TRIJNTJE OOSTERHUIS

2015 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

Trijntje Oosterhuis (5 February 1973) is this year’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands. With a violinist for a mother and a renowned theologian and poet for a father, she comes from a very creative and musical Amsterdam family. Together with her brother Tjeerd, who wrote several songs for the Song Contest, Trijntje formed the highly successful band Total Touch for years. In 1996 ‘Somebody’s Else’s Lover‘ became a huge hit, both in the Netherlands and abroad.

Even as a teenager, Trijntje performed with her brother at the musical bars in Amsterdam. That’s where she was scouted by the world famous saxophonist Candy Dulfer, who would later take her on a world tour. By that time, the girl from Amsterdam was already the most sought-after female singer in the Netherlands.

She excels in various musical genres – from jazz and soul to Dutch-language – and has an impressive track record of performances and achievements. In 1996 she performed the hymn ‘De Zee‘ (The Sea) in front of 50,000 people during the opening of the Amsterdam ArenA, home to the Ajax football club. She sang a duet with Andrea Bocelli, in 2002 she sang ‘We are the Champions‘ with the legendary band Queen in the Amsterdam Museum Square, and she was the supporting act for Michael Jackson. At age 24, she performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, side by side with jazz legend Herbie Hancock. She also shared the stage with the Algerian star Khaled. The singer does not want to be limited to one musical style. With her music, she reaches every layer of the Dutch people, including the Royal Family, for whom she performed more than once. “As a human being and as a singer, I am constantly developing”, says Trijntje, “and that is the reason why I don’t want to be pinned down to one single musical genre.” And about her drive as a singer: “A credible performance is what it has always been about for me. As long as I can put my heart into it, I’ll always be fine.”

In 2003 – after the successful years with the band Total Touch – she launched her first solo album, followed, in 2004, by the successful jazz album Strange Fruit. Very special was her cooperation with the famous American songwriter Burt Bacharach. The release, in 2006, of the album The Look of Love, filled with Bacharach songs, was a huge international success and resulted, among other things, in a Japanese tour. Bacharach was so enthusiastic that he wrote a whole new song specially for Trijntje that ended up on her award-winning album Who’ll Speak For Love. Trijntje on that cooperation: “It was a dream come true to work with Burt Bacharach.” And the grandmaster about the singer: “I was most of all taken aback by the emotion she puts into her singing.”

Her versatility has brought her to many places around the world. In 2008, she did three stadium concerts with pop star Lionel Richie, with whom she also recorded the successful single Face in The Crowd. A year later, the singer surprised the world with an impressive yet modest tribute to the late Michael Jackson. With the accompanists of jazz diva Diana Krall, she recorded the album Sundays in New York. “They are the crème de la crème of jazz. But once you get on stage, or hit the studio, together, you all start from scratch and everyone is equal.”

In the Netherlands, she wins important music awards, including the Edison and the Golden Harp, and she is a judge for The Voice. She performs for sold-out concert halls with the occasional formation Ladies of Soul, also featuring Glennis Grace, the Dutch entry for the Song Contest in 2005, and Edsilia Rombley. The latter not only entered the Song Contest in 1998 and 2007, but she is also Trijntje’s sister-in-law by her marriage to Tjeerd.

And now Trijntje herself enters the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Walk Along. Before, the time was not right – also because of too many previous engagements. But Trijntje changed her mind when, in 2013, Anouk entered the Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song Birds, successfully followed by The Common Linnets, last year’s runner-up – the best Dutch result since 1975. “It was now or never for me. The funny thing is that it was my two children who brought up the Song Contest a while ago. They said: ‘Mum, wouldn’t it be really cool if you entered?’ That shows me that the Song Contest in the Netherlands has regained popularity among the younger generation since a couple of years.”

Anouk, who had written songs for Trijntje before, and with whom she has recorded an album that is to be released in May, is one of the authors of Walk Along. “I heard Walk Along and I immediately felt that this will show a whole new side of me. So I’ll be very proud to be singing this song in Vienna for such a huge audience.” That brings us to the last question: why would a singer with such a huge track record want to take the risk of entering the world’s largest song contest? “I think every true performer should enter the Song Contest. Because it takes power and energy, and it’s really exciting to bring out the best in yourself, especially under those circumstances.”