ESC+Plus has talked to Amaryllis Uitterlinden, finalist of the Belgian national selection for Eurovision, “Eurosong 2016”. The singer will perform “Kick The Habit” in the final to take place tomorrow.
ESC+Plus: Hello! First of all, thank you so much for your time and congratulations on having been selected to take part in the Belgian national selection for Eurovision 2016!
E+: Can you tell us about you, your musical career and important achievements?
I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. My mother is an actress so I spent a lot of time in theatres, dressing rooms, backstage etc. I loved it, it has always felt like home to me. I have had a very diverse career up till now. I enjoy the excitement of discovering new challenges.
I am a singer-songwriter and play the piano. I have recorded solo as well as with other great Belgian artists. In 2014 I recorded an album with Ozark Henry, Stay Gold. On the album was the hit single “I’m Your Sacrifice”, this song was a tremendous success in all of Europe. I have played small stages and stadiums. But I am also an actress. I have experience doing theatre, musical theatre, television, and last year I played the lead in my first movie: “Brabançonne”.
E+: What impelled you to take part in “Eurosong 2016”?
I think for me it was the timing of it all. I had been asked before in the past but it never felt right to me. You have to be ready for such an adventure. This time I was working on a new solo album when the question reached me. I was in New York where one of the producers came to talk to me about the opportunity. Very important to me and the decision to participate was that we would get full creative freedom to develop a song and act that was exactly suited for how we saw ourselves as artists/performers.
E+: How did you feel when you knew you had qualified for the final? Did you expect it?
In Belgium this year the process was a little different. It wasn’t an elimination race… 5 singers were selected to be developed and supported by our national television to present themselves as artists. We were given a great opportunity and platform. On the 17th of january in the final show one of the 5 will be selected to represent Belgium in the great Eurovision Song Contest. This will be determined by 50% belgium televoting and 50% the voice of an international European jury.
E+: What it would mean for you to represent Belgium? Can you tell us about your song “Kick The Habit”? What is the story behind the lyrics?
I think Belgium is a small country but it’s an extraordinary place. There is lot’s of creativity, great music, fashion, movies… In short, it excites me to represent for Belgium and give all of Europe a taste of that diversity.
Kick The Habit is a solid pop song with a sincere heartfelt message and a very catchy hook. The beauty of the string arrangement gives it a cinematic and dreamy feel and just when you thought you heard it… there is a surprising twist.
E+: Why do you think your song has to be selected for Stockholm? What are you strengths to reach the top in the competition?
I think there is no longer such a thing as ‘a typical Eurovision song’ but I do believe it’s important to do something different. Being different can be done in many ways. For me the strength of Kick The Habit is it’s relatable and it talks about emotions that people will recognise but it sounds different from many other songs. It is somewhat out of the ordinary. On the other hand I think my versatility could be an asset on a stage like the Eurovision stage. As an actress I can bring something extra to a performance.
E+: How are you preparing your stage performance for “Eurosong 2016”?
I am very excited that the song that was selected is written entirely by me but equally important to me is the act! As an actress I enjoy dramatic theatrics. So I have been hard at work creating an act that visually equally exciting as musically. It will be an exciting adventure, for sure.
E+: Do you usually watch Eurovision? What are your favourite songs in the history of the competition?
I am a fan of old school Eurovision probably because I miss the days of the full orchestra. I would’ve loved to sing with an orchestra that size! More recently I have seen Eurovision evolve and take many shapes and forms. Nowadays I think musically almost anything is possible.
I think Conchita Wurst was an incredible singer and performer, Loic Nottet did an amazing job for our country last year (in my opinion) and many more songs… Poupée De Cire, Euphoria, Satellite, Birds… Its a long list of interesting songs.
E+: If you could choose a Eurovision former participant to sing with, who would it be?
Maybe the Common Linnets that represented the Netherlands a few years back?
E+: Besides Eurovision, what are your plans for this year?
I am working on a full album, I have plans to tour, more movie plans and perhaps musical theatre in the fall, depending on the timing of my solo career plans.
E+: Finally, can you send a message for our readers and Eurovision fans?
I hope this year will be a crazy ride full of beautiful voices, crazy staging and haunting songs. I wish every country all the best of luck and fans a memorable show!
E+: Thanks for your time and good luck!