Ever since her astounding debut album, ‘Together Alone’, Anouk’s singles and albums have been riding high in various European charts. Now the singer’s latest offering, the diverse ‘Hotel New York’, adds a bold new chapter to an already impressive career.
Anouk was born to sing. Even as a child, she would make up her own little songs. Later, in her teenage years, singing provided an emotional outlet for her. Her voice is a soulful one, suitable to many styles of music. But it’s bluesy, raw, rock and pop songs that suit Anouk best. Little wonder therefore that her career took off after singing ‘a few songs with Golden Earring (‘Radar Love’) singer Barry Hay.
The song ‘Nobody’s Wife’ was the track that launched Anouk’s career, conquering international charts, and going platinum and gold in several European markets. The song was picked up by MTV as well. Anouk’s debut album ‘Together Alone’ held long-lasting chart positions in various European countries, and achieved gold and platinum status all over the continent. After that, trying to maintain a private life was clearly difficult for the busy singer. But, in 2002, she was awarded the biggest prize of all when she gave birth to her son Benjahmin Kingsley. In December 2003, her second son Elijah Jeremiah was born.
Early 2004, she booked a room in the Hotel New York to write material for a new album. Recording started in the summer, with American producer Cliff Norrell (known for his work with REM, Weezer, Jeff Buckley and many others). The album was mixed by Tony Maserati (Black Eyed Peas, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys). The end result features Anouk at her very best, with her mighty, passionate vocals towering over a rock solid backing band. Anouk has always followed her own path, never afraid to mystify both her loyal fans and the media, and ‘Hotel New York’ is full of surprises as a result. Apart from letting rip in the intense rocker ‘More Than You Deserve’, she doesn’t shy away from a touch of reggae (‘Heaven Knows’), a funky rock song (‘I Spy’), an easy-going pop song (‘Alright’), and a bunch of introvert ballads, like ‘Falling Sun’, ‘One Word’ or ‘Fading’.
Leading the pack though, are the three blistering singles: ‘Girl’ is a bouncy, cheery pop tune, featuring an immediately catchy chorus. ‘Lost’ is an intriguing ballad of love and longing, showing off the more delicate side of this tattooed, streetwise young mother. With both singles already successful, the third cut to be pushed into the limelight is ‘Jerusalem’: an epic rock song, and a bold choice for a single. Then again, when it comes to risk-taking, Anouk is a hard act to follow. The gamble seems to have paid off though, as both her album and the subsequent singles topped all sales, download, and airplay charts in the Benelux.
Maybe the most amazing thing is that, amidst all the media frenzy, sold-out mega gigs, awards, and rocketing record sales, Anouk also finds the time for the most important thing of all: her family. In June 2005, she gave birth to her third child: daughter Phoenix Ray. You only need to listen to a delicate ballad like ‘Our Own Love’ to understand how being human is the key to this extraordinary young woman’s every move.
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