Despite the devotion of her growing fan base and high expectations from many critics, Sennek finished 12th in her semi-final — meaning Belgium had to sit out its first Eurovision final since 2014. But disappointment has not gotten the best of her. Inspired by Eurovision and the creative boost it gave her, the singer formerly known as Laura Groeseneken already has plans for the future. She’s taken some extra leave from her job, which gave her the time to have a chat with wiwibloggs. Among other things, she opens up about her non-qualification, handing over her stage dress to a museum and a very special letter she received from the CEO of IKEA Belgium. About not qualifying
The day after the semi-final, Sennek told Flemish newspaper ‘De Standaard’ that “the love and warmth I got here, that is what a person does it for”.
The Flemish website VRTNWS, the news outlet of the broadcaster, delivered an opinion piece a day later. Their conclusion: the staging and visuals strangled the song. “Without a convincing act on stage, every good song falls apart,” they wrote.
Two weeks after Eurovision, Sennek shared her own thoughts with us. “I think the question to ‘why’ isn’t that important to me. Things happen for a reason. I was definitely not devastated: I watched the grand final in the arena in the crowd and enjoyed that so much, together with my team. For me what counts is the whole experience of being there. People were so sweet, and still I get a lot of messages. I’m a proud loser, if you can call it that.”
Support from her IKEA colleagues
As all of her fans know, Sennek works as a visual merchandiser for IKEA. Her colleagues have been supportive throughout her journey, and she received messages from IKEA colleagues as far away as Japan and Indonesia.
“The day I had to perform in the semi, the CEO of IKEA Belgium wrote me a beautiful e-mail to support me. IKEA also posted a message on our internal employee platform. My message box just exploded. I received messages from IKEA colleagues from all over the world, including Japan and Indonesia. From IKEA Italia and Switzerland I got pictures and posters showing they support me.”
“I appreciate that so much in IKEA: getting the possibility to chase your dreams. Being able to do your own thing, next to your professional job. The day before I left to Lisbon my manager announced he will move to Waterloo [a city in Belgium], and we joked about it being a sign for Eurovision. We have a group chat, and I speak to colleagues every day. They have been really supportive, also after Eurovision.”
Eurovision dress now in Fashion Museum of Antwerp
Sennek’s black dress, worn during the semi, is a creation of Belgian fashion designer Veronique Branquinho. Last week the Fashion Museum of Antwerp (MoMu) announced that it had acquired the dress — the first from Eurovision to find a home inside its storied walls.
The museum is currently closed for renovation, but will reopen in the autumn of 2020. It’s known to have the largest collection of work from Veronique Branquinho. The dress was a ‘must have’ for the museum. Sennek went to the museum herself to hand over the black garment.
Wauw, de podiumoutfit van @LauraGroes , gemaakt door Veronique Branquinho, werd als eerste Eurovisiesongfestival-outfit ooit opgenomen in de collectie van het @MoMuAntwerp! #Sennek ging haar jurk vandaag zelf naar daar brengen. #ESC2018 #Eurovision pic.twitter.com/WHKeowYMye
— één (@een) May 18, 2018
Is she sad about letting go of it?
“The curator of the Antwerp fashion museum called me to ask if I would be interested in donating the dress. I don’t regret it. It’s like a wedding dress: you’ll never wear it again, but you have a special bond with it. It stays a very unique piece: the masculine trousers and then the feminine overdress. That was the statement I wanted to make. It matched my personality, was really ‘Sennek’. I know the conservation of the dress is done in a professional way and the dress will still be there in 100 years. I’m looking forward to seeing the dress in the next exhibition. It was symbolic for me to take the dress to the museum myself.”
Sennek’s future plans
Sennek hasn’t returned to work yet. Instead she’s taking some additional time off to make sense of everything that’s happened. Her future plans include writing news songs, performing and signing a record deal.
“I’m leaving soon for a writing camp in France. Eurovision has given me so much inspiration. If I want to write new songs, I have to do it now. ‘A Matter of Time’ was really my debut single, and I’m eager to release more music soon. I’m not going to put a date on it. I combined the preparations for Eurovision and my work at IKEA for eight months. Now it’s time for me to be creative and write music and poetry. I’m currently also in search of a record label.”
And what of her future music? “The songs will be like ‘A Matter of Time’: that is what I do, make timeless songs with a bit of melancholy in them”.
She also plans “to make some small appearances at festivals in Belgium”, including the popular Pukkelpop. She will team up with a few other artists to sing a number from Serge Gainsbourg — the father of French chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourg and the author of the Eurovision winning song “Poupee de cire poupee de son”.
“My career now just started because of Eurovision. It’s the most beautiful event for a beginning artist. Specially because I had the chance to do it all my way. It’s an ideal platform to bring your music: the Eurovision community is so friendly and honest. They know how you are, listen to your music and are interested in you as an artist and well informed. It’s about more than just the show. I would recommend it to any other artist!”
Last week Sennek released an acoustic version of “A Matter of Time”:
— Sennek (@LauraGroes) May 25, 2018
A message for her Eurovision fans
“Thank you for everything. You have all been so sweet, so supportive. I still get so many messages and I’m trying to write everybody back. The people have been so nice and I just want to thank you. Miss everyone already.”
What do you think? Are you looking forward to new songs from Sennek? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Andres Putting (EBU) / Inset: ALEXANDRU for wiwibloggs