With their song, 'Release Me', Hooverphonic was chosen to represent Belgium in 2020. In light of the unfortunate cancellation of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest, we wish to highlight the impressive acts that were set to appear. This is 'In the spotlight', our feature honouring the artists that would have made up this year's edition of the world's largest live music event.
Public broadcaster VRT had the honour of announcing the first Eurovision Song Contest 2020 participant last October, selecting the band Hooverphonic to represent their country in Rotterdam.
Alex Callier, Hooverphonic's producer and songwriter, has been following the Eurovision Song Contest for years, both out of professional and personal interest. The glamour, quality of the artists and the international appeal make participation a logical next step for Hooverphonic.
Luka, too, has a link with Eurovision: in her early teens, she took part in the Belgian national selection for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The song she chose for her audition was Hooverphonic’s Happiness, which brings the Belgian Eurovision 2020 participation full circle.
Hooverphonic’s sound has seen an evolution from the earlier albums A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular and The Magnificent Tree to the recent (gold) album Looking For Stars. Songs like With Orchestra and In Wonderland show that Hooverphonic succeeds in sounding fresh time and time again, without sacrificing the identity of the band or the connection with their fans.
Their Eurovision 2020 entry, Release Me, was written by band member Alex Callier and was composed by Alex Callier and Italian composer Luca Chiaravalli. "The song is about saying goodbye. I wrote it when my father was terminally ill, but 'Release Me' has a universal theme: everyone has to deal with saying goodbye at one point in life, to a friend, family or lover," Alex said.
Luca Chiaravalli has previously co-written and co-arranged other Hooverphonic songs and has worked on multiple Sanremo entries throughout the years, notably on Sanremo winner Francesco Gabbani's (Italy 2017) Occidentali's Karma. The song reached 6th position in the Grand Final in Kyiv.
About the official music video for Release Me, the trio thinks it fits the song moving story: "Director Matthias Lebeer has captured the song's essence in a poetic and stylistic fashion that matches his signature style and perfectly aligns with Hooverphonic's world. If we have learned one thing, it's that a song that's written from personal experience will be received well. As if the audience feels the authenticity."
Who is Hooverphonic?
Over the course of their 25-year career, Hooverphonic developed an instantly recognizable sound, somewhere between trip-hop and pop. From day one, Alex Callier & Raymond Geerts (guitar player) have formed the core of the band and over the years, they have worked with a variety of singers. Since 2018, Luka Cruysberghs has been Hooverphonic’s singer. In 2017, she won The Voice of Flanders with Alex as her coach.
The band's work has been put to good use in television series, commercials and movies around the globe, and songs like Mad About You, Vinegar & Salt, Eden, 2Wicky, Badaboum, and Romantic have become cornerstones of Belgium's musical heritage.
READ MORE: Hooverphonic's participant profile
Although the band expressed some sadness about not being able to perform on the Eurovision stage in 2020, they took to Instagram to assure fans that they are in good spirits and putting this time to great use: "Make no mistake, we fully understand our government's decision. Safety first.
But boy, are we going to miss you guys this summer... In the meantime, we remain in good spirits and are creating brand new songs as we speak. Music rules. Always."
You can follow Hooverphonic on the following social media platforms:
Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest
Belgium is one of the founding countries of the Eurovision Song Contest, participating in the very first competition in 1956. Two public broadcasters in Belgium alternate their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest; RTBF, the French-language broadcaster and VRT, the Flemish broadcaster.
Both RTBF and VRT have used national finals as well as internal selections for the Eurovision Song Contest. In recent years, Belgium has reversed its earlier fortunes in the Eurovision Song Contest having qualified for the Grand Final on more occasions than not.
READ MORE: Belgium's country page
Last year, Belgium was represented by Eliot Vassamillet, known simply as Eliot on stage, who was discovered in season 7 of The Voice Belgique. He sang the entry Wake Up which finished 13th in the First Semi-Final.