From the football pitch to the stage at the PalaOlimpico here in Turin, Belgium’s Jérémie Makiese is truly a man of many talents.
This renaissance man, who grew up in both the Flemish and French speaking parts of Belgium, is likely best known to his domestic audience as the winner of the ninth series of The Voice Belgique. However, he’s also known as a force to be reckoned with on the field, having played as a keeper for a number of Belgian professional clubs. Balancing his two passions hasn’t been easy, but he’s found that his experiences with one have helped him with the other.
Eurovision is such a huge competition, and you have to give 100% of yourself, your time, and your energy. On stage or on the field, you have a responsibility to keep something safe, whether it’s voice or your goal!
Last year, Jérémie claimed the victory on The Voice Belgique, where he was mentored by Beverly Jo Scott, co-writer of Rhythm Inside, Belgium’s 2015 Eurovision entry for Loïc Nottet (also a coach on The Voice!). Jérémie says he learned a lot on the show, and that it was a crash-course for what was to come.
The Voice, for me, was like a school for Eurovision. Being on stage, doing interviews, all of that. It was during COVID, so I was singing alone with the coaches, which was a challenge. Eurovision, though, is seriously my first time singing in an arena, with 18,000 people! But music is music, and that doesn’t change. If I have that mindset, it’ll all be good. Loïc told me that you had to be seriously prepared, and you had to love your music, because that’s the secret. That’s why I co-wrote and co-composed my song.
Jérémie’s song for Eurovision, Miss You, blends classic soul vocals with modern flair, which he says not only represents his personal style, but also that of his home nation:
I was in the studio in France, and I was thinking, how can I connect my music to Belgium? We have a diverse culture with a lot of movement. We are changing up an old culture, so I came to the song with a classic style, but put a young vibe into it. It’s a great mix and balance.
Jérémie’s influences are also a mix of styles, blending the gospel music he fell in love with in his youth to soul legends like Otis Redding and contemporary hitmakers like his compatriot Stromae. But his all-time musical icon is the King of Pop:
My idol is Michael Jackson. When I was young, the video for Thriller scared me! But years later, I heard ‘They Don’t Really Care About Us” for the first time, and I was like ‘whooooah’. It opened my eyes and mind. He was dancing, and everyone was in a positive vibe. I just wanted to create moments like that! With people dancing, and from that day, music was a part of my life. With my music, I want to help share a vibe of happiness and heal hearts.
Backing Jérémie up on stage is his crew of four dancers, many of whom he worked with on The Voice. Alpha Lopez, Cédric Libambu, Malik Zaryaty, and Shean Assal have been by his side on stage and off, and the five of them have forged a firm friendship.
I’ll do my best with my crew…I have so much respect for these guys, since they’re giving all their energy!
If you want to pick up on the energy that Jérémie and his dancers are serving up, make sure to watch him performing Miss You during the Second Semi Final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest on Thursday 12 May.