Posts Tagged ‘Tom Dice’

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

 

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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! Meanwhile At SonicAngel…

June 9, 2011

The people at SonicAngel have been busy!

Axeela finally released her second single with Maurice Engelen’s record label.

Back in May of last year Axeela got herself noticed at Tom Dice’s album launch and a couple of months later the Junior Eurovision alum had her very own single out. I got a chance to talk to her then about ‘What Do You Want From Me?‘, what the future has in store for this young popstar and how Christina isn’t copying Gaga.

The best thing about ‘Hump Hump’, Axeela’s new song, is having the anthemic chorus blast out of your speakers. In it she tells us: “I’m a saint and a sinner, a virgin and a stripper, dangerous like the Jack Ripper…” That about covers it all, no?

Right before that first chorus Axeela tells us “Let me introduce myself” and to have as many people possible hear her introduction, ‘Hump Hump’ can not only be heard on www.axeela.com, it’s available as a free legal download there as well!

From one child star on to another. If you’ve seen the excellent JESC documentary ‘Sounds Like Teen Spirit’ you may be familiar with Bab. She may have missed out on going to the 2007 international final in Rotterdam, but her ‘Laat Mij Gerust‘ became a tween favourite. A couple of singles followed and eventually an album was given away with a magazine. It’s a shame more people didn’t get to hear it as second single ‘Zo Is Er Maar Één‘ was far from the only rockin’ pop tune on there.

Having outgrown the tween rock, Bab is now signed to SonicAngel and has settled herself nicely into the singer/songwriter niche.

Bab – Wounds
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgI3rASyiL8 

Wounds‘ is her first single through her new label and her first in English. I’m in two minds about this one. On the one hand it’s a gorgeous laid back track, but it doesn’t scream ‘big comeback single’ to me. And why is it called ‘Wounds‘? That title doesn’t really trigger any specific bit of the song when thinking of it. I guess I just expected a little more instant-ness.

That being said, I’m curious to hear what else Bab and SonicAngel come up with together!

Continuing our theme of talent show acts, I’ve been meaning for ages to write an update on Simon Sins.

Since we last talked about the Wannasing? winner he got signed, but has already left the SonicAngel family again. Let’s hope we somehow get to hear some new music from him soon anyway!

In Simon’s place have come  a whole bunch of new signings, including Rodwan Belkaïd and Koko Moon (aka Karim Lequenne). Between the addition of these two and already having Tom Dice, Alice Avery and Mathieu & Guillaume on their roster, it would seem that SonicAngel have nearly every X Factor 2008 contestant signed up!

There’s one more popstar you should already be familiar with that has reinvented herself and is trying her luck through this label, but I’ll be giving her a special post of her own. Be sure to watch out for that sometime soon on Charley says POP!

Right, that about concludes this update on SonicAngel.

I’ll be leaving you with the very first Airis video. Laura Van Den Bruel, as she’s known in everyday life, sang her way to a record contract in teen magazine Joepie’s Talent Booth competition. Her YouTube rendition of Celine Dion’ ‘I’m Alive’ won her the chance to record ‘Wonderful‘, the song that should make her Belgium’s very own Taylor Swift.

Enjoy!

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

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! Pearl – Like A Video Game

April 24, 2011

I jumped up out of my seat in excitement when I spotted this!

Nearly a year ago I interviewed dance producer Peter Luts in anticipation of his new talent show Looking For Pearl. A year earlier he’d found a new singer for his best known project, Lasgo, through a similar contest. This time round the goal was to start up something entirely new.

Some well known faces came to audition, Marjolein Lecluyze being one of them. You may remember her as part of the ill-fated group Popz, but she is best known for the music she released in 2006 and 2007. Singles like ‘Luister Naar M’n Hart‘ en ‘Kamer‘ may have been aimed at kids, but with Milk Inc.’s Regi on production duties I can’t deny playing the hell out of these songs.

Another known face was Charlotte Buyl. A couple of years earlier she’d made her first steps in the music business as part of Miss Behave on the Tom Dice season of X Factor. The group lost two members when they were booted out of the competition and after Charlotte decided to quit the band as well, the two remaining members formed Glamm. Free to pursue solo ambitions Charlotte entered Looking For Pearl.

