Idris Elba's next album will be a ''love letter'' to the late Nelson Mandela.

The 41-year-old actor and musician plays the South African civil rights activist and former president - who died on December 5 2013 age 95 - in the forthcoming film 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' and says he was inspired by him to make new music.

He told the Daily Star newspaper: ''The album will be called 'Mi Mandela'.

''I went back to South Africa and worked with some great musicians.

''I'm really proud of the album. I'll wait until the film has died down so it doesn't get muddled but I'll release it in the new year.

''Basically, it's a love letter from me to Mandela about me playing him.''

Idris tried to capture Mandela's ''aura'' when filming and thoroughly researched his role.

The star, who has worked with the likes of Jay-Z and Mumford and Sons and has also been a DJ, is hoping to release the record next year.

He previously said: ''I didn't know as much as I'd like to about him [Mandela], there is so much to learn.

''Especially about his aura, about the way people feel about him because you can't really act that. You just have to have some understanding of it, so that's what I did.

''The pressure of taking on someone that everyone knows is insurmountable - ultimately you've got to own it yourself.''