Described as Belgium’s answer to Michael Bublé, The Flemish Michael Bublé is what Yannick Bovy, is invariably called. The comparison is hardly far-fetched. Dubbed as one of Belgium’s greatest musical talents and he has the looks, flair, charisma, the voice and the ability to melt females’ heart.
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Over the last few years, big bands have been climbing to the top of the international charts again, with ease. That’s not so surprising: this long-standing style of dance music still swings like nothing else, and there are some excellent big bands around to make the jazzy feel accessible to everyone. Harry Connick Jr. flirts with it, Hugh Laurie is getting a taste for it. Paul Anka even made a comeback with it, for example with a swing version of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana. Caro Emerald’s swing jazz aimed higher than just the Low Countries, and the Canadian jazz singer Michael Bublé gave the big band format international status in the pop world.
Belgium has a noteworthy history of big bands too, with the crooner Yannick Bovy recently coming to the fore. Yannick was an only child whose grandparents fed him a musical diet of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others); his grandma singing away in the kitchen remains one of his most cherished memories. His father was a musician, always taking his eager kid along to rehearsals and gigs.
So the music virus was never far away and, despite the fact that Bovy was more interested as a young man in the pop music of Jay Z or Justin Timberlake, swing numbers like Glen Miller’s ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ just kept on tempting him.
By 2010, after various musical peregrinations, Bovy was ready and willing to tackle the Great American Songbook. The future looks rosy. Classics like ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and a swing interpretation of ‘All My Loving’ (Beatles) were combined with his own numbers such as the successful debut single ‘She’s Even More Beautiful’ to create the debut album Better Man. The format turned out to be a winner, as the single ‘Theoretical Love’ became a radio hit in various Asian countries and he unexpectedly acquired star status in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. The number was also released closer to home in Poland, Sweden, Greece and elsewhere; Brazil fell for Bovy’s charms too. The cherry on the cake was when Lionel Ritchie asked him to be his support act, and he has also shared posters for jazz festivals with Amy Macdonald, Lisa Stansfield and Caro Emerald.
Described as Belgium’s answer to Michael Bublé, Flemish crooner Yannick Bovy became hooked on big-band music after listening to his grandparents’ Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole records as a youngster. Encouraged by his musician father to become a singer, he regularly played with swing bands and reached the second round of The X-Factor before he was discovered by Milk Inc’s Regi Penxten, who invited him to appear on 2007 single Better World Without You. After honing his talents in the Metropole Big Band and the North Side Big Band, he released his debut LP, Better Man, in 2012.