For those of you who have been dying to know more about the Common Linnets, filmmaker Marcel de Vre has answered your prayers. Over the past few months he followed Ilse de Lange and Waylon while they wrote and recorded their country album, which includes their Eurovision song “Calm After the Storm”. The result is a two-hour documentary entitled “The Common Linnets: Calm before the storm.”
Dutch viewers were able to watch the film earlier this week, and enjoyed several revelations. The duo explain what it was like to hear their song for the first time, why they love each other and why they regret debuting their song on a Dutch chat show. Here’s a quick play-by-play of all the action…
The journey starts in July 2013, with Waylon and Ilse in the Ardennen. They’re traveling to different talent shows with country influences, apparently hoping to divine a bit of inspiration. They tell us about their career and about each other. This is not a random and last-minute pairing: They have actually known each other since they were ten years old.
Ilse tells us that she’s blessed to have such an amazing career, but that it’s exhausting sometimes. There are weeks where she’s on the road for six days a week.
Waylon seems like the perfect partner, and he’s clearly very keen on Ilse. He repeatedly tells us what a great person she is, how she’s incredibly professional and how she can make every song perfect using her intuition. She doesn’t have any rituals before writing a song: she just starts to sing and that’s it. Making a song perfect by working on it for several months just isn’t her thing.
Ilse and Waylon want to make a country album, so they travel to Nashville in August 2013, accompnied by Daniel Lohues, a Dutch composer and singer. They ask him along because of his good songs, Indiana influences and — according to Ilse — the fact that he’s from the East side of the Netherlands, just like her.
Ilse and Waylon write their first individual songs in Nashville. They are nervous to share them, because they have never done that before. They love each other songs, but don’t have that “Eurovision winning” feeling yet.
After an hour, they start talking about the Eurovision Song Contest. They had been invited to participate many times before and after the success of Anouk last year the rumors they would participate began to swirl. When they were asked again, they looked each other in the eyes and made this big decision.
Back in Hilversum, the Netherlands, they ask Jan-Bart Meijers (producer, guitarist) to help them with finishing the last songs for their album. After a few months, they finish all the songs and they have to choose one for Eurovision. On the last day, Jan-Bart has some problems in his relationship and is singing a song he has just made up, “Calm after the Storm”. Ilse and Waylon isntantly know this has to be theirs.
Jan-Bart tells us that the song is about the question marks in a relationship. Do you want to stay with each other or do you want to break up? After you make that decision, there is a calm after the storm. He describes the song as intimate and intense. It’s not a typical Eurovision song, but that’s why it’s powerful. For Jan-Bart it’s a big honor that they choose it.
The first time we hear the song is on the Dutch television show ‘De wereld draait door’. Ilse tells us that the technical aspects weren’t that great and she regrets launching their song in this setting. “We were behind 1-0,” she says.
A lot of people in the film say that Waylon has to get rid of his cowboy hat, but he thinks that wearing it is a smart move. He used to wear one all the time and it’s something that people talk about. Looks like he’s taking a cute from Joan Franka—she of the native American headdress—who thought, “if people are talking about it, it’s a good thing.”
We hear a lot of new songs in this documentary, including “Still loving after you,” which is below. Do you think that Ilse and Waylon made the right choice or were there better songs?
Denise van Beek contributed this report from the Netherlands. You can follow our team on Twitter @wiwibloggs. You can also like our Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and gossip.