Esmee Denters: From YouTube to world tour
Esmee Denters: From YouTube to world tour
Who: Esmee Denters opening for Honor Society
When: Thursday, Nov. 5
Where: Backbooth, 37 W. Pine St., Orlando
Admission: $15 (all ages)
On the Web: www.esmeeworld.com
Esmée Denters, the 21-year-old Dutch singer, had perhaps the most unusual rise to fame that one could imagine. After posting a series of cover songs on YouTube, Esmée caught the attention of record insiders that introduced her to Justin Timberlake. After a short meeting with Justin following a concert, Esmée was signed to the new Justin Timberlake division of Interscope Records known as Tennman Records.
I spoke to Esmée about how she was discovered, her future and her style of music, so Let's "Shake, Rattle & Know": Esmée Denters.
SRK: You were discovered in the most unconventional way. Have you had time to really take it all in yet?
Denters: Not really. It has been a really crazy journey for me. When I look back on it and think how I started out on YouTube in my bedroom to now playing all over the world and working with Justin Timberlake, it's amazing to me and I feel so lucky.
SRK: Were you making your YouTube clips with the hope of being discovered or was that just some fortunate by-product of it?
Denters: I really didn't put them up there for that reason. I just wanted to know what people thought of my voice besides my family and friends. I mean somewhere in the back of my mind, of course I was thinking, "wouldn't it be cool to be discovered and make it big someday," but I never thought that YouTube was going to be my vehicle for making that happen.
SRK: I'm sure working with Justin Timberlake has been a thrill, but did you also find it to be intimidating because of his level of success?
Denters: In the beginning I really did. When I was in the studio I wanted to write some on my own for the record. I was in the developing phase and working one-on-one with him was intimidating at first because he has written so many hit songs and I had done nothing to that point. He was so nice and so humble that it really made it easy to work with him.
SRK: You are new to the songwriting process, so what type of subjects do you draw on for your songs?
Denters: Just about anything. Some songs are very personal to me about relationships I have had or whatever and some are just observation of things my friends have gone through. I may write about something I saw in a movie that sparked an idea. I also try to write about things people can relate to. It can't be so personal no one else would understand. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with only a title in my head and then I write an entire song around that concept.
SRK: Which do you enjoy more -- recording or performing live?
Denters: They are both so very different. Now that I have been working in the studio for so long it is exciting to be out playing live and see the reactions of people. I have only been performing live for one year. Before that it was just singing in my bedroom in front of a camera for YouTube clips. I had never performed in front of people until Justin put me on his pre-show and I had to sing in front of 50,000 people. I was scared at first, but the audience reaction makes it worth it, it's an amazing feeling.
SRK: How would you best describe your own style of music?
Denters: I would say Pop R&B. I grew up in Europe, but I was inspired by a lot of American artists. My music has some dance stuff to it, but it also has some very serious songs on it as well. I'm 21 years old, and it shows on the record. I like to go out and have a good time with friends and my music reflects that.
SRK: What is the single greatest piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Denters: I got some advice from the most amazing woman -- Oprah Winfrey. Just meeting her was amazing. She said to me, "Always keep your feet on the ground, but wear better shoes."
SRK: If you could work with any artist in the world, that you have not already worked with, who would it be and why?
Denters: Alicia Keys. Not only is she an incredible artist, but she has an amazing personality as well. Her music really touches me. I think we could make some great music together.