the transformative power of music allows Cyrus to overcome his inhibitions and insecurities, reconciling with Roxanne and starting a relationship as his real self. The climax of the film is a rap battle between Cyrus and Bling, which plays out with Truth winding up the audience with the opening verses.

The verses are sharp, reflecting Cyrus feelings of frustration, and anger at being stolen from. The fiery performance reaches a crescendo with Dont Run Away, which reflects truths resolve to reclaim himself and his identity.

The musical score of Let It Shine is one of its strengths. The film has a mix of genres, including gospel, hip-hop, R&B, ballads, and rap music.

Each tune mirrors different phases of the characters emotions, serving as a metaphorical representation of their journeys. The musical performances in the movie are visually striking, with expert choreography and impressive cinematography.

The gospel choir scenes, in particular, are breathtaking and unparalleled when it comes to on-screen musical moments. In conclusion, Let It Shine is a musical drama that captures the essence of gospel music culture and hip-hop youth culture interact.

The movie explores themes like self-doubt, authenticity, honesty, and the transformative power of music. The modern-day twist gives a fun and refreshing take to the classic fairytale with a relatable and vibrant cast that audiences can connect with on a personal level.

Let It Shine is a family-friendly film that offers an excellent option for a night-in, leaving viewers humming the melodies long after the credits roll. Let It Shine: A Modern-Day Cinderella Story Production Design

Let It Shine’s director, Paul Hoen, and production designer, Mark Hofeling, created an immersive world where the music, setting, and costumes were essential elements to enhance the story’s emotions and themes.

Production design is a significant factor in the overall success of a movie, and in Let It Shine, it serves to create mood and atmosphere. The movie was filmed on location in Georgia, with the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods serving as the backdrop for most of the scenes.

The locations chosen for the film are appropriate for different settings and styles, with various locations used to represent the world of music and the world of religion. The production design of Let It Shine was responsible for creating a particular tone and ambiance that matches the themes and storyline.

The use of colors, props and costumes, lighting, and camera placement were all elements of production design that helped to shape the story and the characters. For example, Cyrus’s home is decorated in a way that reflects his family’s religious background, with religious art and images present in many rooms.

The church and the community around the church are depicted with a more muted color palette, and the costumes are more traditional and conservative. However, the Shine competition stage and the street dance scenes are given a more colorful, vibrant, and extravagant treatment, with flashy costumes and neon lighting.

The contrast reflects the differences between the traditional world of gospel music and the more contemporary world of hip-hop. The Shine competition itself serves as a showcase for the impressive and immersive staging and production design.

The set designs are created in a way that highlights the importance of the music and the performers. The musical numbers feature expert choreography and camera placement, to capture the energy of the performances fully.

From the dynamic opening chorus to the epic finale performances, the Shine competition scene is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the movie. The costumes chosen for the film enhance the characters’ personalities and align with their different socio-cultural backgrounds and motivations.

The costumes range from simple clothing to extravagant outfits that reflect the status of each performer. For instance, Cyrus’s sister and his mother’s costumes are conservative, reflecting their passion for the church and religion.

Roxanne’s wardrobe is more contemporary and stylish, reflecting her modern outlook and love of music. The transformation of Cyrus’s alter-ego, Truth, from simple clothing to flashy outfits after he gains confidence, reflects how the power of music can embolden and free ones inner self.

The film’s music production is another essential aspect of the production design, which enhances the movie’s themes and story. The music features a blend of gospel music, rap, hip-hop, and R&B ballads, with lyrics that reflect the various characters’ inner struggles and emotions.

In conclusion, Let It Shine is a movie whose production design significantly contributes to the immersive world created by the director and designer. The costumes, lighting, set design, and camera placement work together to create an experience that is vibrant, emotional, and engaging.

The movie does an excellent job of contrasting the traditional world of gospel music and the modern world of hip-hop music, with vibrant scenes and a brilliant score. Overall, the production design of Let It Shine reflects the different perspectives of the characters and contributes significantly to the movie’s overall success.

Let It Shine: A Modern-Day Cinderella Story Release and Reception

Let It Shine was released on June 15, 2012, on the Disney Channel, and it received a positive reception from audiences for its message of self-discovery and musical performances. The movie was accompanied by a soundtrack release, which included all the featured songs from the movie.

The soundtrack features songs written by popular songwriters such as Bonnie Greenberg, Toby Gad, and Lindy Robbins, and produced by well-known producers, including Toby Gad and Antonina Armato. The soundtracks commercial performance was impressive, reaching the number 29 spots on the US Billboard 200 and number 11 on the US Top Soundtracks Chart.

The movie’s release helped its main cast, Tyler James Williams, Trevor Jackson, and Coco Jones, gain popularity and recognition in the film and music industry. The stars appeared on various magazine covers, TV shows, and interviews to promote the film and its soundtrack.

The reception of Let It Shine was generally positive, with audiences commending the film’s positive message and the ability to mix the worlds of gospel and hip-hop. Critics also praised the film’s musical score, costume design, and production design.

The movie’s opening night garnered a 3.1 million viewer rating, which was one of the highest viewership ratings for a Disney Channel movie at the time. One of the reasons behind the movie’s success was its ability to resonate with a teenage audience and tackle concepts that teenagers face regularly.

