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Looks & Stories
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NOCHTLI PERALTA ALVAREZ

Few people change careers at a young age and turn out as successful as Instagram sensation Nochtli Peralta Alvarez. The 26 year old former police officer turned fitness guru, gave up a steady career for social media. Despite little support from her surroundings at first, she gained a stunning 1.1 million followers and 70.000 subscribers in nearly 2,5 years, sharing content about her inspiring lifestyle.

Change, to Nochtli, means progression and facing new challenges. “I could’ve refused the opportunity to change my career, simply because new things are scary.” When I first started off as a police officer I would’ve never imagined the place I am in now. It took a lot of dedication, hard work and an occasional tear.”

Even after earning titles like Body Engineers & Womens Best Athlete, the half Mexican/half Dutch beauty still sees obtaining her police diploma as her biggest achievement to date. It moulded her into the proud entrepreneur she is today.

Her family and the massive support she gets from her followers is the force behind her success “I want to be able to help out wherever I can. The more I have, the more I can give away. Their happiness brings me joy.”

 


 

PIETER LORIDON

Former Belgian basketball player, Pieter Loridon, exchanged his basketball for tealeaves, maintaining a healthy lifestyle after a remarkable career of 15 years as a professional ball player.

Pieter’s biggest achievement is not the two top scorer titles, or 12 seasons as one of Belgium’s top athletes as you’d expect. He is most proud of the fact that he has maintained most of his friendships for over 30 years. Luckily, he received a lot of support from home during his career; “My dad advised me to do what I love most. He told me to work hard in the dark to be able to shine bright in the light.”

Today, the star player focusses on entrepreneurship. He founded two businesses, Maona & Mint Concept and Café Couture, in which he can execute his passion for quality, health and lifestyle. Pieter has no regrets in life, he believes that without mistakes, he wouldn’t have made it this far. “Embrace every challenge life throws at you and be grateful for what you’ve got.”

Loridon played a total of twelve seasons at Racing Basket Antwerp, Ghent, Okapi Aalst and Antwerp Giants and 55 games for the national team, Belgian Lions. He made his debut in 1992 and became top scorer twice, in 1998 and in 2001.


 

 

KIMBERLEY KLAVER

Playing leading roles in hit-series such as “Voetbalvrouwen”, “Spangas” and “Vechtershart 1 & 2” Dutch actrice Kimberley Klaver is no stranger to the spotlights. Besides her work on several television shows, she founded her own company, SET Academy, an organisation that facilitates workshops in  various fields within the media.

Being stuck in the same place for too long doesn’t work for Kimberley; “Change means renewing, learning and growing for me. Change is exciting because it can turn your life upside down. There is so much to learn and there are so many phases in life that you can experience... and that’s what life is all about.”

Until she was 25, Kimberley was searching for her identity. “I was very insecure about who I was and what my purpose was in life.” Looking back at that time, Kimberley wishes she would have trusted her intuition more. However, if she could do it all over again she would not change a thing. “If I had done everything right and had never made a bad decision, I would not have learned as much as I have now. I believe that you gain from every experience. As long as that is the case, it will all be okay in the end. You should never strive for perfection, strive for a better version of yourself.”

Today, Kimberley has reached the point to where she is proud of the woman she’s become. She is currently working on a brand new tv show and is also planning on writing a book about love, which will be based on true stories.

 


TAMARA COUPERUS

You thought famous bloggers and vloggers arrange everything by themselves? Think again! Boss lady Tamara Couperus is the steady force behind many social influencers in the Netherlands, such as Anna Nooshin and Lizzy van der Light, to name a few.

She has a knack for sourcing talent, that’s for sure! Tamara describes herself as ambitious, open-minded and positive. Her biggest motivation for running her business? “Competition! Change plays a big role in  this industry. I work in online marketing and sales, so it is very important for me to stay ahead of trends. It’s hard work but I love it, it keeps me focussed.”

