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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Avril Lavigne, Hussain Al Jassmi, Luis Fonsi and more collaborate on Special Olympics Abu Dhabi anthem

The official song is co-produced by pop music legend Quincy Jones

Left to right: Hussain Al Jassmi, Avril Lavigne, and Luis Fonsi, who all performed at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 opening ceremony on Thursday night. AFP
Left to right: Hussain Al Jassmi, Avril Lavigne, and Luis Fonsi, who all performed at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 opening ceremony on Thursday night. AFP

The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi theme song has been revealed, and it is a star-studded affair.

The glittering opening ceremony will be at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Thursday, and the event’s official anthem is titled Right Where I Am Supposed To Be: it features Avril Lavigne, Luis Fonsi, Hussain Al Jassmi, Tamer Hosny, Assala Nasri and Ryan Tedder.

With the exception of One Republic frontman Tedder, the other five artists will be in the capital to perform the track, which will be broadcast live to millions around the world.

Who are the producers and songwriters?

The A-list talent extends to behind the scenes: the track was executive produced by pop music legend Quincy Jones, who also lent his talent to I Know I Can, the anthem for the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai.

The song is co-written by Greg Wells, Ryan Tedder and Nina Woodford.

Wells recently won a Grammy Award for his work on The Greatest Showman soundtrack; while Tedder is one of the pop world's most in-demand tunesmiths, having written hits for the likes of Beyoncé (Halo), Adele (Rumour Has It) and Ellie Goulding (Burn)

In the opening ceremony performance, Canadian singer Lavigne will handle the English verses; while Puerto Rican star Fonsi will sing the Spanish component. Emirati crooner Al Jasmi, Egyptian singer Hosny and Syrian diva Assala will deliver the Arabic lyrics.

“We have spent a lot of time on the lyrics and the track as we wanted it to be uplifting and inspiring without being too preachy,” Ryan Tedder said in a statement. “This is the kind of stuff I would want to hear, sitting in a stadium full of people. Fingers crossed that everyone will like it.”

Wells said the song was written with unity in mind.

“I love the fact that Special Olympics is taking place in Abu Dhabi, where East and West will be united. We want to unite the whole universe on this path,” he said.

“The power that music has with a great song and message can not only cross fake lines on the map but ideological differences.”

Luis Fonsi and Avril Lavigne love the track

Despacito singer Fonsi, who will perform in Abu Dhabi, said it was the quality of the track that convinced him to sign on to the project.

“When I heard this track was being done by an amazing and talented group of people, I decided I wanted to be part of it,” he said. “All we want to do is have a song where people smile, dance and have a good time. At the end of the day, to me that is what Special Olympics is all about.”

This will not be the first time Lavigne will sing as part of the Olympics. She released the charity single Fly in support of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and performed the song at the opening ceremony in Los Angeles.

Co-written with Nickleback frontman Chad Kroeger, the lyrics of the inspirational orchestral ballad were based on people she met as part of her charity organisation, The Avril Lavigne Foundation.

“I am so excited to come to Abu Dhabi. I have been working with the Special Olympics for a number of years and this will truly be an incredible experience performing at the largest and most unified Special Olympics World Games ever held,” Lavigne said in a statement.

The anthem will be played throughout Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, which takes place from 14-21 March.

Updated: March 11, 2019 07:13 PM

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