With a 'lil helping hand from his fans Mohammad Assaf records World Cup anthem Live in 24 hours! #ASSAF360
Assaf talks to the press during his live recording session for #ASSAF360 in Dubai. (Image: AFP)
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Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf hit a Dubai recording studio with music producer Rodney Jerkins – who has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga – for 24 hours on Tuesday, to work on a very special project titled #ASSAF360!
The goal was to record a World Cup anthem in 24 hours with the little helping hands of his fans.
The recording session kicked off at 8am on June 3, and for transparency, Assaf's "little helpers" watched him in session through live streaming on MBC’s website - it was also broadcast live on MBC 1 throughout the course of the 24 hours.
Assaf stated that the song should be made by the people and for the people, therefore, a Twitter hashtag created for the recording session, #ASSAF360, was used by fans to send rhymes and lyrical suggestions over the course of two weeks.
“I was looking [at the #ASSAF360 tag] over the past few days — some of it is really funny,” he said.
“Some journalists asked me — have you really not prepared anything in advance for today? I told them, you’ll see with your own eyes — we haven’t prepared anything,” Assaf told Gulf News' tabloid!. “We started on the rhythm this morning … We wanna do a song that brings across the sporty spirit, the energy behind that.”
Jerkins was also super excited about the unique project, which meant he only got one hour's sleep due to jet lag and woke up at 4am singing melodies to himself. The music genius said he was in awe of the young artist's voice and planned to make the most of it.
“You gotta think about the stadium, you gotta think about [the chanting and clapping of the crowd]. I’ve been saying the word ‘yallah!’ a lot, which means ‘lets go’, so I’m thinking that ‘yallah’ is going to be the [song’s] big chant part.”
Now that the phenomenal song has finally been produced, listeners can download it from iTunes and the Arab music platform Anghami. All proceeds from the single will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Assaf will be performing the song live for the first time at the opening ceremony of the 64th Fifa Congress event in Sao Paulo on June 10, the precursor to the World Cup in Brazil, which begins on June 12.
This is a huge win for Arabs everywhere, as Assaf’s performance will mark the first time an Arab singer performs at the Fifa Congress event.
Taymoor Marmarchi was behind this stupendous project, the new head of the Dubai-based Platinum Records (Assaf’s label).
“I want to shake things up,” said Marmarchi. “We have been planning this production for the last three months and are thrilled to have an amazing hit producer, Rodney Jerkins, leading the music for this one-of-a kind fusion with our fantastic artist Assaf. It is surely going to be a very exciting 24 hours.”
If you've missed the live streaming, don't fret! A video of the song, featuring edited footage and off-screen bloopers from the recording session, is going to be released on June 4.
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