29 September 2015

The Netherlands: Who is Douwe Bob?

Douwe Bob / Netherlands / Eurovision 2016
Douwe Bob

Douwe Bob to Represent the Netherlands at Eurovision 2016

You have to hand it to the Dutch: at least they're now daring enough to send some quality acts to Eurovision, even if the results are not all that they would have hoped for.

Following Trijntje Oosterhuis's semi-final blip in 2015, enter stage right a young man by the name of Douwe Bob (Posthuma), who will endeavour to steady the ship for The Netherlands in Stockholm. Although another product of the TV talent show conveyor belt, he has since enjoyed some considerable commercial success in his homeland.

He first came to the Dutch public's attention when, in 2012, he was victorious on television's The Best Singer-Songwriter in the Netherlands - a title which Posthuma himself considers somewhat ridiculous.

Nevertheless, his first self-composed outing was courtesy of Multicoloured Angels - a fast paced rocker with Country and Folk flavourings. Certainly a song which would have found favour in America's Country heartland, it soon became apparent that the Dutch definitely enjoyed it. They sent the track into the nation's Top 5, while its parent album, the self-penned Born in a Storm, sailed into the Top 10.

It is this country influence which permeates the majority of Posthuma's compositions - from the old school sounds of Johnny Cash to the roots rock of Chris Isaak, whose vocal styling Douwe Bob seems to accomplish with ease.

His voice has also been heard in duet with a previous Dutch Eurovision luminary, of course. The country's 2013 representative Anouk joined him on the song Hold Me earlier this year and this too proved to be a resounding success on the Dutch National Chart.

So, what can we expect from the 22-year-old at the 61st Eurovision Song Contest?

With Posthuma's proclivity for country rock, the Dutch team are cannily retracing a path fruitfully trodden by The Common Linnets in 2014.

At the time, what Ilse DeLange and Waylon gave the competition was the unexpected. No-one had previously tried their low key, yet modern country sound at Eurovision, probably believing that its chances of victory would be very slim. Add to that a toned down presentation and many were reluctant to give Calm After the Storm any hope of triumph.

However, The Netherlands could prove to be a dark horse again in 2016. In Douwe Bob, the nation has a high calibre performer who can sing live as well as write and produce memorable contemporary songs. He also succeeds in the somewhat shallow requirement of looking good for the television cameras.

The real question is though: 'Is he ready for the enormity of Eurovision?'

As a taster, here's a live rendition of the 2015 track Sweet Sunshine

Image by Jaap Stolk (wikiportret.nl) [CC BY 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

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