International Business

Pitbull hopes to unite people with World Cup song

Miami homeboy Pitbull already has his free pass to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The rapper’s new song, We Are One (Ole Ola), has been selected as the anthem of the soccer spectacular.

He’ll team up with Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian pop star Cláudia Leitte to perform the song ( Nós Somos Um in Portuguese) at the World Cup opening ceremony June 12 in Sao Paulo.

There’s no word yet on the lyrics of the song, which will be released by Sony Music Entertainment before the World Cup. But given the artists, it may contain snippets of English, Spanish and Portuguese.

“I’m sure, like me, millions of football and music fans all over the world will be eagerly awaiting the song’s release,” said Jerome Valcke, general secretary of FIFA, international soccer’s governing body.

The song, written and co-produced by Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, will be included in the Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Album, also to be released by Sony.

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The son of Cuban-born parents, Pitbull was reciting the poetry of José Martí in Little Havana bars by the time he was 3. He still wears Miami on his sleeve, but the boy who grew up on the gritty streets of Miami in the 1980s, during the era of cocaine cowboys, has become an international superstar.

Known as Mr. 305 and Mr. Worldwide, Pitbull, 33, has sold more than 5 million albums and 50 million singles, and has had No. 1 hits in 15 countries.

His single Timber, featuring Ke$ha, is in its third consecutive week atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On Tuesday, Endemol North America — producer of Big Brother and Steve Harvey — announced it had signed an exclusive deal with Pitbull to develop and produce original television and digital content, including a Pitbull digital channel on Endemol Beyond.

“The U.S. Hispanic consumer and gigantic global stars like Pitbull have been the underpinning for the major Latin music and cultural influences in the U.S. and around the world,” said Cris Abrego, co-chairman and co-chief executive of Endemol North America.

Pitbull sees parallels between his music and soccer, said publicist Tom Muzquiz.

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“He relates his music to soccer because it’s global,” Muzquiz said in an email.

When the song selection was announced by FIFA and Sony on Thursday, Pitbull posted this message on his Facebook page: “It’s official. . . . Jennifer Lopez Claudia Leitte and me are bringing the world together with the official song for FIFA 2014. Lets make history.”

“I truly believe that this great game and the power of music will help unify us, because we are best when we are one,” Pitbull said in a statement.

Both Pitbull, dressed in white from head to toe, and Leitte were on hand Thursday at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracaná Stadium for the announcement, posing with soccer balls for the cameras. Lopez, who has collaborated musically with Pitbull in the past, was a no-show.

“I love sharing my culture and country with people through music,” said Leitte in a statement. “The FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest events on the planet and I look forward to dancing samba with Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez in Brazil — we are one,” said the singer, who received a Grammy nomination for her second album, As Máscaras.

During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Shakira rocked audiences with the official song Waka Waka (This Time for Africa). The Waka Waka video has racked up more than 600 million views on YouTube.

If you want to join Pitbull and friends for the opening match in Sao Paulo, there is still time to apply at for the second random-selection draw — but barely. It ends Thursday. About 3 million ticket requests have come in so far for the ticket lottery. More than 85,000 World Cup tickets have already been sold in the United States.

Still don’t have your ticket? A new, first-come-first-served ticket sales period will begin March 12.

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