Posts Tagged ‘Belgian’

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…

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Charley says ARTICLE – A Brief Post Idool 2011 Overview Including Maureen’s Everyday Thing

March 16, 2012

Idool 2011 will not only be remembered as the talent show that with “More To Me” had the best group single ever. Its refocus on looking for proper popstars -this is the “Idol” franchise after all- left us with a young, fresh-faced top 10. Gone were the days when finalists would be pregnant mums or classical singers, this lot was ready to take over the charts!

And indeed, an impressive number of contestants went on to make an impression on the Belgian music scene. Winner Kevin and runner-up Kato‘s debut albums both went gold, Dennis and Kristof had the innovative idea to release a double album together with each filling up one disc and Alyssa has just unleashed her first pop stomper.

Rocker Izzy didn’t make it out of bootcamp but has been working with his band Epic Lane ever since and gay-teenager-who-likes-to-wear-heels Falko, who stranded in the final 15, is said to release his Kylie inspired debut single any time now.

Even those who didn’t get a record deal are still doing music. Manuel has enrolled in music school, Astrid got through to the battle rounds in The Voice and Jonas & Lora have teamed up as cover band The Pony Express.

 listen to
Maureen – Everyday Thing
at www.maureen-music.be

Finally, let me present you one more addition to the list! Maureen Vanherberghen was the curly-haired girl who made an impression with her “Rolling In The Deep” rendition. The former girl scout (well, it’s called “chiro” here) was one of the most consistent singers in the competition and ended up finishing fourth.

After the show she went on to record a translated cover of James Blunt’s “Stay The Night”, which served as the new theme tune to Belgium’s longest running soap opera, Familie.

Now, 2012 finally sees the release of Maureen’s own material! She has signed to brand new up and coming label Pop’m who will be guiding her towards an Eliza Doolittle and Joss Stone inspired sound.

Her debut single “Everyday Thing” already sounds like a firm step in the right direction! The cheerful track was written by songwriting team Chicks With Hits, previously responsible for “The Joker” by Maureen’s Idool friend Kato.

There’s no sign of “Everyday Thing” on YouTube or Spotify yet, but Maureen has put it up on her official website’s player! You can check out the full song over on www.maureen-music.be! It’s sure to get you tapping your feet in no time!

“Everyday Thing” by Maureen is available on Spotify and iTunes.
“More To Me” by Idool 2011 is available on Spotify and iTunes.
“Get On Your Feet” by Alissa is available on Spotify and iTunes.

The Idool 2011 album is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Kevin’s album “Thank You” is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Kato’s album “Flamingo” is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Dennis’s album is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Kristof De Cleyn’s album is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Epic Lane’s EP “Born In The Eighties” is available on Spotify and iTunes.

See also: Charley says VIDEO! Alyssa – Get On Your Feet
See also: Charley says VIDEO! Idool 2011 – More To Me

Charley says LIST! Meanwhile In Belgian Dance Music – Update

March 14, 2012

Just a couple of days ago I brought you up to speed on everything that’s happening on the Belgian dance scene and already there’s new things for me to report on! So without further ado, an update!

When we last spoke only a preview of Jessy’s 2012 remake of her classic “Innocence” had been online. Now, I can present you the diva’s shiny new video for “Innocence ’12“! Having heard the full thing now, we can assure you that producer Regi has found a way to make Abie Flinstone‘s rap blend in seemlessly with all the things you loved about the original song. And yes, the epic “it feels so good… come on and take me” bit is still there!

Oh, and be sure to compare my earlier write-up of the song with the YouTube description for the “Innocence ’12” video! Someone at Jessy’s label Mostiko must be reading Charley says POP!

There may not be a video for her group Sylver’s new single “City Of Angels” yet, but Silvy De Bie has shot scenes for her latest solo song. The result of that is now on YouTube! Newly redhead Silvy looks gorgeous in the video for “Without You” which is credited to David Latour ft. Sil!

Lastly, here’s one I missed out on in my previous post. You may recognise Elisa Guarraci from her time on Topmodel, her 2008 Eurovision effort or her audition for The Voice Van Vlaanderen. These days though she’s mainly busy with her girlgroup Fourlicious, who are promoting “Over You” and are said to be working with former Lasgo co-producer Dave McCullen on new material.

In between all of that she’s found the time to record “In My Arms“. The song marks the Belgian/Italian singer’s second collaboration with producer Philip D. Earlier the two worked together on the breezy “When Love Takes Over” soundalike “The Last Goodbye“.

So there you go, until further notice, consider yourself updated on the main new releases in Belgian dance music!

“The Ultimate Jessy: Best Of 1995 – 2012″ by Jessy is available on iTunes and Spotify.
“Innocence ’12″ by Jessy ft. Abie Flinstone is available on iTunes.
“Without You” by David Latour ft. Sil is available on iTunes.
“In My Arms” by Philip D ft. Elisa is available soon.

