Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

'Jerusalema': South African DJ Master KG's track becomes the most searched-for song on Shazam

The news was announced on the app's official Twitter account, which published a note of congratulations to the DJ and producer

People dance to 'Jerusalema', the upbeat gospel-influenced house song by South African Master KG, in Johannesburg earlier this month. AP
People dance to 'Jerusalema', the upbeat gospel-influenced house song by South African Master KG, in Johannesburg earlier this month. AP

Since its release late last year, Jerusalema has become a global phenomenon. And between Master KG’s capering beat and Nomcebo’s dreamy vocals, it is easy to see how the song became a viral hit, inspiring its own dance challenge and raking in more than 100 million views on its official YouTube page.

But now the South African disco-house track has set a new milestone: it is officially the most searched-for song on Shazam, a title not many musical accolades can outshine.

The app can identify music, films, adverts and television shows based on a short sample, with users typically employing it to help them track down songs playing in the background of restaurants, shops and on the small and big screens.

The news was announced on Shazam’s official Twitter account, which published a note of congratulations to Master KG, the South African DJ and producer whose real name is Kgaogelo Moagi.

So, how did the song become such a sensation? It all started in Angola, when a group of friends were recorded dancing to the video in a candid clip.

Master KG himself confirmed this during an interview with South African newspaper Sowetan in July. “I'd say the first one that was done in Angola remains my favourite because it gave birth to all the dance challenges all over the world,” he said.

“It is a dance that was done by people from Angola, then Portugal followed and it just went viral from that point.”

The gospel-influenced song has since been the theme of a dance craze as widespread as the Macarena. Just type #Jerusalema on YouTube’s search bar, and you'll be served an infinite scroll of dances from Italy, Nigeria, Jamaica, Canada, India and Saudi Arabia, with friends, families and flash mobs trying to put their spin on the dance. There is even a video of the Teletubbies dancing to the song.

“It reminds me of the song called Macarena in the '90s when I was still young,” Master KG told Sowetan. “Now it is happening to my song and it's a blessing indeed.”

The upbeat track was initially released in November 2019, surpassing one million views on YouTube in a week. A music video was then released a month later. At the time of publishing, the music video has been viewed more than 129 million times.

Jerusalema arrived to streaming services in July. It didn’t take long for the song to start charting on iTunes, peaking at number one in Belgium and Switzerland. A remix by Nigerian singer Burna Boy has also helped the song climb the US Billboard Hot Dance / Electronic Songs chart.

Master KG had received a number of awards prior to Jerusalema’s success, including the African diaspora Afrima 2018 Award and the Limpopo Music Award for Best House Single for his track Skeleton Move.

Updated: September 9, 2020 06:49 PM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email
Most Popular