With Jérémie Makiese, Belgium has announced the first contestant for Eurovision 2022. The winner of The Voice Belgique was chosen internally by the Walloon broadcaster RTBF. In a Dutch-language interview with Flemish commentator Peter Van de Veire on the Één Instagram account, Jérémie spoke about the honour of representing Belgium at Eurovision in Italy.
The newfound Eurovision star said that it took him two weeks to think about doing Eurovision after he had been asked by the broadcaster:
“Yes, I won The Voice, but that was still new for me. Then I am suddenly called. ‘Jérémie, you can take part in Eurovision.’ That was so… I don’t know. It was too much [at once], and I had to think a little bit. Two weeks was enough. Then I called them back to accept.”
In a sense, that is not a large change from the most recent Walloon representatives. Since 2013, the French-speaking region of Belgium has strongly relied on contestants from its local adaption of The Voice, scouting Roberto Bellarosa, Loïc Nottet, Blanche and Eliot.
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However, one change is that Jérémie is bilingual, speaking Dutch and French — two of the three languages of the country — effortlessly. The interview with the Flemish broadcaster and commentator this early in the season is quite unique. When asked about this, Jérémie explained his bilingualism:
“I was born in Antwerp. I learnt [Dutch] there. We all speak Dutch, my parents also a little. I live in Brussels and I have been raised there too. Brussels is bilingual too, sometimes.”
Jérémie Makiese remembered watching several Walloon Eurovision representatives, but also thought highly of Hooverphonic, who he called “unbelievable”. With regards to the song he is going to sing at Eurovision, Jérémie does not want to show his cards yet. He’s open to all kinds of genres, although he has a slight preference for ballads, something he showed during his journey on The Voice. When Peter asked what kind of message Jérémie would like to take on stage, the singer simply answered:
“I want to be the best representative for Belgium.”
Peter noted that relatively few black artists appear at the contest and wondered whether that also helped to persuade him to do Eurovision. Jérémie said:
“Yes and no. How can I say that? La peau [the skin]. Don’t look at the skin, but at the voice. I think that is the most important for Eurovision.”
On his absolute reason to do Eurovision, he answered:
“I still have a lot of things to say, [from] within me. I think that Eurovision is the best place to, as we say in French, exprimer [to express oneself]. Yes, that’s why.”
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Jérémie Makiese plans to combine football career with Eurovision
Next to being a singer, Jérémie has long combined his passion for music with playing football. Shortly before his announcement as the Belgian representative, he signed a one-year contract as a goalkeeper for the club Excelsior Virton, which currently plays in the Belgian Second Division.
The Voice winner doesn’t think that will hinder his preparations. On the contrary, he acknowledges that he cannot sing without playing football and vice versa.
When attempting to choose between them, he said he’d rather be a champion of both. With regards to his Eurovision song, he revealed that it is supposed to be finished in January and released between then and March.
What do you think of Jérémie Makiese’s answers? What would you like to hear him sing at Eurovision 2022? Let us know in the comments down below!