African music to add colour at Russia 2018 Soccer World Cup
Creative director Tim Horwood taps optimism in selecting African musos to contribute to the World Cup’s pool of global songs, writes Struan Douglas
The Fifa Soccer World Cup in June provides an opportunity for African artists to take their music to an enormous global audience.
Tim Horwood, executive creative director and CEO at Mashoba Media, is a leading light in pan-African music and was awarded the contract by Coca-Cola to produce the Southern and East African music adaptations for the World Cup.
He chose artists from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique and SA.
Colours, the Coca-Cola World Cup anthem, was composed by American pop singer Jason Derulo. It is based on the idea that music brings people together. "Colours is about how we all have an identity. And people should be proud of who they are," says Derulo.
The song was recorded in studio in Los Angeles.
Artists from all over the world were invited to add their local flavour and represent their regions, creating a pool of songs that will expose audiences to a global diversity.
Most of the collaborations were done digitally, but SA hip-hop artist Cassper Nyovest travelled to Los Angeles to record with Derulo.
"Optimism is a big Coca-Cola brand value," explains Horwood. "As an independent artist who fills up venues like The Dome and FNB Stadium, Nyovest is a success story and an inspiration. "He has done it his way, professionally and respectfully. He has taken risks with a smile on his face and pulled it off.
"He is a down to earth guy and is passionate about the pan-Africa space. It is also nice to bring a hip-hop element into the collaboration as it is a driving force on the [music] scene across the world."
Sami Dan from Ethiopia; Lizha James from Mozambique; Ykee Benda, an exciting new artist from Uganda; and Diamond Platnumz, a well-established artist from Tanzania, also produced songs, which will depict the colours and styles of their countries and challenge negative international stereotypes of Africa.
Horwood was creative director of MTV Base from its launch in 2005 to 2015. This gave him the opportunity to engage with the length and breadth of popular music on the African continent and to make a significant contribution to closing the gap between young music stars and audiences worldwide.
"Bringing artists together and sharing creatively among the continent and international artists is defining an African sound," he says.
"Africa is happening in every sphere of creativity from films to fashion, but music is the foundation of that. There are markets for African music opening up all over the planet."
MTV Base became a pioneer for creating audiences beyond the traditional borders of African countries. Through cross-country collaborations and pan-African cultural properties such as the MTV Africa Music Awards, the channel created access for artists to fans.
In 2016 Horwood joined the Coca-Cola multimedia music project Coke Studio Africa as creative director. A segment of the channel, Break Out, identified up and coming African artists, documented their stories and linked them with established artists to record.
The exposure amplified the successes for an emerging generation of African artists and sped up the development of their careers.
"It is nice to see how someone’s life can literally change as a result of these projects," says Horwood. "And that is something quite noble about what Coca-Cola is doing.
"They are investing in the development of artists and music. Obviously, they are growing their brand love and ultimately selling their product, but it is really beautiful when someone is achieving their business objectives but at the same time benefiting something like the African music scene and these really talented artists that need a push."
The Coca-Cola Trophy Tour takes the Fifa World Cup to different countries in an attempt to get as many people as possible to experience the excitement of the tournament.
The trophy is at present travelling down the east coast of Africa to SA.
Colours will be distributed on every platform possible, including downloading, streaming and call back ring tone.
The trophy is at Maponya Mall in Soweto on Friday. On Saturday there is a free concert in Cape Town, where Cassper Nyovest is performing.