Tamara gets a lot of support from her friends and family. “My dear mother is very proud and always supports me in everything. Yet she always wants to warn me in a very subtle way, haha, but that's just what mothers do, I think.”

Though her career revolves around social media, Tamara prefers to keep her private life away from the spotlight. She shares a home with her boyfriend in Haarlem. “I am very grateful for the people I have around me, who are very stable and down to earth, which I think is very important to continue growing.”

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RUUD GULLIT

Dutch football manager and former international player, Ruud Gullit, is surprisingly down to earth for a man of his calibre. “A day without laughter, is a day wasted”, is a quote he lives by. Ruud is widely recognized as one of the best Dutch football players ever and was part of the so-called 'golden generation' which became European champion in 1988. Positive energy and patience is what has always fuelled him. Now, two decades after his legendary football career came to an end, he spends most of his time coaching and training young talent.

Besides his remarkable career as a football player, Ruud actively fought against racism. He dedicate the prize he won for “best player in Europe” in 1987, to South African leader and activist, Nelson Mandela, in honour of his lifelong fight for equality.

Despite his achievements, he is most proud of the person he has become through life experiences. “If things do not go the way you planned, it just wasn’t meant to be. There is no such thing as coincidence. Mistakes shape our identity and the idea is to learn from them and do better next time.” The best advice he would give his 18 year old self? “Listen to your intuition, it’s always right.”

At the beginning of this year, Ruud founded the FIFA 18 e-sports team "Team Gullit", which is represented at EA Sports's international electronic sports events, with hopes of finding the next superstar.

 

 

OLIVER RAUH

Creativity is something you’re born with. From advertising director at Hugo Boss to freelance creative today, German fashion stylist, art-director, producer and designer, Oliver Rauh, is a man of many talents. With a client list including Hermes, Mercedes Benz and Condé Nast Germany, to name a few, he is taking over the industry by storm.

“Change means challenge, positive thinking, openness, curiosity and believing in yourself. In this industry, you have to be innovative to maintain your position.”

“We, as human beings are all different, we all have our own individuality. Being able to highlight someone’s individuality, is what makes you stand out from the crowd. Fashion changes rapidly, which means I have to be able to adapt constantly. To stay successful, I change the clothes, without changing my style.”

The one thing he doesn’t change is his positive energy, especially within his team. “Different people have different knowledge and everyone brings something new and exciting to the table. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, it’s how we keep growing and a way of social reflection.”

 

 

 

 

 

PERRE VAN DEN BRINK

Few people are as humble as Perre van den Brink. After a flying start gaining experience at Diesel and Levi’s, the fulltime creative bird currently stands at the head of Virtue, the full time service content agency of Vice Media that makes campaigns for brands like Coty, Albert Heijn and Nike. In addition to his full-time job, Perre runs menswear label Tratlehner together with long-time friend Freddy Tratlehner.

At only 35 years of age, Perre has achieved many things both on a professional and personal level. Nevertheless, his biggest pride is without a doubt, being a father to his 2 year old son. And great news, he is about to become a father for the second time! “It’s change all-over again! What I really like about being busy, is that you learn to prioritise. So the busier I get, the more I stop doing certain things, the more time I spend on those things I really love.”

His curiosity to find better and new ways to do something is what motivates him. “It’s nice to work on something new, that’s what keeps me excited. At the end of the day, I would like to find the ultimate balance between hard work, hard leisure and good sleep.”

RUSSELL HEARSEY 

Russell Hearsey, owner of Good Vibes Only barbershop in Ibiza lives the good life. According to him, being a barber isn’t a job, but a lifestyle — a laidback one and one he’s happy to keep up throughout the festive season in preparation for the next season in Ibiza. 

