Archive for the ‘Charley says EUROVISION!’ Category

Charley says ARTIST! Iris aka Airis aka Laura Van den Bruel

March 18, 2012

So who is this Iris that’ll be representing Belgium at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan?

Longtime readers of Charley says POP! may remember her from this post, but for those of you just joining, let me introduce you.

Iris was born in 1995 as Laura Van den Bruel and has been into music since she was a kid. As about half of Belgium’s talented youngsters she auditioned for Junior Eurovision at one point, but narrowly missed out on a place among the finalists.

But she needn’t worry, her big break would come just a few years later. A then 15 year old Laura submitted a YouTube rendition of Céline Dion’s “I’m Alive” to Joepie’s Talentbooth. This online competition was a joint effort by Belgium’s leading teen magazine Joepie and record label Sonic Angel. Laura’s impressive vocals earned her a spot among the five finalists and she went on to win the entire competition.

With a Sonic Angel record deal secured, it was time to decide how she would go about releasing her very first single. With the Flemish music scene saturated with Lauras (Laura Lynn, Laura Omloop, Laura Ramaekers…) she decided to go by the name of Airis. That’s Iris pronounced in English, with an extra A to make it all more Google-friendly.

For her debut Airis teamed up with Piet Vastenavondt, Wouter Vander Veken and Guus Fluit. The first being the lead singer of Owen and the latter two being the musical masterminds behind Bandits and Ellektra‘s musical output. The result was “Wonderful“, a country-light feel good song, that got her playlisted on radio and into the Flemish top 30.

Then late last year came the news that would make her a household name in Belgium. Iris, now without the extra A, was internally selected by Flemish public broadcaster één to represent Belgium at Eurovision, beating the likes of crooner Yannick Bovy to the spot.

An appeal was launched to submit songs for Iris to sing in Baku. No less than 270 tracks were submitted and after much deliberation just two remained.

Safety Net” was written by Boots Ottestad, Aimée Proal and Barrett Yeretsian, who among them have writing credentials for the likes of Robbie Williams and Kelly Clarkson.

However, in last night’s national final Belgium chose to send “Would You“, written by Jean Bosco Safari, Walter Mannaerts and 18 year old Nina Sampermans. Jean is a renowned Belgian singer/songwriter, Walter was the driving force behind Bab‘s excellent and majorly underrated debut album and Nina is working on a debut album of her own.

So with her entry chosen and a ticket to Azerbaijan in her pocket, what is next for Iris?

Eurosong.be have managed to find out that a full album will be released on April 27th. The album will include “Wonderful“, her two Eurovision songs and brand new tracks of which five have been chosen from Iris’s Eurovision entries that didn’t make the cut.

With Iris citing Carrie Underwood as her biggest idol in a recent interview, I’m excited to hear an entire album of Iris’s country-light pop!

“Would You” by Iris is available on iTunes.
“Wonderful” by Iris is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Iris’s debut album will be available as of Friday April 27th, you can still buy a FanShare and help fund this album.

See also: Charley says LIST! Meanwhile At SonicAngel…

Advertisements

Charley says EUROVISION! Junior Eurosong 2010

September 4, 2010

This year’s Belgian national Junior Eurovision selection has been bumped from main public channel één to the kids oriented Ketnet. To ease the pain we’re getting videos for every entry now, whereas in previous years even the winners could consider themselves lucky if they got more than their live performance dubbed with the studio track.

So who am I backing to win? Well, based on the studio versions there’s three songs that really stand out for me.

First up, and the one I think will be most likely to get the approval of Charley says POP! visitors, is ‘Get Up!‘ by Jill & Lauren. Both first stepped into the limelight as part of KetnetPOP 3. KetnetPOP is a yearly album and concert series that has former Junior Eurosong stars and new talent release music together.

Jill & Lauren’s entry is probably the most proper pop song of the bunch and seems like it could have just as easily been recorded by Bo & Monica. Actually, ‘Get Up!‘ was co-written by Miguel Wiels, who was also responsible for Bo & Monica’s ‘Gonna Be A Star‘.

Then there’s Ferre. This 14-year-old easily has the best voice of the bunch. I love his pop/rock song, but if the JESC efforts of Oliver and Trust have proven us anything, it’s that Europe doesn’t seem to like it when we send in this kind of song. However, I’m pretty sure ‘(Met Mijn) Ogen Toe‘ is the one song I’ll keep coming back to in the years to come.

On production and co-writing duties is Jeroen Swinnen, who also had a hand in Tom Dice’s wildly successful Eurovision entry ‘Me And My Guitar‘. One last pop connection Ferre has going on is that his video was shot at the same place in Antwerp as Idool 2003 winner Peter Evrard’s debut video ‘For You’.

