Edsilia Rombley is one of the four hosts for Eurovision 2021.
While she may be a familiar face for Dutch audiences, much of Europe and Australia will only be meeting her for the second time after Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light — the EBU’s replacement show for Eurovision 2020.
So, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Edsilia Rombley. Let’s do this!
Eurovision 2021: Facts about Edsilia Rombley
1. She has roots in Curacao and Aruba.
Edsilia was born in Amsterdam, in 1978. But she has roots from further afield. Her mother originates from Aruba and her father from Curacao. Both islands were formerly part of the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean. Speaking to our William, she says that she loves the islands and has visited them often. This background is one of the reasons she loves the Eurovision slogan “open up”. She tells us that she loves “when different cultures, different backgrounds, people with different ideas come together and open up for other situations”.
Edsilia grew up in Lelystad, the capital city of the Dutch province of Flevoland. She developed her love for music through her mother who would put on various soul records while cleaning the house. Recently Edsilia surprised her mother with a song dedicated to her — “Lieve Mama” (Dear Mom).
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2. She started out in a girl group
Edsilia’s professional singing career began in 1995 with the Dutch R&B girl group Dignity. The band had success in The Netherlands and elsewhere, particularly with the singles “Talk To Me” and “Nothing If For Free”. Edsilia left the group in 1998 to focus on her solo career.
This was actually the right time for Edsilia to go out on her own. She had just won both the Dutch and European version of The Soundmix show — a popular music talent show which started in the Netherlands in 1985 and ran on TV until 2002. Because of its success, The Soundmix show got a European edition, which Edsilia won in 1997.
3. She represented The Netherlands at Eurovision 1998 and 2007
Edsilia entered the Dutch national selection for Eurovision 1998, winning with 138 points in a field of eight contestants. She placed fourth at Eurovision with “Hemel en Aarde” (Heaven and Earth). The Netherlands Eurovision fortunes quickly began to go downhill over the following decade. And by 2007 the Dutch broadcaster decided it was time to shake up the national selection format. Taking into consideration Edsilia’s success in 1998, the network selected her internally. She brought three songs to the Dutch public. “Nooit meer zonder jou” won out, and became “On Top Of The World” for Eurovision. Alas, Edsillia couldn’t match her previous high and the entry remained in the semi-final.
4. She is Trijntje Oosterhuis’ sister-in-law
Edsilia and Trijntje Oosterhuis are sisters-in-law. Trijntje’s brother Tjeerd is a music producer and musician. He worked with Edsilia in 2002 on her album Face To Face. And the pair got married in 2006. In the clip below, you can see Tjeerd on the piano while Edsilia sings. In 2015, when Trijintje represented the Netherlands at Eurovision, Edsilia was the Dutch spokesperson. Alas, the two did not get to share any screen time since Trijintje went home in the semi-finals.
5. She hosted Eurovision In Concert three times
Edsilia has hosted Eurovision In Concert on three occasions. She was also scheduled to present the show in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In 2015, 2018 and 2019 she formed a presenting duo with Cornald Maas (the Dutch Mr. Eurovision). In 2015, also sang herself, bringing her Eurovision entries “Hemel en Aarde” and “On Top Of The World” to a whole new audience.
6. She’s worked with Oleta Adams, Lionel Richie and Skin (Skunk Anansie)
Edsilia has collaborated with many well-known artists in her career, including Eurovision stars Ruth Jacott and Glennis Grace. She’s also worked international stars like Lionel Richie and Oleta Adams. Edsilia is a long time fan of Oleta. In 2017, she got the chance to duet live with her on “I Just Had To Hear Your Voice”. It was with this song that she had won the Soundmix show two decades earlier. Edsilia was also a supporting act for Lionel Richie during BeNeLux tour in 2007.
On the Dutch TV Show De Wereld Draait Door, Edsilia made a guest appearance with the singer Skin of the band Skunk Anansie. In the video, you can hear Edsilia take the lead vocal. Edsilia explained why in an interview:
“What was so special about it was that Skin actually sang the song for me, even though she wrote it herself. My version is actually a bit too low for her, but she adjusted herself completely because she likes the new version so much and I thought that was really sweet. When she wrote the song she was angry, but the way I sing it, with pain and sorrow, was actually what it was meant to be. That was really the best compliment I could get. “
We don’t know about you guys, but we seriously get goosebumps from this version of “Weak”.
7. She’s a regular on TV
Next to singing, Edsilia is a regular on TV. In 2006 she competed on Dancing With The Stars. And since 2009 she has presented the TV Show De Beste Zangers Van Nederland. She also sang the opening theme for the remake of a famous Dutch comedy show Zeg eens AAAA. In 2017, she participated in Dance Dance Dance, coming fourth. She acts too, playing the role of Maria in The Passion. She’s also written the children’s book Huggybird en de magische toverballen (Huggybird And The Magical Balls).
8. She’s released eight albums
Between 1997 and 2018, Edsilia released eight albums. The Sweet Soul Music LP was recorded with the Dutch Metropole Orkest. Edsilia is also known for her theatre shows. So far, she has undertaken eight solo theatre tours. These shows feature more than just her songs and are often interspersed with personal anecdotes. For example, during her Mama Sings tour, she tells the audience what it’s like for her to be a mom. She confirmed to our William that she is working on a new Dutch-language album.
9. She’s sung for royalty
On 30 April 2013, the Kingdom of The Netherlands had a change of monarch. Her Majesty Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne in favour of her son, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. To commemorate the occasion, a group of Dutch artists and musicians recorded a song called ‘“Koningslied” (King’s Song). You can see and hear Edsilia at 2:30 and 4:36 in the music video.
The song was not embraced by the public, something which Edsillia regrets:
‘It is quite a shame somewhere. Still, you can expect something like this in advance. Everyone has an opinion about it. It’s still just a song’.
10. She’s a Lady of Soul
Edsilia’s longest-running project is probably Ladies of Soul. Formed in 2012, they are a Dutch supergroup that includes Candy Dulfer, Glennis Grace, Berget Lewis and Edsilia Rombley. Together they put on shows in big arenas like the Ziggo Dome. Although they focus on soul, their repertoire of covers features a multitude of different music styles. They have also released five singles — “I’ll Carry You”, “Up Till Now”, “Feel Good”, “Higher” and “Count Me In”. As mentioned, Trijntje was part of the group up until 2017.
Are you excited to see Edsilia during Eurovision 2021? Let us know in the comments.