Guus Meeuwis is a Dutch singer and songwriter who made his breakthrough with backing band Vagant in the middle of the 1990s. At the turn of the century, Meeuwis became a solo artist. He secured a steady following and enduring success well into the new century. As a musician, he mixes recognizable melody lines with reflective and romantic lyrics. Meeuwis was born in Mariahout, on March 23, 1972. In his early teens, he picked up the guitar and started singing. After high school, he went to Tilburg to study, and in 994, he and a couple of friends entered a talent competition for talents in Leiden and won with a single Meeuwis wrote after a romantic weekend with his girlfriend, entitled "Het Is Een Nacht." As a result, the group was offered a recording contract. The single appeared in the summer of 1995. It reached the number one position within a few weeks, selling over 250,000 copies. His next single, "Per Spoor (Kedeng, Kedeng)" also reached the number one position, staying there for three weeks. His first studio effort, Verbazing, a double album, was released in 1996; it contained both hit singles and sold in excess of a 150,000 copies. Meeuwis and Vagant were both loathed and loved for their student-like appearance and sound, but despite their critics, their success was unquestionable.
Second album Schilderij was recorded and released in 1997, and spawned two more hits, "Ik Tel Tot Drie" and "‘T Dondert en Het Bliksemt," selling 70,000 copies. Although still substantial, Vagant's success was declining. Meeuwis' biggest success of that year came after penning a number one single, "Toen Ik Je Zag," sung by actor Antonie Kamerling on the soundtrack to the film All Stars.
Vagant's third and final studio album, 1 Voor Allen, was recorded over the course of a few years, but finally hit the stores in the beginning of 2001. Meeuwis experienced trouble with his vocal chords, and even underwent an operation. With 1 Voor Allen, Meeuwis tried to sail a new, more serious course, but record sales were disappointing.
Unhappy with the image and expectations of Vagant, Meeuwis became eager to change his musical persona and establish a more mature appearance and audience. So in 2001, Vagant broke up. With studio musicians filling in for Vagant, Meeuwis released his first solo album a year later, simply entitled Guus Meeuwis, on the EMI label. For the record, Meeuwis enlisted the help of respected musicians as Daniel Lohues and Paskal Jakobsen and covered a song of critic's darling Frans Halsema. None of the album's singles, however, reach the Top 40.
All this changed in 2004, when Meeuwis was asked to perform "Geef Mij Nu Je Angst" by the widow of Andre Hazes at the latter's funeral ceremony. Meeuwis had recorded the song earlier that year as the B-side of the single "Ik Wil Je" and performed it at Hazes' 25th anniversary concert. The song was released as a single, and reached the top of the charts. Later that year, Meeuwis released 10 Jaar Levensecht, a best-of compilation which included two new singles. The album was an immediate success, eventually selling over a 150,000 copies.
Meeuwis' second solo album, Wijzer, appeared a year later. Lead single "De Weg," became a hit, and after three sold-out shows at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Meeuwis embarked upon a theater tour. In 2006, to top off his comeback success, he also won a Gouden Harp and an Edison Award. Wijzer would eventually sell 70,000 copies.
Never a prolific songwriter, Meeuwis locked himself in a beach house, and came back a week later, after he had written enough material for next album, called Hemel Nr. 7, which was released in 2006.For the next recording session, Meeuwis' vocal chords were still bothering him, and the release date was postponed until 2007. The single "Tranen Gelachen" reached the number one position. Summer performances in PSV Eindhoven's football stadium kept Meeuwis busy the next few years, culminating in a four-night residence scheduled in the summer of 2008. ~ Philip D. Huff, Rovi