World Cup ‘Colours’ embraces Africa

Tim Horwood, Executive Creative Director and CEO at Mashoba Media (PTY) Ltd, is a leading light in Pan-African music. As creative director of MTV Base, from their launch in 2005 up until 2015, Horwood had the opportunity to engage with the length and breadth of popular music on the African continent and make a significant influence to closing the gap between the young music stars and their exposure to audiences worldwide.

He said, “Bringing artists together and sharing creatively amongst the continent and international artists is defining an African sound. Africa is happening in every sphere of creativity from films to fashion, but music is at the foundation of that. There are markets for African music opening up all over the planet.”

MTV Base became a pioneer for creating Pan-African audiences that extend beyond the traditionally divided borders of African countries. Through cross-country collaborations and Pan-African cultural properties such as the MAMAs (MTV Africa Music Awards) the MTV Base channel opened up the borders, creating access for artists to fans across multiple territories.

In 2016 Horwood joined the Coca-Cola multi-media music project, “Coke Studio Africa,” as creative director. A segment of the channel, “Break Out,” identified up and coming African artists, documented their story and put them together with established artists to record. The exposure amplified the successes for an emerging generation of artists on the continent and sped up their progress in the industry.

“It is nice to see how someone’s life can literally change as a result of these projects,” Tim Horwood.

Investment in Africa

Coca-Cola is 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 benefitting something like the African music scene and these really talented artists that need a push,” said Horwood

Horwood was awarded the contract from Coca-Cola to produce the Southern and East African music adaptations for the 2018 FIFA Soccer World Cup. He chose artists from five African countries, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. The song that will be performed is the Coca-Cola World Cup anthem, “Colours,” composed by American popular singer Jason Derulo. The song 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,” described Derulo.

‘Colours’ was recorded in studio in Los Angeles. Artists from all over the world were invited to add their local flavor and represent their different regions, creating a pool of songs that expose audiences to a global diversity. Most of the collaborations were done digitally, however South African hip hop artist Casper Nyovest had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to record with Derulo.

“Optimism is a big Coca Cola brand value,” explained Horwood. “As an independent artist who fills up venues like the dome and FNB stadium, Casper 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 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 colors and styles of their countries, whilst challenging negative international stereotypes of Africa.

The Coca-Cola Trophy Tour takes the FIFA World Cup around to different countries in an attempt to get as many people as possible to experience the excitement of the World Cup. As the trophy touches these different countries the songs are revealed and performed for the first time. The trophy is currently travelling down from East to South Africa.

The further roll out of the song has not yet been announced, however Horwood says he is on his toes and ready for anything. He said, “Coca-Cola is quite agile with their planning. They read what is happening and see how people are reacting. Their planning morphs and adapts quite a lot. Anything can happen.”

‘Colours’ will be distributed on every single platform possible, such as download, streaming and CBRT (Call Back Ring Tone).

Struan Douglas

Struan Douglas is a freelance writer and author based in South Africa.