Finally, ‘Power Aan De Kids!‘ is my third favourite. Daan & Anne-Sophie of DnA penned this ‘So What‘ sounding anthem together with former Nailpin frontman Sean D’Hondt.

Other notable collaborators are Ingrid Mank and Born Crain on Ymke’s ‘Vive La Fête‘, Katerine Avgoustakis’ producer Yannic Fonderie and Flemish X Factor winner Udo on Ine’s ‘Kusje Van Mij‘ and actor / Eurosong 2006 contestant Tom Van Landuyt who co-wrote this year’s super catchy group song ‘Superidee‘.

Charley says EUROVISON! The Year Flanders Saved Itself

May 30, 2010

Well, we did it!

Tom Dice came sixth in the final of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest.

He may have lost out to Lena’s ‘Satellite‘ and he may have slipped down a couple of places after being in the top three throughout most of the voting, but Tom proved that Belgium can be a contender for Eurovision victory.

More specifically, Tom proved that a Flemish entry can do well.

Credit where it’s due, even though their output since ‘Sanomi‘ has been disappointing, it’s our friends from Wallonia who have given us Urban Trad, Melanie Cohl and even a win with Sandra Kim.

Next year may not be our turn to select an entry, but I’m already curious to see who will follow up Tom for Flanders in 2012.

Maybe Ellektra? Her ‘Do You Really Wanna Be With Me‘ would have made for a great entry, wouldn’t it? Maybe someone like Nelson, who competed in Eurosong 2008, but has since settled for a great pop/dance sound? Maybe an artist we don’t even know yet, like someone who might come out of Idool 2010 later this year?

I for one can’t wait to see what’s next.

Oh and you may have noticed that the song above is not ‘Me And My Guitar‘, but let’s not forget that just a couple of months ago Laura sang Belgium to a fourth place at Junior Eurovision! If you’re not familiar with ‘Zo Verliefd (Yodelo)‘ yet, you can hear her bubblegum pop yodel anthem above.

See also: Charley says ARTIST! Tom Dice
See also: Charley says ALBUM! Tom Dice – Teardrops

Charley says SONG! Femme Fatale – Décadence

May 29, 2010

While I definitely have some favourites in tonight’s Eurovision final, there seems to be a lack of proper pop beats among the finalists.

Therefor, let’s have a look back on what could have been a Belgian entry. Big Brother superstar Betty Owczarek had previously sung under her own name and as Biba Binoche, but for Eurosong 2008 she reinvented herself as Femme Fatale.

Dark and dirty pop anthem ‘Décadence‘ was written especially for Betty by Gerard James Borg and Mik Tanczos. Having been responsible for ‘7th Wonder‘, ‘On Again… Off Again‘, ‘Desire‘, ‘Vertigo‘ and ‘Vodka‘, Gerard James Borg is practically Maltese Eurovision royalty.

A final point of interest is that you may recognise one of the shirtless dancers on dog leashes (I bet you’re going to watch that clip now, aren’t you?) as the dancer in Katerine Avgoustakis’ ‘Treat Me Like A Lady‘ video!

Charley says ALBUM! Tom Dice – Teardrops

May 28, 2010

I’d promised you a review of the Tom Dice album and what better day to do it than the one on which he will be singing in the big Eurovision final after becoming the first Belgian ever to make it out of the semi final?

This post will focus on the album ‘Teardrops‘, but if you want read about Tom’s career pre-Eurovision there’s always this one I wrote some time ago.

In short, the Tom Dice album is very good. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good. I usually listen to a selection of the tracks as posted below. The other songs aren’t bad, but I mostly feel they either don’t fit (‘A Soldier For His Country‘) or just add too little to the album (the Isbells sounding intro ‘Start Without The Ending‘).

1. Me And My Guitar
2. Lucy
3. Too Late
4. Murderer
5. Why?
6. Always And Forever
7. Broken
8. Bleeding Love (Bonus Track)

There’s little need to introduce ‘Me And My Guitar‘. When Tom was announced to be Belgium’s 2010 Eurovision contestant reactions varied between “Who?” and “Why?”. Suffice to say that expectations weren’t exactly sky high when he premiered his entry. However, with the simple tale of a boy and his guitar he managed to convince Flanders and the song ended up topping the charts. ‘Me And My Guitar’ was co-written by Tom, Ashley Hicklin and producer Jeroen Swinnen. Jeroen previously had a hand in songs like Ellektra’s ‘I Hate It But I Love It‘ and Born Crain’s ‘Tell The World‘.

