In the spring of 2020, when she was still a member of Hooverphonic and preparing for Eurovision 2020, Belgium’s Luka Cruysberghs received that text. It told her the song contest — just like all of the band’s other gigs — had been cancelled because of the pandemic.
“I was kind of sad because I liked the song [“Release Me”] and everybody had put so much effort in their act and video,” she tells our Deban on Zoom. “It was a bummer, but I thought we’ll go next year. Which really didn’t happen.”
And what would we have seen on that stage? A singer portraying a work of art.
“You missed something,” Luka says. “I had a turtleneck in black and then from [just below the chest down] a really wide skirt — a really big poofy one, like a princess — and then I had a really high pony tail. I was supposed to look like The Girl with the Pearl Earring. We had an earring and it lit up.”
Their team were also working on a revolving platform that would see Luka serving it from all sides.
Luka Cruysberghs interview on “Not Too Late” and Eurovision
Luka’s road to Eurovision may have ended abruptly when the band removed her from the line-up, but her music career is only just beginning. A winner of The Voice Belgium, she stretched herself during her time with Hooverphonic and has left them with even more experience and poise in hand.
Now it’s time for her to turn up the volume on her solo career.
“My first song ‘Not Too Late’ is an apology,” she says. “The lyrics are about a relationship where she made a mistake – and she actually gave him a reason not to go for it anymore. Later, she realises that she needed him – and realises what she had lost. She asks him if she can have another chance.”
How did the song come about?
“I scheduled a couple of sessions with Domien Cnockaert at Durbuy Music immediately after my resignation from Hooverphonic. I had a few references of what I wanted to do, but there wasn’t really a clear line in it. The chorus of ‘Not Too Late’ came about when Domien was fiddling with a sampler on his digital audio workstation. At some point, he’d created a catchy topline for the chorus of the song. The rest of it came out of that.”
What did she think of Hooverphonic’s Eurovision 2021 performance?
“I thought it was one of the best ones,” she says. “I think a lot of people didn’t really sing in key. I’m sorry, but there were a few that really sang off key. That also depends on the mix and technicals. Sometimes I have issues with that too.”
When Hooverphonic gave her the sack, fans came to her defence, with many outraged she had been let go via Zoom. Luka clarified that there was more to the story.
“I planned a holiday and we had an important meeting suddenly. I was like, ‘I’m sorry, but everything is planned for my vacation, can we do it a week later?’ And they were like, ‘No, maybe can you go the day after?’ and I was like, ‘No, sorry.'”
So they did a Zoom meeting instead.
“They had already recorded the single with [her replaccement Geike] and it was about to be in the media very soon. I didn’t think there was a way back. I was a little bit shocked and disappointed. I really made the switch to, ‘What am I going to do now? What’s the plan? What style of music do I want to make? Let’s just look at the future and move on…I’m not a person that keeps sticking around in the past.”
“It was a couple of days I was a little sad, but then I just very quickly [moved forward].”