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Will Smith & Nicky Jam Teaming With Era Istrefi To Record The Official Song Of The 2018 FIFA World Cup

Will Smith is making a return to music, recording the official 2018 World Cup anthem with Colombia-based reggaeton star Nicky Jam, and Kosovar pop singer Era Istrefi.

According to reports in Billboard and other publications, the track is to be released on 25 May, and is being produced by Diplo, the US producer behind hits with his group Major Lazer including Lean On and Cold Water.

Alongside his burgeoning acting career in the late 1980s and 90s, Smith was a successful pop-rapper, first with DJ Jazzy Jeff and then as a solo artist. He had nine UK Top Five hits in all, including No 1s with Boom! Shake the Room and Men in Black. He hasn’t released an album since 2005’s Lost and Found, and a new track with Jazzy Jeff in 2017, Get Lit, was a flop.

Nicky Jam, meanwhile, is one of Latin America’s biggest stars – his most recent single, X, has been streamed almost 800m times on YouTube, while previous hits like El Amante and El Perdón have over a billion each. Istrefi is a rising star whose track BonBon was a dance hit across Europe in 2016, and who has worked with rapper French Montana.

The official World Cup song is usually performed at either the opening or closing ceremony. Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez performed We Are One (Ole Ola) at the 2014 opening ceremony, while Shakira’s Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) closed out the 2010 competition.

As well as the official song each year, there is also an “anthem”, which have been performed in the past by the likes of Wyclef Jean, R Kelly and Vangelis. Unofficial tracks and promotional tie-ins include ones from Coca-Cola, who have had its own anthem for the last two competitions. This year it will be Colors by Jason Derulo and Maluma.

Earlier this month, an FA spokesperson confirmed there would be no official song for the England team. Previous official songs include World in Motion by New Order in 1990, World at Your Feet by Embrace in 2006 and a rerecorded version of Take That’s Greatest Day in 2014. The most popular year for World Cup anthems in the UK remains 1998, with the official track – On Top of the World, performed by Ian McCulloch, the Spice Girls and others – reaching the Top 10, but getting overshadowed by unofficial tracks Vindaloo by Fat Les, which reached No 2, and Three Lions by Baddiel and Skinner, which topped the chart.



By Ben Beaumont-Thomas

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