For this hippy-at-heart, the best gift you can ever give is love, friendship, time and respect. And the best gift you can give him in return? “I’m not one for materialistic stuff these days, so I suppose the best gift I’ve received is the ability of free movement, travel, meeting new people, having new experiences and experiencing new cultures. I like the unknown.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ALLAN HARDEN-BERG

Few people are as involved in the Dutch dance scene as Allan Hardenberg, co-founder and CEO of ALDA. His ethos is that “music is how we tell stories, escape reality, fill the world with positive vibes, connect with others and turn the world into one giant dance floor.” As you’d expect, the best gift he ever received was music related, too. “When I reached a milestone with my business, I received a really sweet and unexpected message from my son. It was a link to a song. My motto has always been ‘music is what feelings sound like’ and the fact we shared this together was really special.”

Family is central to Allan, who says he threw a party, together with this sister, for his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. “They got ‘remarried’ at that party. It was very special because they didn’t have a wedding party the first time around.”










JORD ALTHUIZEN

 Self-proclaimed ‘carnivorous adventurer’, Jord Althuizen, author and owner of Smokey Goodness and partner in Antwerp’s Black Smoke restaurant and The Rough Kitchen in Amsterdam and Scheveningen is spending this December doing what he loves the most; closing his business for the season, spending time with his family and writing his third barbecue book.

“It’s a cliché, but my two daughters are the best gift I have received,” he says. “They remind me on a daily basis what’s important in life. There’s nothing more rewarding than spending time with them and witnessing how they’re shaping their world”.

As for the footprint he’d like to leave on the world, Jord says he hopes to encourage a more thoughtful relationship with food. “Everybody seems stuck in a rat race, taking less and less time for cooking and eating food. Let’s not forget the importance of a meal made from thoughtfully sourced ingredients, prepared in a rustic manner and shared with loved ones.”









MARIT ILJA WEDDE - POHL 

Marit Ilja Weddepohl, owner of Skins Cosmetics Ibiza knows the best things in life are free, citing the best gift she’s ever received as her son, Storm Roman — as well as the privilege to lead a good life. She’s spending her festive season a little non-traditionally, “I’m going on an adventure to Mexico and Costa Rica!” 

It’s the non-material things that make giving fun for Marit. The huge-hearted entrepreneur says the best gift she’s ever given is love and shelter to all the stray animals she looks after.













MARTIN CARVELL

Martin Carvell, Managing Director of DJ Magazine is a romantic. He counts the best gift he ever gave as the engagement ring he presented to his now wife. “I have a friend who is a jewellery designer and, when I was ready to propose, she took me to Hatton Gardens to choose three diamonds (an emerald cut and two tapered baguettes), we designed the ring together and then I kept it in my pocket for about eight months until I could arrange a surprise trip to New York by sending flowers to my now wife’s work telling her to finish work early,” he says. “On our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I both commissioned the same artists, Sally Muir, to paint portraits of our dogs. We both did it independently and she painted them as a pair without either of us knowing, so it was a good surprise when we both opened our matching pictures!” 

The globe-trotting MD is gearing up for the magazine’s Best of British awards in mid-December before a chilled out season visiting family.

 




 




AIDA SHOJAEE

International model, owner of Social Skills Agency and co-owner of Thank Me Later sun lotion doesn’t believe in boundaries. “My way of thinking is that you should do whatever you want, even if it’s impossible,” she says. This fearless attitude might explain her over-achieving entrepreneurial mindset. Her career takes her all over the world and allows her to ditch the chill of northern Europe over the winter and head to warmer climes. “We’ve spent the winter in Bali for almost ten years,” she says. 

But, when it comes to Christmas, Aida is all about the money-can’t-buy moments. “The best gift I’ve ever received is definitely my mum,” she says. “And the best gift I’ve ever given is our first dog, James, to my hubby. I think he found his soulmate there!”










ERIC KEIJER

Events guru, Eric Keijer, is Sensation’s General Manager — a job that takes him all over the world. So, it’s no surprise this jetsetter is spending the holidays travelling — with his family — to Dubai, Australia and Singapore. Travel is important to Eric, who says the best gifts he’s ever given have been plane tickets. “After their 70th birthdays, I gifted my parents a few holidays to Cuba and South Africa,” he says. “Another ‘gift’ I’m really proud of is the €36,000 I raised for running the New York marathon for dance4life, a charity that educates and empowers young people to protect their health and make informed safe sex choices. I made 150 different bets with friends to finish in a decent time!”