Lucy‘ is set to be the follow-up single from ‘Teardrops’. The summery track was co-written by Tom Helsen, a singer/songwriter we mentioned earlier when he released a track with Belgium’s 1993 Eurovision entrant Barbara Dex. With a chorus that has Tom pleading “Lucy, I love you, why don’t you love me?” the song sounds like a male version of Colbie Caillat’s ‘Realize‘.

People who followed Tom on X Factor may recognise ‘Too Late‘. Tom performed the selfwritten track in the final episode of the show. It may not have won him a record deal at the time, but I’m glad it’s included on the album. The song was given a makeover by Erhan Kurkun, who produced nearly the entire album. The new version sounds a lot ‘fuller’ than its acoustic original. A definite favourite with a chorus so catchy that we can even forgive the wonky lyric “I still love you, even if you slap me every day”.

Murderer‘, ‘Why?‘ and ‘Broken‘ continue the theme of great pop/rock tracks with catchy bits, bits where the music drops out on Tom’s vocals only to come back full force and bits where Tom asks “I’ve been searching for a girl like you, why did you leave?”.

My favourite song on ‘Teardrops’ however is ‘Always And Forever‘. It basically makes Tom sound like the most romantic boyfriend ever. He may be always on the road, but finally Tom gets to announce “I am on my way to visit you tonight, but the detail you don’t know is that I’m staying for a while”. And how does Tom tell you? “Now what’s your favourite movie, cause I’ll be coming home soon…” However, tragedy strikes before Tom and your DVD of choice ever get to arrive. The song builds to its finale with Tom defeatedly asking “But I wanted to stay?” Oh, Tom…

See also: Charley says ARTIST! Tom Dice

Charley says SONG! Nicole & Hugo – Baby Baby

May 27, 2010

If you have just been watching the second semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest you may have spotted this immortal duo in the red lantern montage.

Nicole & Hugo were originally supposed to represent Belgium back in 1971 with ‘Goeimorgen, Morgen‘. Unfortunately Nicole became ill right before the contest and the couple had to be replaced with Jacques Raymond and Lily Castel.

Determined to get there, they tried again in 1973. ‘Baby Baby‘ was the song that got them to Luxembourg. Despite their flashy outfits and dance moves, which could be described as revolutionary for the Eurovision Song Contests at the time, they failed to get Europe behind them.

Not hindered by their last place, the real life couple became pop icons in Belgium.

Almost 30 years on, Nicole & Hugo are still married, still performing and aren’t thinking of quitting any time soon.

And the purple outfits? They still fit!

Charley says EUROVISION! Oslo 2010 In A Tweet (8)

May 25, 2010

Together with two of my favourite Eurovision fanatics I’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s Eurovision hopefuls. Over the next week we’ll be rating every country and we’ll give our own take on it in a tweet, i.e. in 140 characters or less.

Now, let’s meet my co-judges:

MadeInHeaven: A British resident of the Popjustice forum.
Greg Baker: Our impartial American voice of reason.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the five finalists, Spain, Norway, United Kingdom, France and Germany, after the jump!

With this eight and final part of the Oslo 2010 In A Tweet Special online, you can now read all entries by clicking here.

(more…)

Charley says EUROVISION! Oslo 2010 In A Tweet (7)

May 24, 2010

Together with two of my favourite Eurovision fanatics I’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s Eurovision hopefuls. Over the next week we’ll be rating every country and we’ll give our own take on it in a tweet, i.e. in 140 characters or less.

Now, let’s meet my co-judges:

MadeInHeaven: A British resident of the Popjustice forum.
Greg Baker: Our impartial American voice of reason.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Georgia and Turkey.

(more…)

Charley says EUROVISION! Oslo 2010 In A Tweet (6)

May 23, 2010

 

Together with two of my favourite Eurovision fanatics I’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s Eurovision hopefuls. Over the next week we’ll be rating every country and we’ll give our own take on it in a tweet, i.e. in 140 characters or less.

Now, let’s meet my co-judges:

MadeInHeaven: A British resident of the Popjustice forum.
Greg Baker: Our impartial American voice of reason.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at The Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Ireland.

(more…)

Charley says EUROVISION! Oslo 2010 In A Tweet (5)

May 22, 2010

Together with two of my favourite Eurovision fanatics I’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s Eurovision hopefuls. Over the next week we’ll be rating every country and we’ll give our own take on it in a tweet, i.e. in 140 characters or less.

Now, let’s meet my co-judges:

MadeInHeaven: A British resident of the Popjustice forum.
Greg Baker: Our impartial American voice of reason.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at Switzerland, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Ukraine!

(more…)