Wouter Hamel

Hamel’s songs are achingly catchy, or sometimes just aching. They often juxtapose deeply sad and even scathing lyrics with happy melodies that sweep you in. Imagine the musical landscape of a lush big band who would play with Frank Sinatra or Peggy Lee set against the emotional palette of Jeff Buckley...

Hamel is complex, seductive, clever. His songs reflect subtlety, anxiety, euphoria.

“But at the same time I would like to listen to PJ Harvey, Jeff Buckley, Peggy Lee, who is very sexy and strict and melancholic, but I also like Prince and Carmen McRae”

“By the time I was 17 and finished school I moved immediately out from my parents, not because I didn’t like them, but because I didn’t like the place they lived. I moved to the city of Utrecht.” He applied for a course in literature and journalism but left after the first year. “I was just interested in working for magazines like Vanity Fair and this course was very technical - how to write a news story.” He toyed with the idea of music school. He had guitar lessons and he was compulsively listening to Smashing Pumpkins. He wondered if music school would try to change the style before he had even developed it, but he was unhappy with journalism and decided to apply. “I wanted to make my voice bigger and learn theory so I could write songs. 120 people applied to music school and only four could be accepted, and I was, so that was quite an honour.”

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