On the eve of the FIFA finals, K’Naan, the singer of the World Cup’s global chartbusting anthem, Wavin flag (celebration mix)...’ isn’t sure which team to cheer for.
“I know it’s not a popular thing to say, but the teams I care about aren’t in the running anymore. So for me, it’s about which team is in better-looking colours!” he laughs, during his first telephonic interview in India.
The Somalian-Canadian singer, whose football anthem recently became India’s most downloaded international song ever, tells us that it was a challenge to create the ‘celebration mix’. “The original ‘Wavin’ flag...’ is about hope,” says K’Naan.
“It’s about reaching a place of light by overcoming the odds, from a place of darkness. For this song, the challenge was to turn the waving flag into a moment of celebration, after reaching the light.” The singer says it’s an honour to be the voice of the World Cup since he’s grown up playing football. He insists that he didn’t try to make the song “patriotic”.
He reasons, “Artistes sometimes think that they are in control of the song. But I am more focused on following the honesty inherent in a song, and seeing where it takes me.”
He adds that this particular song, while slightly melancholic is still hopeful. “It’s hard and soft at the same time. It’s made up of the mechanics of humanity. It’s about who we are as human beings,” he explains. The poet and rapper admits that he’s “grown up on Bollywood” but wouldn’t want to do an “official Hindi remix of the song”. He adds that he’s a fan of rhythmic Hindi melodies and would rather create new songs.
Ask him if he’s daunted by the prospect of following up on the success of this track, and K’Naan chuckles, “Thanks to Wavin’ flag... people have now discovered other songs from my album, Troubadour, and tell me that they are great too! May be my other songs will reach out to them too.”