Interview Questions for Esm ée Denters with Tweeple Magazine (06/25/09)
Interviewer: Jason Chu (Writer/Contributer), Karen Pentke (Contributer/Notes)
*In a conference call by phone, Esmée and I talked about a range of topics, from family, to Justin Timberlake, advice she’d give others, etc. Since it was a long distance phone call, we did not have a device to record the interview for playback later, so we (Karen and I) relied on memories of the call, and our notes. After each question there are two sets of responses: the text that is bolded is from my paraphrased memory/writing, and the jot notes points belong to Karen’s handiwork. They always say two heads are better than one! Thanks so much Karen for all the help!
- 1. How do you think you will deal with being on the road/away from your family for so long? On tour?
*Esmee: It will be difficult, miss family, but the people she’s with on tour is like family.
– I will keep in touch via email/phone calls
– It keeps me in control to stay in contact with them
- 2. How do you not get so overwhelmed by all the attention/business that has changed your life with being a successful singer performer. How do stay grounded, and not let other things change who you are.
*Esmee: I’m the same person as I always have been
– I’m excited about all of it
– All the attention can get “weird”
– “I’m just Esmee”
– Family keeps me inline and grounded
– Happy with everyone who is working with me, they work very hard.
- 3. Once you were getting attention on Youtube, how did you get discovered by Justin Timberlake? Can you tell us that story
*Esmee: Lot’s of record companies/labels started calling me, and Justin too…he invited me to a concert, and I met him backstage, and played a song on the piano “How come U don’t call me anymore.” It was an old song I’d had done for years, and because there was a piano – it was a good song to do/play.
– Youtube, I had record labels calling me, I thought it was like a joke at first.
– Management then called me, I met with them and JT wanted to meet with me. I went to JT’s Chicago concert, met him backstage, sang a song on piano.
– 1 month later I was signed!
– I chose to play that Prince song b/c “It’s a great song!” and I knew how to play it on piano
- 4. How much a big brother mentor figure has Justin Timberlake been you since you started working together? It seems that he has had a very positive effect on your development as an artist. Tell me how Justin has helped you?
*Esmee: It’s funny because it’s almost exactly as you said. He has been a big brother to me, showing me things, about the music business.
– Older brother figure to me
– I look up to him, and aspire to be like him as an artist
– I wrote a lot of my songs on my album, JT had input on my record as well
– “What better person to learn from than Justin Timberlake?!”
– JT tested me to see if I had what it took/handle to perform, he got me to perform with him even before my record was recorded
– He wants the best for me
Does he push you or does he kinda know what you need in order to grow?
*Esmee: Yes, he challenges me like the first time I went on stage to perform in front of thousands. It forces me to rise to the challenge.
- 5. It has been said, that you are the first Youtube artist to go from a Youtube channel directly to performing on a major stage (with Justin Timberlake). Seeing as you are a Youtube veteran, what advice could you give the thousands of teenage girls who look up to you from around the world, who are now trying to emulate what you did (film themselves singing cover tunes).
*Esmee: I have been around music my whole life, singing, playing, so I encourage them to keep at it, practice, if it what they want, to go after it, make videos, etc.
– “Dare to put yourself out there, to do what you love, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen the 1st time around… it can happen in many ways”
– i.e. Talent shows, YouTube etc.
Album related Questions
- 6. Just wondering, I have been in a choir & have been around music my whole life. Your voice is amazing, it is a gift. So, I wondered did you have any musical training or played any instruments whiled growing up in the Netherlands
*Esmee: Actually only once did my parents sign me up for vocal lessons, but it didn’t work out. Now, that I’m signed and doing this as a career, I do have a vocal coach/teacher/instructor who is helping with my voice. His name is Dave Straut
– Since I was a little girl I have always wanted to be a singer
– It was too expensive for training lessons
– I listened at home to many of my fav. Artists, from listening really
– Now, after being signed I have a vocal trainer: Dave Straut
– Helps to take care of my vocals – thank goodness
Esmee: I’m so thankful that in the years I was untrained I didn’t do any serious damage to my voice when singing.
- 7. You said in your Making of the Outta Here video, that it was difficult to sing, what do mean by that musically?
*Esmee: It was just different than any kind of song I’m sung before, it was a different style, so I had to get used to it, practice it till I got it!
– Song was challenging to sing at first, more of a “Rock way” music
– But eventually, listening to it now, I see that “I made it my own”
– I said to myself – “I know I can do it now”
- 8. It seems your tour is going across Europe this summer, when do you plan on coming over to North America?
*Esmee: Oh we will be coming to the U.S. and I would really like to come to Canada too! Canada is one of the first places to catch onto my music.
*Jason: We in Canada really like international music
*Esmee: We will definitely come over to U.S./North America on a tour before the end of 2009. No specific dates yet.
– I am signed for North America, once after Euro tour over
– I will be there before the end of 2009
– I was in Toronto 4 months ago – I liked it a lot
– Looking forward to going back to Canada – (T.O.) “It’s clean, nice and modern”.
- 9. I quote from your writing on your Myspace page, –
Hi, my name is Esmée. I’m 20 and from wherever you are reading this, no matter how far away or what country you live in, we are now… connected. My question is…what do mean we are now connected. Does have anything to do with Twitter, Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, etc., etc.?
*Esmee: Yes that we are all connected now, it’s so easy to stay in contact, e-mail, youtube, I read my fans messages.
– b/c internet everyone has access for ex. To my videos
– I am here b/c of my fans – (fans) “They made it happen!”
– Keep connected to my fan’s websites – they root for me – “I want to make them proud and do my very best.”
- 10. When you sang Follow My Lead onstage with Justin Timberlake what was that experience like? Was the recording just a live recording or did you redo one in studio?
*Esmee: It was so amazing, sort of surreal because I’d never been on stage like that, seeing Justin interacting with other musicians/artists, and singing and dancing. I found it hard to believe that I was standing next to (people in her pictures).
– JT did charity concert and invited me there (flew me over)
– My 1st time performing on stage
– To think all these famous people like 50 Cent, Liona Lewis – “
– All these icons! It was great!”
– It was Live recording
Closer/Finishing Interview Questions
- 11. Who are favourite actors/celebrities?
*Esmee: Jaime Foxx – he is so funny and talented, etc.
– Jamie Fox – my fav. Movie is Ray – he was amazing!
– Like also that he is a singer and actor
- 12. Do you plan release/make music & albums in your native Dutch language, as some others do?
*Esmee: I don’t yet, at this point in my career, I’m just excited to go out on tour and perform.
– In the future – “Outta Here” has been recorded in Fin, or a foreign language
- 13. What does Esmee Denters like to do in her free time, when she is not making mega selling music hit songs?
*Esmee: Same as everybody else, I like to hang out with my friends, go out to restaurants, watch movies, go shopping, make videos for my Youtube channel.
– “Normal stuff”… like going to movies with friends, having dinner, shopping etc.
- 14. What are you look forward to the most on your upcoming tour of Europe?
*Esmee: I can’t wait to just perform onstage. The opportunity to get up close to the fans, and see them. I appreciate them wanting to come see.
“Getting my music out there”
Jason: *Thank you so much for doing this interview with us here at Tweeplemagazine, and I hope you like the article I wrote about you! Yesterday!
Jason Chu (@Chodidees)