Celebrated Canadian singer Bryan Adams is not only a passionate musician, but a love of football saw the Grammy Award winner tie in a tour of South Africa with the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Final. Having opened the historic Live Aid concert in 1985, and as the first rock star to come to South Africa in the mid-90s, Adams has a long association with South Africa and the mother continent.
Speaking exclusively with FIFA.com, Adams talks of his enthusiasm for football, his experiences in South Africa and his tip for the Final.
FIFA.com: What was your first FIFA World Cup memory?
Bryan Adams: Probably the 1970 World Cup, with Pele playing for Brazil. I had been living in Portugal for four years prior and all we did there was play football.
Have you been to any previous FIFA World Cups?
Yes I went to the last World Cup in Germany
Do you watch a lot of football? Do your follow a team in Europe?
Yes, I follow Chelsea.
Which players do you most enjoy watching?
Drogba, Terry, Ballack....
Have you met many footballers?
Over the years, yes quite a few. I became friends with quite a few of the German footballers like Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann. Rudi named his son after me!
As a Canadian, which sports did you watch as a youngster? Did you ever play football?
It was mostly football. I also loved the Boston Bruins (ice hockey) because of Bobby Orr. I played football until I figured out that I had a bigger addiction – music.
How do you feel to be a part of this huge event?
Just being here is quite hard to believe, but I booked my tour around the Final so I could come and see the game and also do some gigs.
You obviously launched the Bryan Adams foundation – tell us a little bit about that and what projects it has assisted in Africa?
I launched the foundation in 2006 with the hope that with my name I could help make a few people's lives a little better. In Africa the foundation has supported the building of a school in Zambia, a foundation to help people with the disfiguring disease noma, 'Facing Africa – Noma', in Nigeria and Ethiopia, and the FXB after-school program operating in the townships of Johannesburg for children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa.
Back in 1985 you were involved in the US leg of Live Aid – how did you initially get involved?
Bob Geldof called me a year before to see if I would perform on it if it could be pulled together. I didn't hear from him for a while, then I got another call to say it's happening, here's the date.
Have you seen progress in Africa in that time?
Since I first came to Africa, I've seen huge development. However, I don't know how much better life is here for the African people, it seems to me life is just as hard.
In 1988 you played at Nelson Mandela's concert at Wembley – did you get to meet him? What do you think of him as a person?
I performed for this concert in the hope he would be released in 1988, and he was shortly afterwards. I've not met him, but maybe my dream will come true one day. I'd love to shake his hand.
Speaking of Wembley, that's a footballing Mecca – it's a real special place isn't it?
Absolutely, it's incredible for all events, we performed there in the 1990s, I'll never forget it.
You're quite a celebrated photographer – which football player or team would you most like to shoot, and why?
I've photographed many footballers over the years, the German national team were the last ones. I'd like to do a photo essay on David Beckham, or Ronaldo.
Can we hear any African influences in your music, or will we?
I'm afraid I'm just a skinny white boy, to have that African thing you have to have been here for some time, or be from here!
If you had to compare the world of music and football... what would be the equivalent of the FIFA World Cup Final in the world of music?
Probably something like the Live Aid concert that happened in the 1980s, nothing has quite compared to that since.
What would you prefer in 2014? To be invited to perform at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil or Canada qualify?
I'd prefer to be invited, because I can't imagine we'll qualify, it's too cold in Canada to play football all year!
Who do you think will win the Final, Netherlands or Spain, and why?
Spain have constantly surprised me in this World Cup and so have the Netherlands. It's a coin toss.