After hearing Robbie Williams’ album Swing "When You’re Winning" as a young boy, Dennis Van Aarssen fell in love with Swing and Jazz-music. Dennis, born in The Netherlands, started piano lessons at five and then moved on to singing lessons.
He decided to participate in various talent programs on TV. In addition, Dennis recorded songs in his home studio which he constructed with his father. “I started to publish songs on YouTube. Both pop and jazz songs. The first song I put on YouTube in 2010 was (I Did It) My Way by Frank Sinatra."
Dennis entered The Voice of Holland and performed a Frank Sinatra tune "That's Life." Dennis, with his relaxed yet passionate style amazed the judges and the audience and won the 9th season of the Voice of Holland. Already being compared to icons like Michael Bublé and Frank Sinatra, Dennis indeed is here to stay.
Please welcome Dennis Van Aarssen.
Photo: Jorn Baars
Jazz Monthly: Dennis, what a complete turn of events for you since winning The Voice of Holland. What an amazing story and amazing voice! Tell us about the experience.
Dennis Van Aarssen: I entered The voice of Holland without any expectation and that's why I think I had nothing to lose. It was always my dream to be an entertainer and to be on stage, I had tried many different things to make that dream come true, but something always went wrong. In the meantime life went on and I got myself a job as a project manager in a digital marketing company. Not exactly the line of work I dreamt of, but it was a great experience for me and although I didn't know how, I never stopped believing there would still come a chance for me to pursue my ambitions in music, and The voice of Holland was exactly that. I felt right at home on that stage. The band, the cameras, the big LED-screen behind me, it was so great. I never thought I was going to win, not even when I made it to the final. I just knew that I needed to enjoy every moment I had in the show, and I did!
JM: Already being compared to Icons like Michael Bublé and Frank Sinatra, you truly are a gifted singer with a voice of distinct quality and style. When did you realize you have this one-of-a-kind talent?
DVA: Thanks! The fact that people are starting to compare me to Bublé and Sinatra, who are two of my biggest heroes, is amazing to me. These are the men I look up to and who inspire me every day. I started taking singing lessons when I was 10, maybe 11. I had seen the Robbie Williams concert, live at the Royal Albert Hall, where he sings songs of his album 'Swing When You're Winning' with an amazing orchestra. That's when I realized two things: 1. This music does things to people. It makes them unable to sit still and watch/listen. I love that! 2. I want to do this in life. Performing on stage, with amazing musicians, in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I don't think there was a specific moment when I realized I had a one-of-a-kind talent, but I always did know, somehow, I would be on stage as a singer.
JM: What were your original ambitions growing up?
DVA: As I said before, I wanted to be on stage since I was a kid. However, in the beginning, probably until I was 10, I really wanted to become a comedian. I still enjoy making people laugh and there's always room for jokes when I'm on stage, but music will always be the main focus, as it is my biggest passion.
JM: Your recent project titled "Forever You" is a rousing and impressive mix of Jazz. What was your idea and vision on this project?
DVA: 'Forever You' is also a song on the album and that song is about the love of my life. The song is basically me saying to my girlfriend 'I know everything has changed in my life this year, but I hope you'll never change. Please be forever you.' Like many of the original songs on the album, my girlfriend is the inspiration. I know that I could never have done all of these wonderful things if it wasn't for her support and her keeping me sharp. I think we're really a great team. So the idea behind the album is that it's a love letter to her, and for that reason I chose 'Forever You' to be the albums title.