Amsterdam singer-songwriter VanWyck – alias of Christine Oele – spent her childhood moving between continents, her twenties both studying history and playing different roles in different bands, her thirties combining work as a historian with a music career, before finally focusing on one goal in her mid-forties: a solo career as a singer-songwriter. She took her grandmother’s maiden name VanWyck and embarked on an adventure that can now – three albums, numerous tours, and performances all over Europe later, only be described as an unexpected success. VanWyck is now 50 and has just signed her first record deal with iconic indie label Excelsior Recordings.
“It took me a long time to find my voice and maybe even longer to claim my space in public life. But I have now and I’m really happy that I did. What has driven me onwards these last years against better judgment and against a music industry that until very recently wasn’t very interested in the voices of women, let alone older women, are the songs. They keep calling to me and I keep having to respond. I think I have something true to share, whether it’s about an alcoholic lost in a supermarket, a goddess raging at a landscape, a whispering garbage man, or a drowning girl. I feel it’s my job, my duty, to let them out into the world, to build them homes where they can blossom, so they can search out the people who are in need of them. Like the girl in eastern Russia who did her wedding dance to ‘Lead me on’, or the American farmer who wrote to tell me that because of ‘Your Favorite Tune’ he cried over the death of his wife for the first time in years. Success is not about streaming numbers or sales figures, it’s about forging a true connection with an audience, it’s about the joy of creating. It’s about being honest and brave – even when that is sometimes painful. It’s about trying to eke out the truth and having the courage to share it. With every album I feel I’m getting better at doing just that.”