In the spotlights: The Netherlands – Jeangu Macrooy

Jeangu Macrooy was born in Surinam. His name is unique, it is a combination of his mother’s name Jeannette and his father’s name Guno. He is the half of a twin, his brother’s name is Xillan. In their youth, Jeangu and Xillan did everything together. If they made a drawing, like children do, Jeangu made one half of it, Xillan the other half. Even if they wrote a song, they wrote it together. They formed a duo together: Between Towers. They thanked their name to the fact that both of them are very tall. The boys released their first and only album together, “Stars on my radio”.

When the boys were 19, they went to the Netherlands. Their grandparents lived in the Netherlands, so there was a link already. When they went back to Surinam, Jeangu’s dream became to study in the Netherlands. It was hard to do something without his twin brother for the first time. On the other hand, in the Netherlands he felt free to be openly gay for the first time; a special moment for Jeangu, who went to study in the city of Enschede, in the eastern part of the country. He studied at the ArtEZ Pop Academy.

Enschede was the place were it all really started for Jeangu Macrooy in the Netherlands. He met music producer Pieter Perquin (Perquisite) there. Perquisite was a guest teacher. He immediately recognized the talent Jeangu has. They started working together in 2016, which resulted in the EP “High on you”. It resulted in being 3FM Talent (3FM is a Dutch national radio station), in performances in one of the most watched Dutch tv-shows, “De Wereld Draait Door”, and an Edison Pop Award in the catagory Best New Artist. His debut single “Gold” even became part of a commercial on HBO for “Game of thrones”. An album with the name “High on you” followed, and a new highlight in Jeangu’s career followed: he hit the number 1 spot in the Surinam music charts! Again, Jeangu was nominated for an Edison Pop Award, this time in the catagory best album.

It was around that time that also something special happened in Jeangu’s personal life: he met his boyfriend Sebas van der Tangen. The two currently live together in Amsterdam.

One year later a new highlight in the life of Jeangu appeared. He could play the role of Judas in “The passion”, an annual Dutch show in which the story of Easter is told in Dutch songs. The show is viewed by 3,5 million people.

A new album, “Horizon” followed in 2019. A special Horizon-tour was planned for early 2020. And something else came up at the same time. Already in 2019, Jeangu Macrooy was asked whether he might be interested in representing the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest. Jeangu liked the idea, but was waiting for the right song to represent The Netherlands. In early 2020 it was announced that the Dutch selection committee had chosen Jeangu to do the job. In march, he presented his song “Grow” to the audience. In the show “De Wereld Draait Door” Jeangu explains: “Last year, for the first time in my life, I had a period in which I did not know it anymore. I was not comfortable with myself. The song is actually in two parts: the first part is about getting older, growing up and finding out that there are no manuals in life. And that there is no clearly pointed out path to happiness. I was shocked by that; I was angry and frustrated about that. But then there is the second part and it’s about accepting that it’s all highs and lows. That if you go through it, you eventually learn and grow.”

But then COVID19 came. The Eurovision Song Contest was canceled. Jeangu’s Horizon tour was canceled as well. Although that was a hard time for Jeangu, he became one of the most visible artists in 2020. He gave a concert on kingsday (the day Dutch people celebrate the birthday of the king). On the 4th of may, when the Dutch commemorate the people who died in Worldwar II, he performed. Jeangu made a new video of his old song “Gold”, where he stated that the day when the slavery has been abolished in Suriname and the Dutch Antiles should be a national celebration in the Netherlands.

When the Eurovision Song Contest was canceled, Dutch broadcaster Avrotros immediately came up with a statement: “We will remain #teamjeangu for 2021”. Jeangu was going to write and produce the Dutch Eurovision Song in 2021. It became “Birth of a new age”, a personal story. Some lines in the song were sung in Sranantongo, one of the languages of Suriname. The lines “Yu no man broko mi” were based on a Surinam saying, “Mi na afusensi, no wan man broko mi” (I’m half a cent, nobody can break me). In fact Jeangu says with these lines “I might be very small or not worth anything in your eyes, but you can’t break me”. The message is meant to empower people. “I hope I can let people feel their power”, Jeangu said in an interview with Eurovision hots Nikkie Tutorials.

Jeangu hopes that after Eurovision, whole Europe will open up to him. At least he will go back to the studio for new material!


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