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!
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