By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.
ATLANTA - Pepsi is pairing singers and filmmakers to release a visual album that celebrates soccer during World Cup.
Spike Lee, Timbaland, Idris Elba and Kelly Rowland are some of the artists whose work is featured on the Pepsi-curated album, "Beats of the Beautiful Game," to be released June 10. The soda company announced today its album will be a collection of 11 anthem-like songs and short films.
"What I love about this is how creative it is," said Rowland, whose song "The Game" will have a video directed by Lee. "It's a project with a whole bunch of different artists being able to do different songs. I'm excited about being a part of something like this."
The Janelle Monae track, "Hero," is the first single and will debut May 20. The album will be released through Capitol Music Group's independent label, Caroline.
Pepsi is looking to gain global attention in a battle with Coca-Cola, which is the main sponsor for the World Cup that kicks off June 12 in Brazil. The launch of the visual album is another attempt to build its brand with major figures without mentioning the event, which occurs every four years.
"To be honest, it'll be a great marketing tool for Pepsi," Lee said. "There's no reason I'd try to deny that."
Pepsi recently began a campaign that included soccer's top stars such as Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, English midfielder Jack Wilshere, Spanish defender Sergio Ramos and Belgian defender Vincent Kompany.
The new album also features rising British singer Rita Ora and Elba will direct a video for the song "Unstoppable" from the DJ-producer R3hab and singer Eva Simons, both Dutch-based acts.
The performers are not expected to appear in the short films, but Lee, -- who is filming in Brazil -- promises to include Rowland somehow.
"I love the idea, but I got to sneak a picture in there somewhere," the director said with a chuckle. "Somewhere she has to appear. She'll be lip syncing, but she'll be in there. I promise you."