His introduction to SMG / Rebel One’s Sol Guy opened doors for the artist, including a performance at the United Nations’ 50th anniversary concert in 1999. A collaboration and tour with Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour soon followed.
But K’naan’s career really took off after the 2009 release of Troubadour, which caught Coca Cola’s attention. The beverage manufacturer’s use of a remix of the album’s “Wavin’ Flag” as the anthem for this year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa has brought K’naan’s blend of hip-hop, folk and Afrobeat to a global audience.
William Morris Endeavor’s Brian Edelman said he and co-agent Brian Ahern were intrigued by K’naan’s music and backstory.
“What really grabbed us was K’naan’s versatility. He is as unique as it gets. He is a poet, a singer, and a rapper with a wide array of songs,” Edelman told Pollstar. “He can write a deep, emotional song and then a club-banging pop hit. He has mass appeal and a real message that is rare in this world.”
K’naan wrapped up a two-year world tour Nov. 29 that took him to 82 countries and is currently back in the studio.