When it comes to gifts he’s been given, though, he says nothing beats his family. “My two beautiful, sweet daughters, Nirvana-June and Jaylinn, are by far the best gift I’ve ever received,” he says.

 









SOENIL BAHADOER

“The life of a chef is completely different to those who work 9 to 5,” says Soenil Bahadoer, two star chef and owner of De Lindehof restaurant in Nuenen. “We don’t think too much about the upcoming holidays and how we will spend time with family. My family is here in De Lindehof Restaurant.”For those that know Soenil, this will come as no surprise; for him, the best gift comes from the heart and his passion is delivering creative, delicious meals — with a conscience. “My message for everyone this season would be to please be careful with food. Look after the planet earth, don’t pollute and be kind to Mother Earth, as she is to us. Look after it because I want my children’s children — as well as yours — to enjoy food & life as we enjoy it today." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Pack like a pro

Yannick Somers 

Belgian model and menswear influencer— Yannick—is always on the go with work. He’s nailed the art of looking good on the go with versatile accessories, body weight workouts and skincare essentials. 

“Most of the time when I get away for a holiday, I’ll choose a beach   destination. I love sunny holidays and I try to hit the beach at least three times a year. My ideal spot is Bali for its island life mentality and great surfing. 

I’ll always pack a camera when I travel so I can get those Instagram beach photos. Long days on the beach call for few essentials. I’ll take a copy of Men’s Health to read while I’m sunbathing—it gives me some inspiration for my beach workouts. Even when I’m on holiday, I train. I try to do workouts that can be done on the beach, like running or power training. That way I make the beach my gym. I pack my Nike trainers and go for a run, or attach some gymnastic rings to a tree and do some calisthenics. 

When I spend all day on the beach, I make sure I look after my skin and hair with Bio Oil to keep everything in good condition and I always wear my Ray Ban sunglasses. I pack some hair wax: It helps keep beachy waves in my hair! 

Since I bought them a month ago, I’m never without my Edwin Small ring, Edwin Small bracelet and Edwin Leather Black bracelet. They add an element to an outfit—and they work really well with beachwear and swimwear. 

I travel with a Scotch & Soda perfume, too—it’s a good idea to spritz a little on before a night out. It’s something the ladies notice! 

Follow Yannick on Instagram @somers_yannick

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Pack like a pro

Ever see those people who make travel look so easy? Who look as at home on the beach as they do in an airport lounge? The secret is to pack savvy, with bags stuffed with holiday essentials that are versatile and stylish—after all, nobody wants to be dragging around heavy suitcases. Still need inspiration? We asked serial travellers and style influencers, Yannick Somers, Evelien Riupassa and Priscilla Rosmolen for a look inside their travel bags. 

Evelien Riupassa & Priscilla Rosmolen 

Few people have to pack as regularly and efficiently as Evelien and Priscilla, the duo behind We Like Bali, a blog covering island life, travel and fashion that sees them jetting all over the world—in style! 

“We spend about half the year in Amsterdam and half the year in Bali, and we’re always between the two for work. We love island life and destinations with beaches—when we’re on holiday we want to surf, we want beautiful culture and things to explore. We’re addicted to tropical destinations! This year Hawaii, Australia and Fiji are on our bucket list.

When we’re packing for a weekend getaway, we love this handmade bag from Kim Soo, our favourite interiors shop in Bali. It’s a great travel bag—it’s huge, so we can fit a laptop, camera and a change of clothes inside. It’s got that island vibe about it too—it looks like a holiday bag! 

Our new travel bag essential is our travel guide to Bali, which has info about 250 of our favourite places across the island. I always carry a copy to show people. 

When we’re holidaying somewhere sunny, we carry Bali Body coconut tanning oil—it’s a chemical-free sunscreen and it smells so good! We always have bikinis with us, too. A lot of them are by Gooseberry Seaside, a Balinese brand. We love that they’re local. 

