Ian Van Dahl
Born in a small village, Herk-De-Stad in Belgium in 1978, Annemie had always loved singing, but got her first real taste of the music scene when she joined a dance band aged 17.
“We played on a big stage, which was my first real singing experience. It was in a theatre, so the audience was sitting down and it was very quiet. There was just a piano, and I had to sing live; I was so nervous. I had written the song myself, and when I performed I got a really positive reaction; it made me think ‘wow’ – I really enjoy this!”
However, the idea of a small town teenager scoring a recording contract seemed like a pipedream, and the naturally creative Annemie, who was already showing a flair for art and fashion design, set her heart on attending the highly prestigious fashion school in Antwerp. The prohibitive fees led her to take up a host of jobs – everything from working in a factory, a carwash, and a shop selling outrageously expensive clothes, to working with a doctor. Then a friend, horrified at how hard Annemie was striving, dragged her off to Ibiza to chill out. The visit extended to two summers, converting Annemie from an alt-rock chick to a club disciple.
“I couldn’t believe how many different styles there were within the dance scene, and I was getting bored with listening to mainly rock music. I was clubbing everywhere, I loved Space, Pacha, Privilige, Amnesia, and I made so many friends over there”.
On her return, Annemie recorded a demo “for fun really, I didn’t expect anything to come from it”. But it found its way into the hands of Stefan Wuyts, a label A&R, who was looking for a vocalist for the song ‘Castles In The Sky’ by new Belgian act, Ian Van Dahl. Immediately drawn to the mellow style of her voice, he called her into the studio to try out for the role.