Posts Tagged ‘Laura Omloop’

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 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 WEEK! 2010.21

May 30, 2010

Idool 2004 finalist Born Crain had some major label hits with ‘Don’t Ever Go‘ and ‘Walking In The Sun‘. Even Japan had a soft spot for the red haired Belgian with the glasses. Earlier this year uplifting pop/rock anthem ‘Tell The World‘ marked his comeback as an independent artist. Born co-wrote the song with Mark Frisch and Anthony Galatis, the people responsible for Katerine’s ‘Here Come All The Boys‘. (By now you’ve probably figured out that I may just as well retitle this blog ‘Six Degrees Of Katerine Avgoustakis’)

Charley says VIDEO! Wouter Hamel ft. Giovanca & Dox’ Family – As Long As We’re In Love
[http://tinyurl.com/3yyrc7l]

Charley says ARTIST! Yasmina Karraz aka Yazzmin
[http://tinyurl.com/38db6a5]

Charley says SONG! The Tamperer ft. Maya – I Love Being A Girl
[http://tinyurl.com/2v683ca]

Charley says LIST! If You’re Only Just Joining Us
[http://tinyurl.com/358z9zb]

Charley says ARTIST! Katy Satyn
[http://tinyurl.com/32p3hpd]

Charley says SONG! Dean – Someday
[http://tinyurl.com/39wy6mf]

Charley says SONG! Nicole & Hugo – Baby Baby
[http://tinyurl.com/2w8qh7s]

Charley says ALBUM! Tom Dice – Teardrops
[http://tinyurl.com/38dhzuv]

Charley says ARTIST! Louis Talpe
[http://tinyurl.com/3xwv5b6]

Charley says SONG! Femme Fatale – Décadence
[http://tinyurl.com/32gtoyd]

Charley says EUROVISON! The Year Flanders Saved Itself
[http://tinyurl.com/3453e6l]

Charley says EUROVISION! Oslo 2010 In A Tweet (Parts 1-8)
[http://tinyurl.com/34vuykf]

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 VIDEO! X!nk – Denk Aan Mij

March 20, 2010

Today I picked up the album ‘Vergif‘ by X!nk, who shot to fame in 2003 when they represented Belgium at the very first Junior Eurovision Song Contest with ‘De Vriendschapsband‘. Seven years later it’s still one of our best scoring JESC entries, second only to Laura’s amazing 2009 bubblegum pop yodeling anthem ‘Zo Verliefd (Yodelo)‘.

By the time their sophomore album came around in 2005 the boys had grown into teenagers, with lead singer Jonas becoming the most inappropriately fanciable popstar since Calvin Goldspink. The second time round their album still had a lot of garage rehearsal rock on it, with singles ‘Hou Ons Niet Tegen’ en ‘De Andere Kant’ being slightly more polished.

However, the true highlight on ‘Vergif’, and as far as I’m concerned of X!nk’s entire output, is ‘Denk Aan Mij‘. It takes me straight back to the summer of 2005 when the video was on the music channels all the time. Pretty impressive for what was essentially a music act aimed at kids and singing in Dutch. Maybe it’s nostalgia to being a teenager myself, but don’t you wish your summers still looked like they do in the ‘Denk Aan Mij’ video?

Charley says LIST! Two Songs I Enjoy Way More Than I Ought To

March 14, 2010


What: Laura – Cowboymeisje
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTruqFp-5Ow
About: Laura singlehandedly saved the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Flanders coming in fourth in 2009 with her yodeling and bubblegum pop anthem ‘Zo Verliefd‘.
Why I enjoy this way more than I ought to: Because it has yodeling over a countrified europop beat. Because she sings things like “Will you be the sheriff of my heart?”. Because of the way she pronounces the word ‘speciaal’. Because it’s the best country gimmick in pop since Rednex. Did I mention it has yodeling over a countrified europop beat?


What: Marlous – Je Zeurt Teveel (via NLpop)
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNXcmculB_k
About: Marlous may not have won the Dutch 2010 Nationaal Songfestival, but she certainly made a name for herself clashing with coach Corry Konings.
Why I enjoy this way more than I ought to: Because I love trashy singers who badly want to make it. Because of the DIY video. Because of the manic eyebrow movements. Because despite the schlager cheesiness of the song, which was originally by Mouth of Mouth & MacNeal fame, it’s a singalong anthem. Because of the line “Take care, now fuck off” right before the last chorus.

*bows head in shame, but not really*