Another thing we pack is a sarong. It’s kind of an essential in Bali because you need it for everything—for the beach, to wear as a scarf on the plane and to use as a blanket when it gets a bit cold. This one is a vintage, hand-dyed Indonesian piece. We love how multi- functional it is—and it makes a great souvenir. 

We never travel without good jewellery, and this set of Buddha to Buddha rings is really special to us because it’s local and we have friends who work there. Because of the heat in Bali, people tend to wear less clothes so there’s less of an opportunity to dress up—it makes jewellery really important for making you feel ‘dressed’ for a night out. 

And we always have sunglasses in our bags—on sunny days we can’t be without them. The pink pair are by Pared. The other pair are fun kaleidoscope sunglasses that we use for shoots sometimes. Our bags usually have a few props and cameras in for shoots. We carry a Fuji camera and our new toy is a 360 camera, which we just used to video our travels in L.A.—we can’t wait to use it in Bali, too. L.A. has the kind of vibe we like, but with an urban edge, too.“ 

 Follow Evelien and Priscilla on Instagram @welikebali

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BYDANIE: MY STYLERULES

The stylist and vintage store owner walks us through her wardrobe

Style 

When you mix and match, you create your own style, which I think is really important. I like to wear new with vintage and high street with high end. My personal style is somewhat bohemian with a little rock ‘n’ roll with some classic nods, too. I like to wear a mix of colours and prints and incorporate some old-school elements, too. I’m a big fan of old Levis worn with a men’s shirt, leopard print or vintage prints, for instance. I’m always shopping for vintage finds, whether it’s in my Amsterdam vintage store, ByDanie, or when I travel. One of my favourite places to find vintage pieces is the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, where I’ve found amazing Japanese bomber jackets. I also love What Goes Around Comes Around in New York and L.A., and Parisian markets, too. I’ll wear anything from H&M to Chanel, as long as I love it. 

Occasion 

When I get dressed in the morning, I tend to build my look around the event or location I’m going to that day. Obviously, if there’s a dress code, that’ll dictate your look for the day but, if not, I tend to get dressed according to how I feel that day. If I have something new I’m excited about—like a really bold new necklace—I might build my whole look around showcasing that. 

Jewellery 

My bracelets and rings are a big part of my look. I’ll usually either wear a mix of small, delicate gold and silver pieces piled up, or I’ll choose a few select strong pieces. I love chunky Buddha to Buddha bracelets worn with old, ripped Levis and a man’s shirt. I get really attached to my jewellery and I’ll go through phases when I don’t take off a piece for months at a time. At the moment I’m wearing several Buddha to Buddha chain bracelets I got on a holiday in Ibiza, along with some bracelets my kids made for me, a bracelet my mom got me from India and another I picked up in Hong Kong. I always have on a minimum of five bracelets and I wear them even when I sleep. 

Follow ByDanie on Instagram @bydanienl

 


STYLESECRETS OF BELMODO’S TIANY KIRILOFF 

An insider’s guide to expert accessorising 

Belgium-based style blogger and founder of Belmodo blog, Tiany Kiriloff is known not only for her business savvy but for her ever-changing style, love of colour and ability to put together a killer outfit. The long-term fan of Buddha to Buddha talks us through her wardrobe and how she accessorises her look. 

My style 

I’ve always had an eclectic style. I was born in the Netherlands but I lived in Chile until I was 13, so my style is influenced by both those cultures. Some days I dress like a Christmas tree and other days I go for a minimalistic look. I don’t like to label my look because style grows and changes—that’s the fun of it. My favourite Buddha to Buddha piece is one of the big chains—I got it years ago when I was a little broke, but I’d wanted it as soon as I saw it. I had to have it. I think women should buy jewellery for themselves. It shouldn’t have to be linked to a memory or an event—just buy it because you love it. I mix and match everything, prints and colours and even different metals—I’ll wear gold with silver and even rose gold. I want my look to show who I am. I like to wear my Buddha to Buddha jewellery with other jewellery, too. It’s simple to layer it all up. Another of my favourite pieces is the Buddha to Buddha thumb ring I wear, which I bought in a bigger size with my thumb in mind! It adds a little extra detail to your arm party. 

