Chart Analysis: Small Belgian scene can boast about huge talents

Not all new musical talent is coming from the UK, also Belgium is a bigger player than you might think…

With eleven million inhabitants Belgium has a vibrant music scene, powered by alternative pop radio station Studio Brussel, who are keen on playing new Belgian talent. While cities like Brussels and Antwerp are compact enough to oversee, talent can easily blossom. You might think the language barrier between the northern Flemish part and the southern French part of Belgium might be a struggle, but for a crossover chart, this is merely a plus. Talent from the north can flourish in neighbouring The Netherlands, the south has chances in France. And most Belgian acts sing in English anyway. So in the past, Belgium has produced acts like pop singer Stromae, indie rock bands like Balthazar or Soulwax and dance acts such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.

Highest of six new entries this month at #56 in the Music Moves Europe Artist Chart is Belgian rapper D.A.V from Brussels. His single ParoVie (Sony) is a hit in France, thanks to the feature of Belgian-Congolese rapper Damso. Already for fifteen years in the bizz, Damso is a platinum-selling artist in France and this helps to gain attention for D.A.V, who first emerged in the scene with a series of well-received freestyles.

Let’s have a look at the other Belgian artists in this month’s chart. Still rising to #11 is pop singer Angèle. She is the sister of Belgian rapper Roméo Elvis, and she started out as opening act for Damso. Angèle sings in French, but some of her songs like Tout Oblier featuring Roméo Elvis (Universal) have also gained airplay in non-French speaking territories. And at #26 we find Charlotte Adigéry, who was discovered by Belgian indie band Soulwax. Her song High Lights (PIAS) was played all over Europe on new music programs, as she mixes dance with R&B and pop.

More Belgian talent comes from Tamino at #32. The singer-songwriter with Egyptian roots played many European venues and festivals, every year in bigger venues and higher up the bill. His style might remind you of the late Jeff Buckley, check for instance his song Habibi (Communion). And yet another Belgian talent emerges at #82, rising fast from #97. Blu Samu is the moniker for Antwerp chanteuse Salomé Dos Santos with Portuguese roots. She is fond of the colour blue and…(you will be surprised)…Japanese samurai culture. Her music is a mixture of funk, R&B, hip hop, jazz and Brazilian rhythms, as shown on her single Goose (PIAS).

The other five new entries this month all hail from the UK. At #63, singer-songwriter Callum Beattie finds a connection with Eastern Europe, as his track Connection (3Beat) is played over there. In the same region, they are fond of a new girl group called Unperfect at #81. Xenomania, the record company behind the successes of Girls Aloud and The Sugababes invented this girl power four-piece anno 2019 and they sing songs like Looking For A Hug.

Black Midi is a new rock band who are hyped because of their surprising live shows with abrupt genre chances. Many tracks of their debut album Schlagenheim (Rough Trade) have found their way to evening radio and it makes them land at #86. At #92, pop singer Loryn finds herself new in the chart. Her song Stand By features dance-pop outfit Rudimental and gains airplay in Switzerland and Italy. And finally, Love Fame Tragedy is the new solo project for Wombats singer Matthew Murphy. His indie band had success with tracks like Let’s Dance To Joy Division (14th Floor). Now he has solo success with My Cheating Heart  (Good Soldier) in mid-Europe. This all happens when another Brit, singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi takes over the top spot, thanks to his enduring success with Someone You Loved (Universal).

Menno Visser
Music journalist and radio professional from The Netherlands