I’m a songwiter, composer and producer for brands, media and artists but I started out as a guitar player trying to get famous in the world of rock and metal. My story…..
I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old and quickly formed bands where I wrote songs and together with friends we played hundreds of live gigs and shows. With my band Rubicon we toured and released an EP called “Land of Dreams” back in 1992, which is now a sort of collectors item for AOR fans. This band was started by me and my friend and great composer Rene Merkelbach. I worked as a pro live-and session guitarplayer for over 10 years and played on many dutch albums and with loads of artists. Some examples are Ian Parry, Plaeto, Vals Licht, City to City, Lieke, K-Otic, Helmut Lotti and German star Nena. I was in the studio a lot with great producer Oscar Holleman (Krezip, Within Temptation, Kovacs) and playing with many bands and artists live learning a lot of different musical styles in that time. It made me an allround player and a better musician.
In 2001 a big event-and publicity agency asked me to write music for their shows and product launches. This kinda came out of the blue since I never before did anything like this. This first composing job turned out to be for the world famous theater company Cirque du Soleil!! Really happy with such a start of my composing career!!!
That first show was a big success and I got busier writing, recording and travelling for my clients. BMW was my next client and I performed shows in Munich, Berlin and Capetown that first year. These were exciting times since I was new in this corporate world and I worked hard to meet all the expectations.
VW Group then became my new big client with the launch of the new Passat in 2005 in Mallorca, Spain. I managed to bluff my way through a pitch and called my company Styles Music Group, although I was only a one man company in reality. Winning that pitch earned me the nickname “The Group” and friends and musicians still often call me by that funny name. For some years I wrote music for every car show and product launch worldwide for VW. I was lucky to travel to a lot of great places everywhere in the world; from Spain to China and from France to India. Writing, recording and touring became my life. (See part of the list on the Clients page if your’re interested).
In 2008 over one million people heard my music as I wrote everything for the headsponsors of the Beijng Olympics. While my business grew I also kept performing live as a guitar player and became a musical director for shows and artists. I kept learning and expanding my knowledge and almost never said no to a job! I did many theatertours with a great band called Top2000Live as their bandleader and guitar player. But writing music and being creative always took first place.
As a producer I did 3 albums for Top2000Live and also some with dutch Musical Stars like Chantal Janzen and Pia Douwes. In 2009 I was asked to write the theme song for the Tour The France which featured the amazing Steve Balsamo (do check out his performance of “Gethsemane, it’s so great!) and Alma Nieto.
I got a chance to write a tango performed by worlds best bandoneon player Carel Kraayenhof, my orchestral music was performed by the famous dutch Metropole Orchestra, I worked together and performed with DJ Fedde LeGrand (“Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit”), You can see us here together with Mitch Crown performing at a tv show.. I did a remix for Shakira and I’ve also written music for the Dutch King! Learning all these styles of music, meeting market demands, making clients and people happy made my music evolve and gave me the opportunity to become a better composer, songwriter and producer. This later turned into my “Method”…
To be honest I had no idea what I was doing at first but I seemed to have the right mix of craftmanship and musical talent, and I was able to dive into a brand and make their ideas and products better with my talents. This combination is what you really need if you want to make a living with your music, your talent. Even more so if you do all your business by yourself and don’t have a publisher, manager or label backing you up.
The last 15 years I have built my career, by working for these big brands and big companies, doing loads of product launches where we combined live entertainment with film, dance and my music and I was happy to be asked to compose epic and important music for performances and launches in great cities like Shanghai, Capetown, Beijing, LA, Paris, Geneva, Detroit, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Guangzhou, Lisbon, Barcelona and Amsterdam to name but a few.
Some highlighted projects: The Beijing Olympics, shows for Cirque du Soleil, composing for a 200 person choir in Portugal, the inauguration of the biggest ship ever built the “Pioneering Spirit” and all launches worldwide for Mini and BMW since 2014. Formula One race car driver Michael Schumacher even danced with his car to my music, Pink! performed to my beats on a show in Geneva, Switzerland and I worked on a track with German superstar Nena.
In 2008 I started beijng successful with synching and my music has been used by many brands commercials all around the world, but also by tv series like The Mentalist, Pretty Little Liars, Single Ladies, Ben&Kate, Shameless and Parenthood. In 2014 I had over 30 commercials on US tv alone. By now my music is featured on more than 300 albums. Check out iTunes or my artist page on Spotify. I’ve released 3 albums in 2015 and 2016, all available on most platforms (100 Years and Other Tales of the City, Raw, and Epicness Presents: Beauty & the Beast) and started writing blogs on being creative and the business side of music. See my blog page if you’re interested.
In 2010 I started sharing all I’ve learned as a teacher at ArtEZ, Institute of the Arts where I teach Songwriting and Media Composing. From september 2016 I have my own subject there, an official minor called Corporate Music Method, based on my book and method.
In 2011 I started a corporate energy show together with my friend Walter Vermeer called “Pump Up the Company” which turned out highly successful. We still play about 50 shows a year where we combine music with a powerspeech about energy, people’s energy. I mix albums for upcoming artists such as Sofia Dragt and I produced 4 singles for Erica Greenfield and lately a great band called Red Vultures came into my studio. In 2016 I was fortunate to be nominated for best tv commercial composer for my work with NLE. This tv commercial was so successful it gave this energy company 300% more customers in just one month. Talk about the strenght of music….
Believing in the intuitive side of making music I sometimes invite friends into my studio and we start recording without having any chords or lyrics. Just based on a few keywords we start recording at once and these one-takers are the base of a new song. We released an album called Until Mars that way (all bass, drums and most guitars were played only once!). Intuitive Music Writing is what I call this and it is what I use to compose for my clients every day. You can read more about it on my blog.
In 2016 I finished my Method based on 15 years of experience and wrote a book called the “Corporate Music Method, How to Make Money with Music“. Available at Amazon and BOL.com.
In 2017 I started a new company based on this Method; a wordwide Masterclass and Platform where we work with outstanding composers/coaches like Danny Cocke, Joost van den Broek and Christian Vorlander. We will help talented songwriters and composers get better, get income and get network. Check out Totally Tuned. It’s the first and only school/course where you work on real paid assignments while getting help from top coaches. I’m really proud of this achievement! Totally Tuned will change the world I believe… a pioneering company for sure!
Early 2018 the first of a yearly recurring event took place in pop temple 013 in the Netherlands. The next edition will take place in februari 2019!A great meeting and network moment for creative people and the business market. Music supervisors, labels, event agency’s, ad agency’s etc.. and see famous composers live on stage, ask them questions, learn… In the coming years we will build this into an international appealing event. The best and only place where creative people and the business world can meet and connect.. Join my newsletter if you want to know more about this or check TotallyTunedEvent here.
Send me an email when you’re interested or have any questions. If I can help, I will..
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Nice and very true quote: “Some people dream of success…while others wake up and work hard at it”..