My outfits 

Statement sleeves are big this season. They’re simple to wear and add punch to an outfit. It’s a very accessible look. I love stripes and this looks great with jewellery—the rings and bracelets go with everything. 

 This ochre dress is a look I love at the moment because I’m in a Marrakech mood. I’m going next week and I’m channelling that. I’m longing for the sun! I’ve been a fan of Buddha to Buddha for many years. I like that it’s slightly masculine and tough. It mixes well with girly styles for a look that’s bold, visible and strong. Frida Kahlo is my style icon. I think she would have loved Buddha to Buddha. I have three kids, so the outfit I put together on any given day depends on the time I have to get out the house. I usually start with the shoes— they are so important to an outfit. My look also often depends on the weather and how I feel. After fashion week, I don’t want to think about outfits anymore. I just live in my jeans for a while. I always say I have nothing to wear, no matter how full my wardrobe is, but I do look for new outfit combinations within my wardrobe when I have time. 

My rules 

I don’t have style rules, but I set myself some shopping rules. If you have second thoughts about a piece of clothing, don’t buy it. That’s the golden rule for me. Even if friends say it looks good, you have to trust your feeling. You won’t wear it or feel comfortable in it if you have a niggling doubt. 

I think it’s a good idea to think outside the box sometimes and get out of your comfort zone. Jewellery is a great way to do that—to experiment with a new trend without going all-out with it. Another rule is to get rid of stuff every now and then—if it’s been hanging in your wardrobe untouched for over a year, get rid of it. I also think you can never have enough shoes. I only have two feet, but… 

Follow Tiany Kiriloff on Instagram @belmodotiany

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MR. PROBZ 

THE DUTCH SINGER TALKS CONTEMPLATION AND CELEBRATION 

by Mark Smith 

Born Dennis Princewell Stehr, the Dutch singer-songwriter Mr. Probz first tasted international success when his song ‘Waves’ was remixed by German DJ Robin Schulz and became a riptide hit. Since then he’s earned fans in high places, guesting on tracks by the likes of 50 Cent and Professor Green, and touring with superstar DJ Armin van Buuren. As his stage name hints, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Mr. Probz, though. He tells Mark Smith how life’s triumphs and challenges have informed his 

 What are you up to today, Mr. Probz? 

I’m on my way to the airport. I’m flying to Jakarta as part of Armin van Buuren’s tour and we’re doing major cities around the world. Last week we were in Moscow, the week before that we were in Cologne and the week before that we were in, ah—wow, I can’t even remember! I have my own solo gigs in between so it’s kinda crazy right now. Once it’s over I’ll be able to focus on some studio time. 

Are you usually on time for check-in? 

I try to be, but because of my busy schedule, it doesn’t always happen. Last week I was in Dubai and I thought it would be fine to check in an hour in advance. As it turned out, the whole airport was full to bursting and it wasn’t looking good at all. But then a really nice lady stepped in, helped us through security in double-quick time and made everything okay. We really wouldn’t have made it without her. 

What are your tips for getting the best out of people if you need a favour? 

In the case of the airport, don’t approach the desk in an arrogant way. Sure, people are there to do the job but at the end of the day, they’re still people and they want to be treated with respect. Do that and you’ll be treated with respect in return. I’ve seen people get it totally wrong. They walk up to the desk, throw their passport down and expect miracles to happen. Then, when miracles don’t happen they freak out and it’s a mess. 

You believe in miracles, then? 

I certainly do. The fact that I’m still here, that I’m talking to you, that I’m on my way to the airport to travel to a place I never thought I’d see is a miracle in itself. If you’re looking for someone who’s a sceptic, it’s not me. I see miracles every day in everything. The fact that I have a career is a miracle in itself. 

