Football fans are impatiently waiting for the start of FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil tonight. The release of an official World Cup song to accompany the football tournament has become a tradition. They used to be sung by the players themselves, but now the professionals have taken up the responsibility.
The official FIFA World Cup song this time around is We Are One (Ole Ola), a song recorded by American rapper Pitbull. It features guest vocals from pop singer Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte.
Pitbull, who is known for always giving smash hits, talks about football and music in an interview, reported Mid-Day.
Tell us about your experience of working on a World Cup anthem for the first time.
Working on We Are One with JLo and Claudia gave a very united feeling. It was like creating music to bring the world together. It was a delight to work with such amazing artistes to create an anthem for FIFA World Cup 2014.
You have always supported and endorsed the power of sport; do you believe that sports can change the way people live?
Sport is one of the first things that teaches you to believe in yourself, gives you discipline, shows you that the more you practice, and the harder you work, the better you get.
You are known for your collaborations. Is there any interesting work in the pipeline? Is there any artiste that you wish to work with, whom you haven’t collaborated with as yet?
Among women, it would have to be the former Queen of Cuba (Cuban music), Celia Cruz — she’s not here anymore but I would have loved to have been in the studio with her. May she rest in peace. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with Jay-Z; I think that should be a lot of fun.
You have also worked with Priyanka Chopra. What was the experience like?
Priyanka is extremely talented and hardworking. She has got a wonderful voice. Working with her on Exotic was an enjoyable experience.
Which team will you be rooting for this World Cup?
I have always supported my country, USA!
The song is chosen by the Sony record label and FIFA. Anyone can enter the competition. 1,500 people tried their luck at getting the gig for this year’s World Cup. The winning track is always sung by well-known stars as that is always more lucrative.
We Are One, however, has received a negative response from Brazilians. Brazilians are known for nurturing rich musical traditions and are not pleased with how the official World Cup song is lacking a Brazilian feel and passion for football. Music journalist and DJ Leka Peres described it a bundle of clichés, and his colleague Gaia Passarelli referred to it as a “bad, boring, replaceable pop song”, reported DW.
The Brazilians have strong resentment towards the song and are going as far as flooding Twitter with calls to abandon We Are One in favour of Shakira’s 2010 World Cup hit, WakaWaka (This Time For Africa). Shakira has in fact released an unofficial tournament track Dare (La la la), which is likely to give the official song a run for its money. Interestingly, back in 2010, Shakira’s Waka Waka provoked a similar reaction in South Africa to the one Pitbull has triggered in Brazil. The problem then was that people questioned why a South African singer didn’t get the gig, since South Africa has great singers of it’s own..
Tonight, Pitbull and Leitte will be there to perform the official song at the opening ceremony. Lopez, however, will not be there. News of Lopez’s withdrawal began to spread Sunday and while some outlets blamed it on production issues, her rep merely confirmed that she “will not be attending this year’s World Cup opening ceremonies,” without giving a reason for the change.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2014.