See also: Charley says ARTICLE! Life After Jameerah
See also: Charley says LIST! Meanwhile In Belgian Dance Music

Charley says VIDEO! Renée – Dum Dum Dum

March 14, 2012

It’s always brilliant to see people you know make it in music. I don’t think Renée Sys knows who I am, but she went to the same high school I did. When she graduated a couple of years before me, she went on to be a bit of a school legend. The story was that when studying at film school she’d been working for a prestigious drama series, “De Parelvissers” if I remember correctly. Someone at this high school made it in the entertainment industry! She’s made it big! THERE IS HOPE FOR ALL OF US!

Now Renée is once again in the spotlight proving that if you’ve got the goods to back it up, anything is possible.

She has released her debut album “Extending Playground“, which you can discover in its entirety over on Soundcloud. Lead single “Dum Dum Dum” sets the tone for what can best be described as intimate pop. Think Scandinavian girl songwriters’ music to listen to by the fireplace. Except Belgian. Although, it has to be said, Renée wrote the song when she spent time abroad in Finland.

Her talent has drawn comparisons to the likes of Feist and her music has been picked up by influential radio station Studio Brussel and late night talkshow De Laatste Show, to name just a couple.

You too should discover Renée as her songs prove to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time with lines as “Here’s what I wanted to say on this odd Valentine’s Day, it’s been 274 hours that we’ve been apart…”

“Dum Dum Dum” by Renée is available on iTunes.
Her album “Extending Playground” is available for streaming on Soundcloud and for download on iTunes.

Charley says VIDEO! Tom Dice – Utopia

March 13, 2012

For “Utopia“, the lead single of his upcoming sophomore album, X Factor 2008 runner-up Tom Dice has rejoined forces with Jeroen Swinnen and Ashley Hicklin. You may remember how the three of them wrote the lovely “Me And My Guitar” which went on to become the most successful Flemish entry in Eurovision history.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Tom a couple of times when he was promoting “Il Nous Faut“, his gorgeous duet with French singer Elisa Tovati. He’s genuinely a nice guy who loves what he’s doing and doesn’t mind working hard to get there, even when he was ill on some of those aforementioned promo dates!

With Tom being the biggest success story of his label and keeping in mind how much I liked his first album, I have high hopes for whatever he comes up with next!

“Utopia” by Tom Dice is available on iTunes.

See also: Charley says ALBUM! Tom Dice – Teardrops

 

Charley says VIDEO! Alice Avery – Oops Baby

February 28, 2012

Alice Avery may have missed out on a spot in the Belgian X Factor 2008 live shows, but was signed to coach Maurice Engelen’s label SonicAngel regardless. In 2011 she released her first single “U Make My Heart Beat” and now, over a year later, we finally get treated to single number two.

I was hoping she’d stick to the pop/rock with overprocessed vocals style of her debut, so at first I was a bit disappointed to hear she’d hopped onto the retro sound bandwagon of Bruno Mars and Eliza Doolittle. That is until we got to the undeniably catchy chorus!

Not unsimilar to Natalia’s revenge anthem “On The Radio” (“Don’t worry about your paintings, don’t think of your tv, they’ve found a better place now, I’m thinking: charity”) Alice’s new offering has a wronged lover take matters into her own hands…

“Ooh baby, oops, I think I dropped your iPhone,
accidentally broke your XBox
and I think I lost your keys on my way home…”

 I’ve basically had this on repeat all morning.

“Oops Baby” by Alice Avery is available on iTunes and Spotify.

Charley says ALBUM! Lady Lounge

February 21, 2012

Here’s something you’ve been missing out on! Lady Lounge has the best female voices from The Netherlands record the greatest pop songs with a lounge twist. Mark den Hartog, Dorian Broekhuyse and Frank Wijn, best known for the Supperclub Lounge Albums, have taken on production duties for our favourite chill album since “Unclubbed“.

You can check out previews from the album in the embedded YouTube video below or the player on the Lady Lounge site. You can also listen to the full songs on YouTube through the links I’ve collected in this post!

Let’s have a look, shall we?

1. Do – Move Closer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_JtL06Dg4s
Who? One of my favourite Dutch popstars, Dominique Van Hulst, who took the world by storm with her Bryan Adams cover “Heaven”.
Originally by? Phyllis Nelson

2. Birgit Schuurman – Just Say Yes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX70ugmxqxs
Who? Musically the more credible alternative to her famous sister Katja Schuurman.
Originally by? Snow Patrol, although the song was at one point recorded by the amazing Nicole Scherzinger.

3. Krystl – I’m In Love
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5PFLOug9f0
Who? Singer/songwriter whose highest charting single is “Golden Days“.
Originally by? The lovely Norwegian by the name Maria Mena, one of my all time favourite singer/songwriters.

