Who is that guest at Friends of Amstel LIVE next to Nick Schilder? That seemed to be the question that occupied the Netherlands this weekend. Subway introduces you: Avalan.
The most important question did not seem to be whether there will be a curfew on Saturday evening and Sunday. Whether Feyenoord could beat Ajax in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Or that the protesters on the Museumplein were tackled too hard by the riot police or not. No, what concerned many Dutch people is who the unknown face was next to Nick ‘van Simon’ at the Friends of Amstel LIVE.
Article Friends of Amstel ‘through the roof’
Jokingly of course, but when an article about this appeared on Metronieuws, things exploded. The reporter on duty Subway it wondered. But not only she, it turned out. The clicks went through the roof, as it is called. And on Metro’s Facebook page alone, more than 86,000 engagement responses were seen by this afternoon. The response was mainly ‘the redeeming answer!’. Numerous people were tagged with the comment ‘we weren’t alone’.
Valentijn Hoogwerf also noticed this and emailed Subway. Valentine who? So the husband of Friends of Amstel. “How cool to see that there have been so many reactions and that so many people were curious about the boy who did that duet with Nick Schilder.”
Avalan is the name
Valentijn Hoogwerf (24) is a musician under the name Avalan, who lives in the heart of Amsterdam and grew up in Laren. He made the song in 2019 with Armin van Buuren (and was the voice of) Sucker For Love, that on the album Balance of the DJ appeared. In December a second issue of Van Buuren with Avalan was released, Should I Wait. “That song was the reason for Armin to ask me to join Friends of Amstel. Very cool that he asked me to come along and was super cool to do. How laugh is it to suddenly be able to perform there as an unknown artist? I was happy to be there! ”
The adrenaline almost bursts through the phone. Avalan also barely knows what happened to him this weekend, after 1.7 million Dutch people followed the livestream of Friends of Amstel on Saturday evening. And he had already had such a special year – despite corona.
With Armin van Buuren to America
Last January, three days after his relationship ended, he left with Armin van Buuren for a tour to America. “It was just before Covid. We took the bus from Boston to San Diego, stopping at eighteen venues along the way. Madhouse! And when we got home the lockdown started. During the tour I wrote a song with team Van Buuren about my broken relationship. That was Should I Wait, which I also did during Friends of Amstel. ”
The mandatory quarantine took Avalan this spring to make a song about the lack of freedom that the world was suddenly confronted with. That ‘little song’ also attracted attention. Avalan ended up in the Johan Cruijff ArenA during the Amsterdam Dance Event. No less than 7 million people around the world watched via a live stream. Avalan: „An empty ArenA! I did wonder how we should do that. In the end it became an acoustic performance where I sat alone at the piano. And that turned out to be super cool. I could not imagine a greater contrast with a full stadium, spectacle and fireworks. Goosebumps.”
Super happy to Friends of Amstel
Back to Rotterdam Ahoy, to those Friends of Amstel who were forced to ‘visit’ only through a lievstream on Saturday evening. Images can no longer be found online, not even Avalan’s performance. Avalan: „Amsterdam Dance Event was a worldwide calling card, but super cool that I could now show myself to so many Dutch people. That I was allowed to perform with all those Dutch artists where I listened to and still listen to. And who I looked up to. ”
After a joint performance by Armin van Buuren with Duncan Laurance, it was time for it Should I Wait with Armin, Avalan and Nick Schilder. “During the preparations, the idea arose to do it together with Nick. Super cool, we clicked right away. We felt good about each other. ” He was already informed on Saturday evening that there was a lot of attention for his planned, but for many viewers sudden appearance. During the show I picked up my phone for one second and then I saw the messages pouring in. No, I never expected it to trigger so much. ”
Strange duck Friends of Amstel
This website came on top of that. Avalan caught sight of Metro’s Facebook and read along. “Bizarre and very nice to see all of them. It was nice to wake up to see everyone wondering ‘who that guy was’. Especially because it was of course a thing for me to be on Friends of Amstel. I came across a group of artists who all already know each other from the corridors and the festivals. In the beginning I was the odd one out, but I don’t have a moment not welcome felt. It was exciting, but looking back I only enjoyed it. ”
Now that we spoke to him and everyone asked ‘who he was’: what are we going to see of him this year? Avalan: “What you can expect from me is music, a lot of music! I don’t think there will be a lot of shows this year. That’s why I want to keep busy and go into the studio. Specifically, I cannot go into the music yet, but know that I have written 250 songs in the past three years. In the meantime, I am really looking forward to traveling and visiting my friends with whom I often work. ”
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