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With one of the most memorable auditions of this years dutch XF, Hanneke Willems was seen cut just before making it to the liveshows. Still, that initial audition was enough to impress me and many viewers and now that some months have passed, I interviewed Hanneke to see what was going on in her life now. A new band, an EP and getting married is what's next for her! Want to know more?

Read the interview, watch her audition and some new videos after the JUMP ...

ME: Hi!
Hanneke: Hi!
ME: How are you?
Hanneke: Good! And you?
ME: I'm great!
Hanneke: Great!
ME: The first questions will be really general, then I want to ask about the XF and then about your future. Is that ok?
Hanneke: Sure!
ME: 1st one! How would you describe/define yourself as an artist?
Hanneke: I'm originally an actress. I went to a theatre school, so I sing from the lyrics. I do everything from feeling.
ME: So you are an actress too?
Hanneke: Yes, but it's hard to find acting parts in a wheelchair. (Laughs) So I focused on singing!
ME: Have you had singing lessons?
Hanneke: Yes, I went to a conservatory where I had singing lessons for 4 years.
ME: Oh, cool. Back to the acting thing, have you ever had a part in a play? Or in anything related to it?
Hanneke: Yes, I had a little part in a series in Holland but that was a long time ago, when I was almost finished in acting school I got sick, so I couldn't work. But I did a commercial (Laughs) for Becam Loanings, terrible but good money! (Laughes)
ME: (Laughes) Which series?
Hanneke: Westenwind and gtst (back when I was 16) I played in a Play "Gek van Vrouwen" as a child and a small part in a dutch movie Blindgangers, also in schoolplays.
ME: That's great! So you've always been an actress. Could you say the same about singing?
Hanneke: I started to see myself as a singer only from when I got sick. So for about 5 years now...
ME: I see. About your sickness, What happens to you exactly?
Hanneke: The doctors don't know really. I have infections in my leg muscles. I'm used to it.
ME: So it's permanent?
Hanneke: I don't know. I think that every thing is possible and I'm determend to get better.
ME: I'm sure you wil!
Hanneke: I changed my diet and that helps also I'm working out a little bit so I do everything I can to get better!
ME: Great! Let's focus on music now. Would you classify yourself in any genre?
Hanneke: Yes I'm a jazzy pop kinda girl.
ME: Would you compare yourself with any current artist?
Hanneke: No, I think I can't. Every one is different and I'm just starting.
ME: Who inspires you?
Hanneke: I love Adele, Duffy, Madeleine Peyroux, Jewel, Jenny Lane and Laura Jansen.
ME: Great names! I see an Adele vibe on you, that's why I loved on the auditions!
Hanneke: Wow. Thank you!
ME: So talking about that ... What made you decide to audition for the XF?
Hanneke: I thought I had nothing to loose and I wondered if I could make it as a singer.. I loved it! it was a great experience! But the competition was great! Beautifull singers in my category.
ME: What do you think that happened? I mean, why do you think you were cut?
Hanneke: I was so tired and had so much pain so I couldn't concentrate no more that's part of the competition that you can get up with the paste. and the long hours. I understand that, that was a little bit to much for me and the judges saw that I messed up because of it, so it's real fair that I had to go home I think.
ME: Are you planning to try again? Maybe for the Voice?
Hanneke: Not at the moment. I think when you try again, then something must be different then the last time. And now it's not the case. And I think i'ts better to have an album ready befor I enter another contest like that.
ME: But don't you believe you have improved?
Hanneke: Yes I do, but I think my participacion on XF was very exhausting and my body was not ready for that yet, so if I try again I would like to be in better shape (Laughs).
ME: Oh, I get it. So you may do it in the future?
Hanneke: Maybe. I did enjoy it very much!
ME: Yeah, it seems very fun!
Hanneke: It was.
ME: So you previously said you're recording an album?
Hanneke: I'm now writing songs and then I want to release an EP first.
ME: What sound are you going for?
Hanneke: I think it's a mixture of jazz and pop. I tend to write ballads, but I try to make some upbeat songs as well.
ME: Oh, cool! What release date are you aiming?
Hanneke: I hope to finish my first video in September and then the EP round in November.
ME: Great! So there's already a video? What song? Tell me more about it!
Hanneke: Well not yet, but I am now recording my first song it;s called the only way is up and it's a real summer song so i guess that's gonna be the first song you guys are gonna hear that I've written by my self! We're now in the brainstorm fase for the videoclip. And I also just recorded "Foolish Games" in the studio, for the people who would like to hear it. I'ts now being mixed en mastered.
ME: Oh, you know I would like to! (Laughs)
HannekeWhen it's finished I will send it to you!
ME: Oh, cool!! So, EP and then a tour?
Hanneke: That would be great!
ME: Where would you like to play?
Hanneke: I think my music is best suited for small settings like little theaters or clubs. But I would love to play at North Sea Jazz in Holland.
ME: Definately! Would you like to play with someone in particular?
Hanneke: If I ever get the chance, I would really like to duet with Adele
ME: That would be so cool! Would you say you have a similar sound?
Hanneke: I don't know, what do you think?
ME: I think you do! (Laughs)
Hanneke: I can only hope, she is really great!
ME: She is! Back to the album, do you have any name planned?
Hanneke: Well, my band is called HannMade.. so maybe that's it (Laughs).
ME: Oh, tell me more about that ...Why that name?
Hanneke: A friend of mine called me Hannmade as a joke and then I sort of kept the name when we started our band. I think it sounds funny (Laughs). And really I admire everything that peoply really do with thought. And usualy those things are handmade, I think it's honest and real, that's what I aim for.
ME: That's great!
 Hanneke: Thank you!
ME: So how would you describe the band?
Hanneke: What's maybe a bit unusual is that we don't have a drummer. We have Sheilish who's playing keys. My boyfriend who you might remember plays bassguitar and Axe on guitar. We're getting married by the way. :)
ME: Cool! When?
Hanneke: December 2012 in Thailand.
ME: Thailand? Why?
Hanneke: Because it's beautifull and I feel always so much better when it's warm.
ME: Great! Congrats!
Hanneke: Thanks!
ME: You ever considered moving to a warmer place?
Hanneke: No, I love Amsterdam. It's my home. But we try to go to a warm place every winter.
ME: Oh, that's cool. And seems fun!
Hanneke: It is!
ME: Well, it was great chatting with you! Thanks!
Hanneke: Thank you!
ME: We'll talk another day! Bye
Hanneke: Bye!

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