Posts Tagged ‘Junior Eurovision’

Charley says VIDEO! Jill Shaw – Summer Sucks

June 2, 2012

Without a doubt, Jill Shaw is the new artist of summer 2012 for me. “Summer Sucks” is one hell of a debut single and one of the best things to come out of Belgium in a while. Even that single cover is popstar perfect!

Jill’s voice has that bubblegum pop quality to it (God, how I’ve missed that in the charts) but she roughens the total package up with confidence, guitars and attitude. Think a harder pop/rocking M2M if they weren’t such prudes. “Don’t say you love me, you don’t even know me“? Jill wouldn’t even have bothered with your name.

Two years ago a then 15-year-old by the name of Jill Van Vooren entered the Belgian Junior Eurovision selections. As one half of duo Jill & Lauren she deservedly won a ticket to Belarus with “Get Up!“, still the pop-iest Belgian JESC entry to date.

Her partner in crime Lauren De Ruyck has since launched a solo career as Lauren Anny J, is starring in musicals and has been cast in the popular kids’ series Galaxy Park. Now it’s Jill’s time to shine, having signed to Sony Music and working with the team who were behind Eline De Munck’s excellent Ellektra phase.

Summer Sucks” comes with a gorgeous video which was shot in Costa Rica. The track starts with an intro reminiscent of the opening to Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever” and once you rock your way through the undeniably catchy chorus there’s no turning back. This’ll be in your head till fall. If summer’s going to suck, having this song around will no doubt make up for that.


International readers, should the YouTube video not work, you can check out “Summer Sucks” here too.

“Summer Sucks” by Jill Shaw is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Follow Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

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Charley says VIDEO! Who Are The CloneZ – Good TimeZ

April 27, 2012

Dutch production team Future Presidents are so awesome that they’d honestly deserve an entire blog post of their own. Not only have they been ensuring that Dutch kiddiepop is sounding better than half of what’s in the charts, they’ve given proper grown-up Benelux popstars some of their most awesome tracks as well. Just ask EliZe or Lester & Abdou!

Their latest project is the mysteriously named Who Are The CloneZ? Little is known about the project, other than that the video features an awesomely cute dance crew with an average age of about 9. You may have seen some of these kids before on Dutch tv talent show Junior Dance.

Don’t let that put you off though as “Good TimeZ” sounds like Rock Mafia’s “The Big Bang” made a baby while listening to “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. Oh, and if you’re going to count the pop culture references in the song’s lyrics you might want to get yourself another pair of hands in advance!

“Good TimeZ” by Who Are The CloneZ is available on Spotify and iTunes.

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…

Charley says TV! Axelle on The Voice Van Vlaanderen

February 10, 2012

Back in 2010 I posted how Axelle Aerts just might the new best thing in Belgian pop and come 2012 it looks like the rest of the country is starting to agree!

Having taught herself to sing by recording Christina Aguilera’s “Stripped” album over and over on a tape recorder, at the age of 10 Axelle knew exactly what she wanted in life. She took her first steps towards fulfilling that dream of singing by competing in the 2006 Belgian Junior Eurovision selection as one half of girl duo Lizz@xy and winning a support slot on Flemish superstar Natalia‘s Glamorous tour a couple of years later.

In 2010 pop stardom was just around the corner when Axelle recorded “What Do You Want From Me” and teamed up with then upcoming label SonicAngel for its release. Despite having cost her dad €6000 at the time, the video for her first release under the name Axeela is no longer up online. Despite introducing the song at Eurovision star and label mate Tom Dice’s album launch, the catchy pop anthem peaked at a disappointing #48 in the charts. After follow-up “Hump Hump” was given away as a free download on www.axeela.com things sadly went quiet around the promising singer.


Axelle – It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
(Audition at The Voice Van Vlaanderen)

http://vtm.be/the-voice-van-vlaanderen/artikel/axelle

Enter The Voice. The talent show that brought her idol Christina back to relevance, was set to do the same for Axelle. Before she’d even finished the opening line of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” all four chairs had turned and she found herself a red hot favourite in Belgium’s best watched talent show. Under guidance of coach Natalia (yes, the same Natalia she’d toured with earlier) she got rid of her annoying “diva hands” and steamrolled her way through the battle episodes with Gaga and Beyoncé’s “Telephone”.

Tonight sees Axelle taking the stage in the The Voice Van Vlaanderen live shows. Here’s to hoping her rendition of Jessie J’s “Domino” will convince Flanders to pick up their phone, as despite being up against some great voices and likeable talents Axelle is without a doubt the proper popstar of the bunch.

However, even should she get booted off by some freak televote accident, at least we’ll have a brand new shiny studio recording from the girl. As with other international adaptations of The Voice all performances are available for purchase on iTunes right after each live show.

Even better, the first tracks by all 24 finalists have been bundled on one CD that is in stores as of today! Considering her prominent place on the album cover I can’t imagine being the only one to believe in Axelle’s popstar power…

If you can’t wait for tonight’s episode -or for international readers, tomorrow’s performance clip here– check out some more songs from Axelle’s past in this old blog post while reading my 2010 interview with her!

See also: Charley says ARTIST! Axeela
See also: Charley says INTERVIEW! Axeela

Charley says LIST! Benelux Biebers (Part 2) Ralf Mackenbach

June 1, 2011

Perhaps it’s a little unfair to describe Ralf Mackenbach as the Dutch Bieber. It was a couple of months before Justin finally managed a spot in the top regions of the Dutch charts that Ralf was already going top 10.

