I was born and raised in the picturesque town of Middelburg, Holland in the southwest of the country. The city is over 1,000 years old and has some amazing history.
In 2004, I got a bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy, but after a year working in that field, I ran away on a trip to Antigua, Guatemala. I spent four months there volunteering with children. One day, whilst I was having beers in a local music bar, I ran into a fabulous singer from Boston, Annie Goodchild, with whom I started a band, Melou. We spent the next five years touring Europe and the northeast of the States.
Along the way we met New York producer Dave Bianchi, who had just opened a new studio in Barcelona. He invited us to try it out and that turned into our first album, Communication (2007). That was my first encounter with Barcelona. When the band split up, I decided to record my first solo EP, Write Me Notes (2010), so I stayed.
Since the moment I set foot in Barcelona, I have been surrounded by artists of all kinds. At first it was mainly musicians, but now I have a big circle of actors, dancers and musicians, and that’s inspiring. There is so much happening—I play in five totally different bands—that’s what I love about the city. On the acting side, there’s enough movement to build experience and grow, and I’m grabbing it with both hands!
I keep my creativity fuelled by staying inspired. I go back and forth between music and acting, and it never gets boring. When I finish an album, I start an acting course or a shoot, and after the film shoot, I go and play a concert. What I learn in acting, I apply to my music writing, so I’m growing all the time—it’s wonderful. I also find inspiration in the openness of people here, which is different to where I’m from.
I don’t like competition much. I was very competitive when I was younger, but now I see the value in people supporting each other. I’m not the best songwriter, but I’m good at collaborating with others. I also believe I’m lucky to be part of a big circle of wonderful musicians, where I always feel support instead of competition.
Gràcia is, without a doubt, my favourite neighourhood in the city. I’ve been living there for five years. It’s wonderful and cosy, really local with lots of cool shops opening up over the years.
For live music, I believe there’s talent everywhere as long as you know where to look. Playing concerts and jamming in Barcelona is really very strange, because you can never tell what is going to happen, and venues differ hugely. You can have the best show ever, and people are just talking without noticing you’ve even finished your set! Or you have a bad day and people come and ask if you have CDs for sale. Personally, I like Barcelona because of the diversity of musical styles that exist here, and right now I’m having so much fun doing what I do—making music with beautiful people and developing my skills as an actor.
I’m always busy, which is a good thing. I recently had a casting for a TV series in Madrid; I’m shooting a short movie in Holland at the beginning of the month, which is the first one in my mother tongue; I’ve just released a new album alongside Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Viñals’ group, Iluminata, and we recently performed together at the Nunoff Festival, which is one of my favourites! Next month, I’m touring with my Argentinian brothers in Holland and then I’ll be starting a new acting course.
There is no age limit for starting any type of career, creative or otherwise. Be open and listen to that creative volcano you have inside of you—just trust it and let it burst. I started acting when I was 32. Pretty late, but I know people who started acting when they were 56. If that’s what you want to do, just do it. Nothing and no one should stop you from following your dreams!