It conveyed the importance of staying true to one’s self while pursuing your dreams, the significance of friendship and family, and fostered hope in its audience to push beyond their fears and doubts. Furthermore, the film was lauded for its ability to introduce young audiences to gospel music and its principal figures while combining it with a genre more familiar to the same audience.

This fusion of genres opened up a more extensive fan base for both gospel and hip-hop, effectively introducing the new contemporary gospel sound. Let It Shines popularity led to the revival of the Disney Channel Original Movies programming format.

The “Disney Channel Original Movies” had not been in active production since 2008 and helped to boost the channel’s ratings leading many studios to emulate in creating similar musical ventures. In conclusion, Let It Shine’s reception by audiences, critics, and pundits is deemed a success and an affirmation of the relevance of gospel music and its proponents in modern society.

It also served as a platform for young talents to gain exposure and promotion across the globe. The movie is a testament that great music, relatable themes, and a compelling storyline resonates with audiences across the world, regardless of ethnicity and faith.

It remains a timeless classic for generations to come. Let It Shine: A Modern-Day Cinderella Story Soundtrack Review

While Let It Shine is a feel-good, coming-of-age movie, it is the accompanying soundtrack that takes the audience on a musical journey that reflects the themes and emotions of the film.

The soundtrack features 13 original tracks performed by the movie’s main characters, including Tyler James Williams, Trevor Jackson, Coco Jones, and Brandon Mychal Smith. The album features a mix of musical styles, including gospel, hip-hop, R&B, pop, and ballads.

The songs in the movie were co-written by a host of well-known producers, including Toby Gad and Adam Anders, the masterminds behind the musical hits like High School Musical and Glee. The soundtrack begins with Tyler James Williams’ rendition of “Don’t Run Awayp,” which sets the tone for the movie’s themes.

The song features Williams’ emotional vocals, moving the listener while encapsulating the themes of hope and self-discovery expressed in the movie. Coco Jones’ ballad, “What I Said,” is another standout track.

The song’s lyrics serve as a reflection of Roxanne’s journey of self-discovery and the strength she finds within herself. The hip-hop infused “Guardian Angel,” features the interplay of Williams and Jackson’s fast-paced raps, over a beat that is both catchy and timely.

The song is a metaphorical commentary on brotherhood and gospel backing vocals, adding depth and meaning. The title track is a fan favorite, featuring the voices of Williams, Smith, and Jones, boasting of their unique identities and the need to showcase who they genuinely are to shine.

The record’s gospel influence shines through with “Moment of Truth,” which features the vocal power of James Lane and the vocals of Jones, representing the religious and spiritual roots of the movie’s themes. The soundtrack is a well-curated selection of tracks that stands alone as a work of art, with or without the film.

The commercial performance of the soundtrack was impressive, peaking at number 11 on the US Top Soundtracks Chart and 29 on the Billboard 200 Chart. In 2013, the album was nominated for a Stellar Award in the category of Children’s Performance of the Year.

What makes the soundtrack stand out is its ability to immerse its listeners in a musical journey while allowing them to discover different emotions. The record effectively marries the modern sounds of hip-hop and pop with the traditional sounds of gospel music.

The songs employ a variety of lyric writing styles, from uplifting, inspirational lines to heart-wrenching ballads that tug at the heartstrings. The soundtrack is undoubtedly a key factor in the movie’s success, and it helped to elevate the music and narratives of African-American gospel music, showcasing its central role as the spine of the African sound in modern pop culture.

In conclusion, Let It Shine’s soundtrack is an impressive work of art, expertly crafted to deliver a story’s emotional beats while standing alone as a listening experience. The album is diverse, exciting and captures the essence of the movie’s themes, while showcasing the talents of the movie’s core cast.

The record’s commercial success and nominations are proof of its quality, influence, and relevance in the world of music. In conclusion, Let It Shine is a modern-day Cinderella story that celebrates individuality, talent, and the transformative power of music.

The film’s plot, production design, and soundtrack are masterfully crafted to immerse the audience into a relatable world that teaches valuable life lessons. The movie’s release and reception solidified its position as a cherished family-friendly movie that inspires creativity while highlighting the importance of self-confidence and staying true to oneself.


Q: Who directed Let It Shine? A: Paul Hoen directed Let It Shine.

Q: What is Let It Shine about? A: Let It Shine is a modern-day Cinderella story that follows a young musician’s journey of self-discovery and musical talent, as he navigates the challenges of identity and self-expression.

Q: Is the movie Let It Shine suitable for children? A: Yes, the movie Let It Shine is a family-friendly film suitable for children and entertaining for adults.

Q: Did Let It Shine receive critical acclaim? A: Yes, Let It Shine received a positive reception from audiences, critics, and pundits alike, with most praising the film’s message, musical score, and production design.

Q: Who starred in Let It Shine? A: Let It Shine stars Tyler James Williams, Trevor Jackson, Coco Jones, and Brandon Mychal Smith in the main roles.

Q: Was there a soundtrack release for Let It Shine? A: Yes, Let It Shine soundtrack features 13 original tracks performed by the main cast and was released in June 2012.

Q: What genre is Let It Shine? A: Let It Shine is a musical drama that blends different musical genres, including gospel, hip-hop, R&B, pop, and ballads.

Q: When was Let It Shine released? A: Let It Shine was released on June 15, 2012, on the Disney Channel.

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