4. Sabrina Starke – Hedonism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbBJ-JDNpmc
Who?
The woman who made you tap your foot along to the chorus of “A Woman’s Gonna Try“.
Originally by? Skunk Anansie, although I know it best as a Sinéad Quinn b-side.

5. Belle Perez – Angel Eyes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h49TfBhph9g
Who? Belgium’s number one latina whose catchy tunes have made her a household name across the border as well.
Originally by? Wet Wet Wet

6. Pearl Jozefzoon – Crazy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdV1a-oRHQE
Who? The Voice Of Holland sensation who’s competing to represent The Netherlands at Eurovision this year. Her Wolter Kroes duet “Breken Van De Lijn” was deservedly a Dutch top 10 hit.
Originally by? Gnarls Barkley

7. Lois Lane – It’s The First Time
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftRJ3wOMN4s
Who?
Duo Lois Lane have reworked their 1989 top 10 hit “It’s The First Time” for the occasion. Most recently the women were seen competing on “The Winner Is…”.
Originally by? Lois Lane

Do – Move Closer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_JtL06Dg4s

8. Shary-An – Rude Boy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJDnPyGn9pc
Who?
The Voice Of Holland discovery who, with “Six Feet Under“, has her very own top 10 hit to her name.
Originally by? Rihanna

9. Twarres – Heart Of Glass
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsdKCe-ojws
Who?
When they topped the Belgian and Dutch charts with “Wêr Bisto”, a gorgeous ballad sung in the Friesland dialect, Twarres was a boy/girl duo, now just Mirjam Timmer remains.
Originally by? Blondie

10. Carolina Dijkhuizen – I Don’t Want To Talk About It
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpmHBfM7f-8
Who?
Star of the Dutch versions of musicals like The Lion King and Aida.
Originally by? Rod Stewart

11. Leonie Meijer – Message In A Bottle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KFK2DlztBo
Who? 
After being on The Voice Of Holland, Leonie released a duet with her coach Jeroen Van Der Boom.
Originally by? The Police

12. Jennifer Ewbank – Imagine (Undressed Version)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJv3xw06yaM
Who?
The sister of producer and songwriter John Ewbank released single “Line In A Song” from the album “London Tree” after her run on The Voice Of Holland.
Originally by? John Lennon

13. Caro Emerald – I Know That He’s Mine (Bonustrack)
Who?
Caro Emerald is included as a bonus track with a song from her internationally successful album “Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor”.
Originally by? Caro Emerald

14. Trijntje Oosterhuis – Close To You (Bonustrack)
Who?
One half of Total Touch and one of the most respected singers in The Netherlands. She’ll be joining the third season of The Voice Of Holland as one of the coaches.
Originally by? Best known as sung by The Carpenters.

Lady Lounge is now available on iTunes.

Charley says WHITNEY! 1986 Belgian TV Performance

February 12, 2012

Whitney performing “All At Once” in 1986 on Belgian tv show “Met Mike Aan Zee”.

Where do broken hearts go?

Charley says VIDEO! Petra – Angel

May 12, 2010

 

Petra De Steur is a Flemish singer who is probably best known for her wacky hair styles (Eat your heart out, Lady Gaga) and putting a couple of children’s songs to dance music.

One of her best known singles is ‘Laat Je Gaan‘, of which an English version called ‘Just Let Go‘ exists as well. The song fits perfectly into the New Beat craze that was emerging from Belgium at the time, taking cues from the likes of The Confetti’s.

Petra is also a Eurosong regular. She appeared on the Belgian National Final in both 1993 and 1999, but it wasn’t until her 2006 participation under the moniker La Sakhra that she did well in the competition. In fact, was it not for Kate Ryan’s Eurovision stomper ‘Je T’Adore‘ it would have been ‘Wonderland‘ that represented Belgium in Athens.


Just Let Go
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_isV8q8i4U

However, today I wanted to tell you about ‘Angel‘, the song Petra hoped to shake off her old image with back in 2001.

I was surprised to find out that none other than Pole Folder was involved in the making of this song. This Belgian DJ, real name Benoit Franquet, is a brilliant trance producer who has had his music featured on shows as ‘Nip/Tuck’. My favourite song of his is ‘Faith In Me‘. It’s an incredible song that features the unbelievably chillingly gorgeous vocals of trance queen Kirsty Hawkshaw whom you may know as the voice on Tiësto’s ‘Just Be‘.

Unfortunately, just the involvement of this producer wasn’t enough to guarantee the success of this breathy tune. The single promos had to be sent out without a mention of who was singing on it for the “credible” radio stations to playlist it. If I remember correctly the song was pulled from certain channels when it was revealed that this was actually Petra’s latest effort. In the end, even a video featuring the singer only covered in a towel and her long hair fondling an almost naked black guy didn’t help.

Angel‘ spent one week in the Ultratop at number 50.