America’s got the original one, Australia has Cody Simpson, so it was only a matter of time before even more Justin Bieber clones popped up on the music scene.
Spread across two posts I’ll be introducing you to the Benelux Biebers.
Different nationality, same formula: swishy hair, catchy pop and teenage girls stanning.
Ian Thomas is taking on duties for Belgium.
Launching himself through a viral video, this 14-year-old is sticking closely to the Justin Bieber playbook. The YouTube hit was shot by his stepdad, soap actor and singer Chris Van Tongelen, who secretly filmed Ian singing.
To solidify his place in pop as the Flemish Justin Bieber, his label had Ian release a translated version of Justin’s ‘Baby’. The song got him to a 15th place in the charts, just three spots down from where the original stranded.
However, being one of the most talked about new artists in Belgium has its downside too. After death threats on Facebook Ian had to have a police escort to school for his final exam.
Now, the question remains… Is Ian any good?
Well, is he the best singer ever? No. Is he the best dancer ever? No. Was that ‘Baby’ cover really necessary? Not quite.
But am I excited to hear more? Yes, I am.
The Belgian music scene could do with another male popstar. Yes, we have the likes of Nelson and Brahim, but who’s going to give us our own ‘All Day‘, ‘iYiYi‘ or ‘One Less Lonely Girl‘?
I’m hoping Ian Thomas will.
PS: I’m pretty sure the video below will make some of you never want to check out an Ian Thomas song ever again, so I thought it was worth mentioning that this one was produced by AJ Duncan.
I’m assuming he’ll be on board for the entire project, so considering his past credentials as half of Duncan & Wilde, producing Kate Ryan and Zirkus Zirkus‘ first albums among other things, you may want to not write Ian off just yet.
Since writing this post Ian Thomas has released two more singles. The excellent second single “Autograph” was released both in Dutch and in English.
Originally “Kiss Kiss” (which you may know in the version of Kim Hyun) was planned as a third single, but when Ian broke his wrist during the video shoot, “You Got Me Down” (whose video had already been shot) was released instead.
All singles are available on his debut album “More Than A Game” of which an expanded Limited Edition has been released. It includes four extra songs, one of which is Ian’s take on “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.
“More Than A Game” by Ian Thomas is available on Spotify and iTunes.
See also: Charley says LIST! Benelux Biebers (Part 2) Ralf Mackenbach