The name Pierre de Maere is increasingly prominent in Belgian music circles and will undoubtedly become more so in the coming months. So, if you don’t already know, who is he and what is all the fuss about?
The singer, who just turns 21 on 24 May, is already being lauded alongside his contemporary Iliona as one of the rising stars of 2022. But the young man, who was born in the Brussels municipality of Uccle, was an unknown a few months ago.
Pierre says he has never had any musical training and began his journey by performing with GarageBand at home when he was 10. In the few short years that followed, he began making his own videos for release via social media and was eventually spotted during the first lockdown by the prestigious Parisian independent label Cinq7 which gave him his big break.
"Around the age of 10 I received an iPod Touch on which there was the application ‘GarageBand’,” he says.
“That's what allowed me to understand the codes of music. It is a tool through which you can easily make loops, editing, record your voice etc.
He says he was still in primary school when he wrote his first songs in 'kind of English'. "At the time I was quite confident, because I was very young... And I published my first songs on YouTube. I received support from my friends and parents. In fact, I've always been trying to get a reaction to what I create. The pleasure I felt in making music, already at that time, was to be able to share it and discover the reactions of those around me."
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As well as his atypical vocals backed by electronic strings and dance beats, Pierre not only sounds the part but looks it too, with some observers saying he could have stepped directly off a catwalk.
Sporting a mop top worthy of the Beatles and cutting a slender silhouette which is dripping in androgyny, Pierre de Maere has a model’s image and a strong musical identity that many are convinced will lead him to stardom.
This is something he has also been working on from a young age. He discovered the power of the image and photography at the age of fifteen, an interest that could have led him down a different path until he realised, he could combine both his love of music and photography to great effect.
"At the age of 15, I kind of lost interest in music a little and focused on my photography,” he says. “At the age of 18, I enrolled in photography class at the Beaux-Arts in Antwerp. It was unfortunately a failure and not up to my expectations, I only stayed there for a year. I then relaunched myself in music and I quickly decided to publish a first song in March 2020 on Spotify, Deezer and other streaming platforms."
When ‘Potins Absurdes’ hit social media, things changed dramatically. Belgian music label Cinq7 quickly snapped him up, signing an EP and a debut album which is due out in January 2023.
Pierre works with his brother, a sound engineer, to create his songs, in a collaboration reminiscent of the one between Stromae and his brother, the artistic director and producer Luc Junior Tam. Pierre says he is inspired by Stromae but says his world is closer to that of Eddy de Pretto, a French singer-songwriter.
With a string of French and Swiss dates this year, including a performance at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in July, the expectation will be high for Pierre’s return to a local stage in November when he plays La Madeleine in Brussels on the 18th. By then, one can only assume, he can look forward to a rapturous homecoming.