I want to welcome you to another fantastic episode of Watch Out. Since the beginning of WO I’ve been luck to have the opportunity to interview so many fantastic people. This week I am thrilled to have the honor to interview someone who you’ve heard me mention here before, Danzel.
Danzel, welcome to Watch Out. It is such a pleasure to be interviewing you. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here.
SC: For those readers out there who are not familiar with you or your music, can you please tell the readers a little about yourself.
D: My name is Danzel, at least that’s my artist-name, my real name is Johan Waem, 34 years old and I still live in the same place as where i was born, namely Beveren, close to Antwerp in Belgium.
I had a breakthrough in my career in 2004 when I released “Pump it up”, which became a club-hit first, but soon crossed over to the radios and became a world hit which sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
More info on my biography can be found on my website www.danzel.be
SC: How did you get started in the music industry? Is it something you’ve always been passionate about?
D: I’ve been singing since i was a kid and started to play on semi-professional level in a band when i was 15, at that time we played mainly rock & Hard-rock.
Quite funny if you know that i make dance-music now, but I’ve always been interested in all kinds of styles, even classical… so yes, it was always in my blood.
SC: Most people have this view of what the music industry is. Being in the industry and seeing everything that goes on would you get into it again if you could turn back time?
D: Of course I would, even though it’s a tough business, and the last decades sales have dropped due to illegal downloading, it’s still about entertaining people and make people enjoy themselves, that’s where you get the biggest kick from every day…
SC: How would you describe your music in three words?
D:Uplifting, feelgood, straight forward
SC: Do you play any instruments? If so what do you play and how long have you been playing?
D: Guitar since I was 13, Piano since I was 16,Bass-guitar since I was 18.
SC: In 2003 you were one of the top 20 contestants who were selected for the Belgian version of Idol. That must have been an amazing experience. How has being on the show helped you get to where you are today?
D: It was a great experience, since it was also the first version in Belgium, so was seriously hyped. It was a great learning school regarding press and TV, and a great tool to show a big amount of people what you were made of.
It’s extremely difficult to get attention on the music-market, so a program like that helps a lot… I also met my first producer and record-company through Idol, so it was in some way the start of my professional career.
SC: What is the largest crowd you’ve ever played?
D: 225.000 people in Paris…
SC: Do you still get nervous before you get on stage? Any rituals you might have right before a show?
D: I never had that actually, maybe strange, but when I was next to the stage in Paris for example i was very calm.
No rituals before a show, but I fly a lot, and I have one ritual and that’s that I always touch the plane with my right hand when we board.
SC: In 2006 you represented Poland in the Eurovision Contest with Undercover. What made you decide to choose Poland?
D: Because since 6 years it has been and still is one of my biggest markets, and countries where I get the most amazing audiences and respect, so when they asked me i was very honoured and decided to thank them by saying yes.
SC: What is a typical day for you like when you are not on tour and when you are on tour?
D: Not on tour : I have 2 children, so not every day but regularly i take them to school, and then check emails, appointments, and a lot of studio-time of course.But mainly I try to lead a normal life during weekdays and spend enough time with my family.
On tour : If I don’t have to wake up too early I like to sleep in, it’s one of my hobbies :-))
But most of the time it’s traveling from one show to another and from one airport to another hotel etc…
I get to see a lot of countries and cultures but most of the time I don’t have the time to enjoy the scenery
SC: What is your favourite part about being a performer?
D: That’s very simple, seeing how people are moved by your music is one of the most beautiful things in life…
SC: If you were stuck on a desert island what 3 things would you have to have with you?
D: Definitely a woman, and not for cooking, i can do that myself :-))
I hate to say it, but CIGARETTES…. unfortunately I’m a heavy smoker.
And a guitar… to live without sound would be difficult…
SC: What would you like to achieve still when it comes to your career?
D: I’ve sold a lot of music in Japan, but I’ve never done a show there, that is still high on my list.
But for the rest i always say that it would be scandalous to ask for even more, I’ve already seen and experienced so many beautiful things…
SC: I’v noticed that you are pretty active on facebook talking to your fans and hanging out. Do you think it is important for an artist to have a connection with fans on social networks like facebook, twitter, my space and all the other places?
D: Internet has become the number 1 tool to promote your music, and it connects you so much faster with the people who appreciate what you do, so yes, this is very important to me.
SC: Who are some of your musical influences?
D: As I said, I have different back-ground, i started playing music because of bands like Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, so that style will always be in my heart.
On the other hand i make dance music now and some of the biggest influences now are David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, Faithless…
SC: What is your favourite song off your latest CD Unlocked?
D: Maybe strange, but it’s “Unlocked”, the ballad. I love writing ballads and not a lot of people know that i also make ballads.
SC: How much has your personal life influenced your music?
D: None actually, all my songs are never based on my own experiences or feelings, maybe i block this somehow and keep that private.
SC: Since I am an author I have to ask. What kind of books do you like to read? Any favourite authors?
D: Authors not really, because i mainly read documented works on various subjects, like Stellar movement, planets, Nostradamus, Ancient Egypt, numerology etc…
SC: Where can people go to find out more about you and your music?