Well, clearly you were born with a beautiful voice… 

You know, I didn’t know that I could sing. I’m not one of those entertainers that grew up knowing they were going to be on stage. It was something I came to later on in life. In general, though, I just learned how to turn my setbacks into my fuel. Actually I don’t even use the word setbacks anymore, because I only believe in challenges. Let’s say something bad happens, I always wonder what I have to do with it. Sometimes it’s clear what I can do with it, sometimes it takes a little longer. 

Can you tell me about some of the challenges you’ve faced? 

Oh, there are a million things. My house burned down, I’ve had car accidents, I had all these really life-changing moments but they weren’t life-changing just because they happened, they were life-changing because I understood why they happened. I had to lose everything to gain the world. 

A house fire can be a positive thing, then? 

In my case, yes, because I had to lose my house and everything I owned in order to let go of the ghosts that were all around me. I feel like I lost all my limitations at the same time. And two days after the fire I played my song on national TV and my life changed. My lungs were black and I was sitting there in borrowed clothes. I’d never played the guitar or sung in front of people but I just knew it was my time. I could feel it. I grabbed it with both hands. 

How did the fire start? 

I still don’t know. I just woke up and there was smoke everywhere. There were flames all over the place and I had to jump out of a window. I always give myself a day or two to feel bad and after that, it’s time to move on. 

I heard Solange Knowles say something similar, that when she and Beyoncé were kids their mother would give them two days to mope, then it was time to get on with life. 

 “I just woke up and there was smoke everywhere. There were flames all over the place and I had to jump out of a window.” 

That’s it! The world just keeps on turning. You can sit there and feel bad and sad, but it’s not going to help your cause. The original version of ‘Waves’ came out about four months after the fire. Then the remix came out and it exploded. 

Did you participate in the remix? 

I did, but a lot of people don’t know that. When I put out the original, there were a lot of remixes and bootlegs. None of the DJs had my original sound files, which is problematic when you’re working with a live recording. The original wasn’t played on a metronome, so when you put a beat under it, it doesn’t work. But there was one version, a bootleg by Robin Schulz that I really liked, so I contacted his people. They sent me his files and I turned it into a radio version. It was a good collaboration from both sides—I couldn’t have done it without him and he couldn’t have done it without me. 

Reciprocity. But you hadn’t even met Robin at that point? 

No, but six months later there was an Amsterdam Dance Event gig in the Netherlands and I just turned around and there he was. 

You bumped into him? That’s lucky! 

Yeah, he played at an event at Melkweg and I decided to pay him a visit. I just jumped on stage and the whole crowd went crazy.

It wasn’t long before you were guesting for 50 Cent, who’s had his share of ups and downs. Did you talk philosophy with him? 

I think he’s someone who knows how to surprise people. He’s all about doing what he has to do, by any means necessary. That doesn’t work for everyone, it depends on what kind of character you have. It was cool to talk to him and learn from him, though. I learn from everyone I meet. A stranger in the grocery store can tell you something you didn’t know before. I’ll speak to anyone if their energy is cool. 

Do you find touring gruelling? 

It’s exhausting, yes, but at the same time, it gives me energy. If you don’t like what you do then you shouldn’t be doing it. You have to be happy—that’s your own responsibility, you know? We’re all responsible for our own happiness and if I didn’t want to be touring, I’d stop. This is what I wanted, this is what I asked for and this is what I got. There are people out there that would kill to be in my shoes right now so why would I even dare to not be thankful for what I have? 

Have you ever been in that situation of doing something you didn’t want to do? 

Absolutely, lots of times. But if you look at the greats—all the greats, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in music, film or philosophy—those people got where they are because they always followed their intuition. Look at Nelson Mandela—he made the most enormous sacrifices because of what he believed in. Great people trust their intuition, they have the ability to listen to that little voice inside their head. We all have that voice, the trick is not to ignore it. 

What’s your intuition telling you right now? 

It’s telling me I’ve got to fly.