A year before the likes of Tom Dice and Lena proved that Western Europe can still do well at Eurovision, Ralf sang the Netherlands to victory at the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

His pop song ‘Click Clack‘, including no less than a tap break, beat the likes of Belgian yodelpop-singer Laura Omloop and Molly Sandén’s sister Mimmi. No small feat, considering the former went on to become one of Belgium’s best loved child stars and the latter had a song co-written by Alexander Kronlund of ‘If U Seek Amy’ and ‘Till The World Ends’ fame.

A couple of kiddy pop singles followed and when those did the job as well, Ralf started working on an album. This would include all singles, a medley, some tracks in Dutch, some in English and even a cover of the 2009 adult Eurovision winner ‘Fairytale’.

For the album’s lead single Ralf enlisted the creative talent of Future Presidents. This producers collective has some brilliant pop tunes to its name, having worked with the likes of Kim-Lian, Belgian X Factor alums Lester & Abdou and The Netherlands’ most underrated pop princess, EliZe. With ‘The Only One‘ Future Presidents wrote Ralf his very own ‘Baby’.

My favourite song of the album, however, is ‘Piano & Guitar‘. The minimalistic rocky beat reminds me of Roxane’s ill-fated ‘Better Part Of Me’ single and lyrically it’s the male, English language counterpart to ‘Ik Heb Je Gewist‘ by Kus.

Ralf tells how he removed you from his hard drive, erased you from his phone and how every letter that you ever sent, he gave them to the garbage man. However, he says: “But I can’t erase you from my head and I can’t erase you from my heart”.

Even if it is the seventh video of the album, I’m glad ‘Piano & Guitar‘ got the single treatment. I like it way too much for it to have remained just an album track.

Now, the album’s gone gold, it got into the Dutch top 10 and Ralf’s recent success on Dancing On Ice made him better known outside of the teen pop audience, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that album number two is currently in the works.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted and until then, here’s a little preview of what’s to come!

Update 08.04.2012:

Since writing this post Ralf has released his second album ‘Moving On’, which was lead by the single ‘Dance‘ and contained ‘Vandaag Is Het Feest‘ which got one of those “one take walk through an entire building” videos.

‘Ralf’ by Ralf is available on Spotify and iTunes.
‘Moving On’ by Ralf is available on Spotify and iTunes.

See also: Charley says LIST! Benelux Biebers (Part 1) Ian Thomas

Charley says VIDEO! Lisa, Amy & Shelley – Fout Ventje

October 3, 2010

Lisa, Amy & Shelley represented The Netherlands at the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

With a flawless delivery of their catchy ‘Adem In, Adem Uit‘ they had become the obvious winners of their national final. They finished at a somewhat disappointing 11th place on the big night itself, but did manage to get a music career out of it all.

Their first album, ‘300%‘, and its singles kind of passed me by, but with that era over and a couple of movie themes to their name, the three sisters have moved on to a bit of a new sound.

Basically, ‘Fout Ventje‘ is all kinds of amazing.

For the first few seconds I was a bit sceptic, but once the beat kicks in there is no doubt. This is the, pardon my Tyra, fiercest things these girls have ever come up with.

And the choreography! The choreography! If these aren’t the coolest moves you’ve ever seen that don’t even require getting up out of your chair, then I don’t know what is.

What’s it about? Lisa, Amy & Shelley are essentially calling out this guy for being an epic douchebag, listing why they are not impressed.

Amazing.

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 INTERVIEW! Axeela

July 8, 2010


“There’s a lot of people saying Christina’s copying Lady Gaga, but I don’t think she is”

A while ago I introduced you to Axeela, a promising new popstar from Belgium.

Since then, she’s released her debut single ‘What Do You Want From Me?‘, premiered the video for it and started her conquest of the Belgian pop scene.

It’s good to finally hear the studio version of the song and rest assured, the “Aw Aw, Aw Aw…” bits in the intro still sound amazing!

I recently got to talk to this young singer. After the jump you’ll find our conversation where we discussed her new single, being on the hottest new label, her Eurovision history and how Christina Aguilera did the Lady Gaga thing first!

Dutch: Ook voor de originele Nederlandstalige versie van het interview kan je doorklikken!

(more…)

Charley says TV! My Camp Rock

July 7, 2010

Yesterday I spent some time watching the audition episodes of My Camp Rock on the Belgian Disney Channel site.

My Camp Rock is a co-production between Belgium and The Netherlands. Inspired by the movie of the same name the show is looking for a new kid or teen singing sensation. The show is hosted by talent show veterans Dean and Sita. Dean won Idool 2007 in Flanders, while Sita won a place in the band K-Otic on the Dutch show Starmaker back in 2001. Head of the judges is vocal coach Babette Labeij, who works on all the big Dutch talent shows. Earlier this year she released an album of her own, fronted by the amazing pop/rock single ‘Stupid Woman’.

Local adaptations of My Camp Rock have already aired on various Disney Channels around the world. British winner Holly-Anne Hull got her trophy handed to her by Demi Lovato and Martina Russomanno from Italy was even joined by Joe Jonas himself on winner’s song ‘This Is Me‘. I only found one series where a duo won. Cynthia and Félix released a translated cover of ‘We Rock‘ after winning the French version of My Camp Rock.

It’ll be a while before we find out who wins for Belgium and The Netherlands, as for some reason the next few episodes will only air at the end of August. What we do know is that there is some Junior Eurovision talent taking another shot at stardom. Among the participants were duo Cheyenne & Mayleen, who reached the Dutch national final in 2009 with ‘Druk‘. Also present were semi-finalist Haruka and runner-up Manou from Belgian Junior Eurosong 2009.

While we’re talking Camp Rock, my favourite cover from this movie has to be Nikki’s version of ‘This Is Me‘. Having just won Idols at the time, the Dutch singer recorded this video to promote the movie’s then upcoming release.