Pearl – Speechless
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzEudd84sg0

The two girls made it to the final, with Charlotte taking the prize in the end.

Together with two dancers who were chosen on the show as well, she was now the face of Pearl.

The video for ‘Speechless‘, their very first single, was released soon after the contest ended. The Peter Luts produced dance track did pretty well in the charts, and deservedly so, as Charlotte delivers on the song’s awesome chorus.

Now, about seven months later, Pearl is finally back for music video number two.

Like A Video Game‘ has Charlotte strutting through Movie Park Germany, with none other than Pacman as love interest. The song may take a couple of listens, but will lodge itself firmly into your head.

And one thing’s for sure, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to those Peter Luts synths.

See also: Charley says INTERVIEW! Peter Luts

Charley says ARTIST! Simon Sinnaeve

October 1, 2010

Because every self respecting tv channel needs its own talent show, TMF launched Wanna Sing? in 2007.

The Flemish music channel used the same concept as it did for Rate The Video and Rate The VJ. While each contestant does their bit, viewers get to text in their comments and a score from 0 to 10. The person with the highest average score gets to progress.

The show attracted some familiar faces like Popstars and Eurosong 2008 contestant Kenza. Also taking part was Miss Belgian Beauty finalist Tamara Opdebeeck, who was already recording as Noa Neal and went on the be the runner-up in ‘K2 Zoekt K3’ in 2009.

However, there can only be one winner and for Wanna Sing? that was Simon Sinnaeve.

The West-Flemish boy won a performance at the TMF Awards and got to release ‘Your Eyes‘.


Simon Sinnaeve, popstar and Belgium’s first national beerpong champion.

While the song isn’t particularly spectacular, I do love this pop/rock-ish tune. It’s refreshing to have a winner’s single that sounds current enough, fits the singer well and has a lovely looking video. Three points not many Belgian talent show debuts manage to tick off!

Wanna Sing? being on a small channel may not have stopped the product from being a bit amazing, but it did mean few people got to know about Simon’s music career. ‘Your Eyes‘ unfortunately never made it out of the Bubbling Under chart.

With no plans for a second single at Universal, Simon took to MySpace profiles and various YouTube accounts to have his voice be heard. An overview of his many projects can be found here on what I’m assuming is his personal MySpace.

Earlier this year he uploaded a video onto the SonicAngel and Joepie Talent Booth site. A girl by the name of Laura van den Bruel beat him to the top spot of the competition, but does this video shot at the SonicAngel studios indicate that Tom Dice’s label has a spot ready for Simon?

We may still be waiting for news on his music, but Simon was in the papers just a couple of days ago! What for? He hosted and won the very first Belgian beerpong championship.

That was a bit random.

Charley says ARTIST! Lords Of Acid

September 17, 2010

A month ago I was watching the ‘Sucker Punch‘ trailer and noticed a familiar song being used.

Vanessa Hudgens and Emily Browning were kicking ass to the 1994 Lords Of Acid single ‘The Crablouse‘!

I never got round to mentioning this on Charley says POP!, but I was just watching ‘De Vrijdagshow’, an entertainment news program, and apparently this is still considered ‘news’, so here I am posting about it anyway.

Lords Of Acid is a music project by Maurice Engelen. Maurice is also the man behind Praga Khan and late 90’s / early 00’s record label Antler Subway. Most recently he was an X Factor judge, co-founded the new label Sonic Angel and mentored Eurovision 2010 revelation Tom Dice.

In 1988 Lords Of Acid had their first hit with ‘I Sit On Acid‘, which would be ripped off years later on The Chemical Brother’s ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl‘. They went on to release four studio albums and were touring the States as recently as this year.

What with being born the year they broke through, I only got to known about this band around the time former ‘Wheel Of Fortune’-girl Deborah Ostrega was their lead singer.

In 2003 they released ‘Private Parts‘, an album which served as a collection of new songs and their greatest hits rerecorded with Deborah’s vocals.

It also includes the controversial video to ‘Gimme Gimme‘, which made a lasting impression to say the least!

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 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