Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf just got the gig of a lifetime. The Palestinian singer has been roped in to perform at the opening ceremony of the Fifa Congress, usually held as a run up to the football World Cup. The Congress’ opening ceremony this year is to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 10, two days before the grand opening on June 12.
With this honour, Assaf, a former wedding singer from a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, will become the first Arab singer to perform at such a global event.
Assaf, who has been touring the region following his win of the Arab Idol contest in June last year, will record the song in Dubai with the help of Grammy-winning producer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins, known for his work with Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
“I am very excited to be coming to Dubai to take part in this new interactive experience working with the very talented Arab Idol, Mohammed Assaf and producing a new Arabic cross-over song for the world,” said Jerkins in a release.
Recording label Platinum Records, owned by MBC Group, which also owns the Arab Idol franchise, are also getting fans involved in the creation of the song. Fans can tweet lyrics and rhythms with the hashtag #ASSAF360 starting May 25 and interact with Assaf and Jerkins live. The Dubai studio will be fitted with a projection system that will stream fans’ opinions and showcase them onto a wall for viewing by Assaf and the production team. Fans will also get a chance to ask the Idol any question in a dedicated one-hour live chat session on June 3, details of which will be announced later.
The final song will then be recorded on June 3, before Assaf jets off to Brazil for his live performance.
“We have been planning this production the last three months and thrilled to have the 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,” said Taymoor Marmarchi, Head of Platinum Records.
MBC will broadcast the project live for 24 hours on June 3 on its main website mbc.net.