To date Freshlyground has not received any royalties from the recording of the song Waka Waka and we have been told that 100% of proceeds have gone via FIFA to the charity of Shakira's choosing: One Goal. We also performed free of charge at the World Cup.
To put things in perspective: Although the song “Waka Waka” is a collaboration between Shakira and Freshlyground, the track itself is not original – it is derived from the song “Zangalewa” written by the Cameroonian band The Golden Sounds in the mid-80s.
The World Cup Song “Waka Waka” was produced by John Hill and Shakira, and they used various session musicians on the track (which included Dominic James).
Freshlyground was never actually present in studio with Shakira or Dominic, and we were in no way privy to or involved in the production process or the negotiations around the use of the song or the agreement with any of the session musicians.
To date we have still never met with Dominic, although fortunately enough, we are on the final leg of our US Tour and hope to meet him in New York next week for the first time.
Freshlyground’s involvement with the ‘Waka Waka’ was purely by chance. We were in FLUX studios in NYC mixing our album “Radio Africa” in February 2010 and got a call from the producer in the studio below us, who was looking for an “African feel” for a track he was producing for the World Cup.
The producer downstairs was John Hill, Shakira's producer, who was busy working on Waka Waka. We were told that FIFA had made it clear that the World Cup track had to feature an African artist, and we happened to be in the building. The track was pretty developed when we heard it - with some guitars and drums and Shakira's vocals. Working alone in studio (without Shakira, Dominic or any other musicians), Freshlyground added their own ideas and Zolani’s vocal contribution on the bridge was entirely original. Our guitarists' original playing also features on the track.
We didn't hear from anyone involved in the production again - and didn't think about it much after that! It was only when FIFA announced that “Waka Waka” was the official World Cup song that we learnt that it had been chosen.
We have never disputed Dominic's contribution to the track. Why would we? His brilliant guitar work forms the basis for the song. But unfortunately we were never involved in any of the negotiations around the commercials of the song.
Our view is that the song Waka Waka successfully united the nation and galvanized support for the FIFA World Cup and Africa's first and very successful hosting of the event.
This week Freshlyground and Goldfish will release a song titled “Let’s Do it Again”, as the Springboks count down the days to the Rugby World Cup that starts in September 2011. Our hope is that “Let’s Do it Again” will help galvanize support behind the Springboks and unite our nation in a similar way that “Waka Waka” did.