Singer and footballer, he defends Belgian chances at Eurovision

From our special correspondent in Turin (Italy)

A footballer at Eurovision. In September, just five months after he won Season 9 of The Voice Belgium, Jérémie Makiese’s participation in the song contest has been formalized. Three days later, a new communiqué fell: the young man of 21 years joined the Virton’s Royal Excelsiora Division 1B club, the equivalent of our Ligue 2. We don’t ask him to choose between music and sport: he refuses.

“I love football, when I was little, my big brother, who was a striker, didn’t have a friend to play with him, so I was goalkeeper”, explains the one who now occupies this position on the field – but must leave it aside for the time of the Eurovision adventure. His passion for music also came to him from an early age. Born to Congolese parents in Antwerp (Belgium), he joined the gospel choir of his church as a child, took singing lessons and tried his luck in competitions.

“I’m not one to pretend”

Last year, it was therefore in the Belgian version of The Voice that he triumphed. His covers of jealous of Labrinth and Leave The Door Open by Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, among others, impressed the audience. In the final, he interpreted Earth Song of Michael Jackson, his idol – he also cites Quincy Jones among his role models. “He scared me when I was little because of the clip of Thriller. For me, it was a horror movie. Years later, the discovery of the clip of They Don’t Care About Us opened my eyes”, explains Jérémie Makiese who says he is fascinated by “the personality and the music” of the King of Pop.

In June, to a Belgian media, Jérémie Makiese slips his desire to participate in Eurovision. A wish launched on the fly but which achieved its goal: the head of delegation, Leslie Cable, called him to offer him to make this dream come true under the Belgian flag. “I was on vacation in Barcelona (Spain), I was completely surprised. I was not ready,” he says. Against all expectations, he does not spontaneously answer yes and asks for a period of reflection: “I had a lot of questions about the competition, I wondered about a lot of details. »

He turns to Loïc Nottet, one of the coaches of The Voice Belgium, who knows Eurovision well for having participated in it in 2015 where he finished fourth. “He told me that first and foremost I had to love my music. I’m not one to pretend or play a role. I knew I had to feel every word of my song, that’s why I co-wrote and co-composed it,” says Jérémie Makiese.

“I like the vibrations, the atmosphere of France”

He assures that when he sings Miss You, with which he will try his luck in this Thursday’s semi-final, he is “always moved”: “I feel melancholy. It is inspired by a true and sad story. He repeats from interview to interview that his song is about the difficulty of making choices and that he seeks to convey a message of hope and faith. “I would like people to be able to recognize themselves in my emotions”, assures the young Belgian who would like his music to “help” and “soothe the heart” of those who listen to it.

Has he thought of conquering the French market? The idea does not displease him. He adds: “I have family in France. I like the vibrations, the atmosphere of this country. I even wrote my song in France. The French are open-minded, like in Belgium. I would also like to sing in French. He hastens to clarify that, in reality, his objective is to “reach the whole world”. What better way to do this than to start with Eurovision and its millions of spectators?

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Singer and footballer, he defends Belgian chances at Eurovision

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