Why Willy William wants his new song ‘Trompeta’ to be the anthem of 2022 Fifa World Cup

The French DJ and singer will also perform at Expo 2020 Dubai this month

Willy William launched his latest single 'Trompeta' in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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When you are an artist that scores a global hit, you get to call the shots.

It's an experience Willy William is acutely aware of after releasing the 2017 single Mi Gente, a collaboration with Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin.

With the track going viral on social media and topping numerous international charts, fellow artists wanted a piece of the action. One such act was pop queen Beyonce who agreed to feature as part of an official remix.

“The interesting thing about the remix was that I really wasn’t involved in the process until the very end where I had to ultimately sign off on it,” William tells The National ahead of his Expo 2020 Dubai show on March 20.

“To be in a position where I can either approve a Beyonce verse or not made me realise how far I have come.”

A song fit for stadiums

Now William, 40, is on the other side of the equation as he awaits a decision from football’s governing body Fifa on whether his new single, Trompeta, will be one of the official anthems of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Attending the track’s official launch at Q's Bar and Lounge in Dubai, I immediately recognise why it's in the running.

Built around the trumpet sample of 1989 hit Infinity by late British DJ and producer Guru Josh, Trompeta is another stomping Latin affair with a hook and chorus fit for stadiums.

While William didn’t write the song with the Qatar tournament in mind, he wanted Trompeta to be an anthem for a world slowly emerging from the trauma of Covid-19.

“I just wanted to create a song for people to have fun when they can go out safely again,” he says.

“I feel that 2022 will be the year where we will really bounce back and people are having a bigger sense of freedom and positivity that they didn’t have before.

"So what we need now is not another sad or heartbreaking song, we need music that makes us happy again.”

As for the World Cup connection, William says discussions are being held between his management, record label and tournament organisers.

He is optimistic of the track’s chances as it complements the World Cup global goals, too.

“The great thing about a song like Trompeta is that it can be remixed with singers from other countries and languages,” he says.

“It can easily feature some of the biggest music artists from the Arab world and it would be a pleasure to work with them .”

A small-town boy

William’s enthusiasm to work with other global artists is genuine because his success seemed so unlikely.

Born to Mauritian parents, William was raised in Fatin, a small town 200 kilometres south-east of Paris.

“It was really in the middle of nowhere and with a population of maybe 400 people. There was not much to do there when it comes to entertainment so it was really all about enjoying the nature,” he says.

“I only saw Paris for the first time when I was around 17 or 18.”

Inspired by the popular rock sounds of the late 1990s, William taught himself to play the guitar and piano before moving on to DJing and producing.

After starting out as a producer with the French group Collectif Metisse, William went solo with the 2016 hit Ego before cementing his place as a bonafide talent with Mi Gente and providing vocals for the 2018 David Guetta and Jason Derulo hit Goodbye.

William credits his small-town upbringing for keeping him curious about various music styles, something he says would be hard to achieve if he grew up in the cliquish music scenes of Paris.

It also explains the deep satisfaction felt when approving that verse from Beyonce, releasing international hits and ideally having his song chanted across football stadiums in Qatar later this year.

“I really just want to leave my imprint on the world,” he says.

“For somebody who came from a small village to having my name in billboards and songs heard everywhere is just amazing and it motivates me.”

Willy William performs as part of International Francophonie Day celebrations at the France Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on March 20. More information is available at www.francedubai2020.com

Updated: March 12, 2022, 9:36 AM