Ole, Ole Boleh

They may be united in song, but ask these four singers who they want to win the World Cup and they start to disagree.

Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin said: "Unfortunately, Puerto Rico is not in the World Cup. Brazil or Argentina?"

Netherlands, said Indonesia's Judika.

Alif Satar, from Malaysia, said: "Every time I say I want England to win, they don't. So this year I'll say I don't want them to win."

Singapore's Sezairi Sezali is rooting for Korea because it would be "cool to have an Asian team".

"But Spain really has the best players in the world right now," he added.

It's heartening to hear these lads know their football teams, considering they've lent their voices to Vida, one of the tracks on the official World Cup album, One Love, One Rhythm.

It is due to be released on May 12.

Vida is the winning entry of the 2014 Fifa World Cup SuperSong contest, organised by Sony Music last December.

The contest gave fans an opportunity to write a song for the official World Cup album.

The winning entry was written by US singer-producer Elijah King, and was selected by 42-year-old Martin from more than 2,000 contest entries.

Singapore Idol 3 winner Sezairi, 26, joins Malaysian singer-actor-host Alif, 23, and Indonesian Idol 2 runner-up Judika, 35, for the Asian version of the song.

The song was unveiled last week to regional media at a Jakarta press conference.

They sing along in Malay and Bahasa Indonesia to Martin's Spanglish, though the singers recorded their parts separately.

Martin joined the press conference from Sydney via Skype because he is recording the third season of reality TV singing series The Voice Australia, where he is a coach.

He said: "A few months ago, I received a call from Sony Music saying, 'Hey, Fifa wants to work with you once again'.

"When you get this kind of phone call, you either get really excited or you get really excited."

Martin is no stranger to singing for the World Cup, having sung La Copa de la Vida, or The Cup of Life, for the 1998 World Cup in France.

That song topped charts in several countries, including Australia, France and Germany.

GRATEFUL

"I'm very thankful, because it became an anthem, a sports anthem," said Martin, who also revealed he is hard at work on his next album.

"The SuperSong is a fantastic concept, allowing the world to write a song for the World Cup. It's a beautiful way to connect the planet through music," he said.

Martin added that he heard Vida once and immediately knew that it was "the song" because of the "catchy" message, which is also multicultural and diverse.

The collaboration came about because Martin felt it was important to work with Asian artists, said Mr Alexander Sancaya, Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia's managing director.

And the three Asian singers said they are grateful for the opportunity.

Sezairi said: "It's incredible, I grew up listening to Ricky Martin songs and doing impressions of him."

But there were challenges.

"Because Ricky wasn't with us to record, there was a bit of difficulty in learning the Spanish words in the chorus," said Alif, who got his start in 2006 on the TV singing competition One In A Million.

"But even though he wasn't there, we could really feel his spirit in the song," said Judika.

"It was exciting trying to give that Ricky Martin vibe in Bahasa Indonesia," he added.

On the ball

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TEAM?

Alif: When I was nine, I was in a youth team in Kuala Lumpur and I was picked to train with Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær (currently the manager for Cardiff City). So Manchester United has always been my number one, but this season has been very bad. Bayern Munich, this season, has been stellar.

Judika: Manchester United.

Sezairi: I've always been a Liverpool fan, even though I grew up in a Manchester United household. I grew up getting Manchester United merchandise for my birthday.

FAVOURITE PLAYER OF ALL TIME?

Alif: Maradona.

Judika: Cristiano Ronaldo. His speed is good, his dribbling is good, his style and hair are good.

Sezairi: (Liverpool captain) Steven Gerrard.

Judika: That's because (Fernando) Torres moved (from Liverpool to Chelsea).

WHAT DO YOUR WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS THINK OF FOOTBALL?

Alif: I used to think it wasn't nice to ask whoever I was dating to watch, but I think now there are a lot of cute guys for them to look at.

Judika: My wife used to get very jealous because sometimes I would come home and forget to say hello to her and go straight to watching the match. But now I think she's used to it.

Sezairi: My girlfriend doesn't like football at all. I've had ex-girlfriends who love Manchester United and we had to break up immediately (laughs). I don't know why people say women don't like football because I have a lot of friends who are fans. My girlfriend supports whoever I support.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU THIS YEAR?

Judika: I'm working on my fourth album, with songwriters and music producers from Sweden.

Alif: I'm busy with promotions for my third album Definisi. I'm like a clown, juggling many things a once, because I also act and host. But busy is good.

Sezairi: My new song Sayang was just released and I'm going to film the music video in Kuala Lumpur. There will be a new single coming as well and a possibility for me to collaborate with someone from Indonesia.

julrasul@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 23 in The New Paper.

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