The streaming premiere of Justin Timberlake’s “Palmer” was touted by Apple TV Plus as powering its ‘“most-watched weekend” since the platform debuted just over a year ago. The film has Timberlake playing Eddie Palmer, who returns home from prison and bonds with a boy from a troubled home.
However, it’s singer Nathaniel Rateliff’s end-credits song, “Redemption,” garnering awards buzz for as the race for best original song continues. Variety has the exclusive premiere of his solo acoustic rendering of the theme song (below).
Says Rateliff, “For me, the song is about what I saw in the film, and what I see out there in the world, of continuing to struggle until we find some kind of peace and some kind of answer. It’s about hope and connection. At the end of the song, there’s the line ‘we keep running until we learn to find peace’.” Rateliff says. He drew inspiration for “Redemption” through finding familiarity with the film’s protagonist, Eddie.
Growing up in rural Missouri, Rateliff saw “good people trying to move away from bad situations and trying to get ahead, and stumbling when they try to move forward.”
Timberlake had conversations with Rateliff over the phone to convey to him the essence of the story. The song’s title was born out of one of those conversations, where Timberlake described a “redemptive” courtroom scene, with the wording becoming etched in Rateliff’s mind.
To build the track, Rateliff says he started with a guitar and then layered his voice and added drums. He reached out to a singing group of three sisters he’d met when asked to perform at a Black Lives Matter rally in Englewood, Colorado. He also enlisted some of his band members in his group, the Night Sweats, to add claps and other percussion.
Rateliff will also perform the Oscar-contending song Feb. 13 on “Saturday Night Live.”