Jan Smit (singer)
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Jan Smit during a concert in Zwolle in 2006
|Birth name||Johannes Hendricus Maria Smit|
|Also known as||Jantje Smit|
|Born||December 31, 1985|
|Genres||Pop music, schlager|
|Years active||1996 – present|
Johannes Hendricus Maria “Jan” Smit (born December 31, 1985) is a Dutch pop music and schlager singer and TV host. He scored his first number one position in the Dutch charts with Ik zing dit lied voor jou alleen (I'm singing this song only for you) in 1997 at the age of 12. He was then known as “Jantje” Smit. Smit made his acting debut in the critically panned Dutch movie Het Bombardement (2012), a love story set against the German attack on Rotterdam in the early days of May 1940.
Smit was discovered by Dutch middle of the road band BZN, who used his vocals in a duet called Mama. He has released several albums in Dutch and German since.
Jan dedicated the song Ik zing dit lied voor jou alleen to his grandmother. In 1997, Smit toured South Africa with popular Afrikaans singer Nádine. In 2000, Smit won the Grand Prix der Volksmusik singing Ich zeig dir die Berge (“Let Me Show You the Mountains”) with Oswald Sattler for South Tyrol. In 2001, Smit won the Exportprijs for his success in Germany, France and Italy. In Germany, he became one of the best selling Dutch artists ever, with German-language albums specifically aimed at the German market.
After three big hits in the late 90s, Smit's popularity began to wane gradually. His albums Jan Smit (2000, #32), Zing en Lach (“Sing and Laugh”, 2001, #33), Zonder Jou (“Without You”, #40) and Op Eigen Benen (“On My Own Feet”, #45) sold fewer copies than the first two albums from his child star era.
However, Jan was still very popular in Germany, where he spent most of his time touring. 2005 marked his comeback in his home country, when regional television host Willie Oosterhuis picked up a Jan Smit song recorded in 2003, Als de nacht verdwijnt (“When the Night Is Over”). Oosterhuis heavily promoted the song on his show, resulting in moderate success.
During the same period, Dutch broadcaster TROS wanted to produce a real life soap about Smit, with the focus on his life as a teenage star in Germany and The Netherlands, and on his private life in the seaside village of Volendam. The reality soap became a TV hit and an accompanying album, Vrienden voor het leven (“Friends for Life”) brought Smit back to the top of the charts for the first time in a few years. It was written for his cousin Niek Smit.
In 2006, Smit had several big selling hit singles, such as Laura (about a friend who died of cancer), Als de morgen is gekomen (“When the Morning Has Come”) and Cupido (“Cupid”). Smit usually includes special tracks on his CD singles, such as live recordings, previously unreleased tracks and CD-ROM content, to appeal to his loyal fanbase. In 2007 he topped the single charts again with Op Weg Naar Geluk (“On The Road To Happiness”) and with Dan Volg Je Haar Benen (“Then You Follow Her Legs”), and the album charts also with the album “Op Weg Naar Geluk” which sold 160,000 copies in its first four days after being released, going double platinum.
In 2006, he also recorded Kerst voor Iedereen (“Christmas for Everyone”) which was a Christmas duet with Dutch TV host Bridget Maasland as a part of Dutch TV show Katja vs Bridget. Later, Smit also recorded the song with his younger sister Monique Smit, who has also started a singing career.
In 2007, he planned to tour the Netherlands again with the Jan Smit Komt Naar Je Toe tour (“Jan Smit Comes to You”) but due to problems with his vocal cords this tour had to be postponed. For at least six months Jan Smit had to rest his voice.
Dan volg je haar benen was Smit's fifth Number One single in The Netherlands, making him one of the most successful soloists in Dutch chart history.
In July 2009, Jan Smit recorded together with Surinam singer Damaru Mi Rowsu (Tuintje In Mijn Hart) (“My Rose (Garden in My Heart)”). This song reached the peak position in both the Single Top 100 and the Dutch Top 40. In September 2009, the song reached the platinum status (20,000 singles sold).
In 2010, Jan recorded the single Terug in de tijd (“Back in the Days”) of his album Leef and reached the charts within a week later in its highest position. He also released the single Zie wel hoe ik thuiskom (“See How I Get Home”) which was at the highest position in the charts.
In 2011, a new single Hou je dan nog steeds van mij (“Do You Still Love Me”) was released and a month later the Collector 15 jaar hits. After one week, Smit was again on the highest position of the Top 100 with this single.
Smit is also a TV host in the Netherlands for public broadcaster TROS. Among his shows are De Zomer Voorbij (“The Summer Is Over”), in which he meets fellow Dutch artists and singers on holiday locations in southern Europe.
He supplied commentary at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. In 2012, Smit hosted the Eurovision Song Contest national final and again was a commentator during the Eurovision finals in Baku.
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