K's Choice

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K's Choice
Origin Antwerp, Belgium
Genres Alternative rock, Folk rock, Post-Grunge
Years active 1994–2003, 2009–present
Labels Sony
Website www.kschoice.com
Members Sarah Bettens
Gert Bettens
Eric Grossman
Thomas Vanelslander
Reinout Swinnen
Koen Liekens
Past members Jan van Sichem Jr.
Bart van der Zeeuw
Erik Verheyden

K's Choice is a Belgian rock band from Antwerp, formed in the mid-1990s. The band's core members are siblings Sarah Bettens (lead vocals, guitar) and Gert Bettens (guitar, keyboard, vocals). They are joined by Eric Grossman (bass), Thomas Vanelslander (lead guitar), Reinout Swinnen (keys) and Koen Liekens (drums). The band has produced gold and platinum albums.

Band history[edit]

In the early 1990s, Sarah and Gert played in an amateur band, The Basement Plugs. This led to the discovery of Sarah, who was offered a chance by a label; mainly because of her smoky, enigmatic voice. Under a more English name, Sarah Beth, she appeared on several movie soundtracks with covers including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (originally by Hank Williams) for the movie Vrouwen Willen Trouwen (Women Want To Marry) and a duet with Frankie Miller, "Why Don't You Try Me", (originally by Ry Cooder) for the movie Ad Fundum. She was offered a contract and formed a band with her brother Gert. The band was named The Choice and in 1994 they recorded their debut album The Great Subconscious Club.

In 1993 the band had five more or less permanent members: Sarah and Gert Bettens, Jan van Sichem, Jr. (guitar), Bart Van Der Zeeuw (drums) and Erik Verheyden (bass). These five toured Germany and the United States in support of the Indigo Girls. When they learned of another group in the U.S. named The Choice, they changed their name in order to avoid legal problems; they decided upon "K's Choice" by going through the alphabet to see which letter would sound best in front of the word choice. Since they thought they needed a story behind the new name, they used to tell that the K referred to Joseph K. from Kafka's the Trial, but later the band revealed the arbitrariness of choosing the "K".

In 1995 they released Paradise in Me. Not an Addict, the first single taken from this album, was very successful and brought international fame. This single was their most popular hit, and even 10 years later in 2006 received fairly good airplay in major markets. For the next year (1996–1997) they toured supporting Alanis Morissette, who heard the band playing on a European festival and handpicked them as her support band. In 1998 Cocoon Crash, their third album was done. Meanwhile American Eric Grossman had become the permanent bass player. In 1999 the band appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the episode "Doppelgängland" performing their song "Virgin State Of Mind". The song appeared on the soundtrack Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album. It was at this point that their drummer Bart van der Zeeuw had been replaced by Koen Liekens. In 2000, their last studio album Almost Happy was finished and release in Europe in September. In 2001 Live (a 2-CD collection of live recordings) was in stores in Europe while Almost Happy was released in the U.S.A. with another cover and a second CD of some songs from Live. In 2003 Ten (a collection of ten years of singles and songs that didn't appear on their albums, plus the brand new single "Losing You") was released, accompanied by a DVD bearing the same name.

In 2003 the band decided to go on a sabbatical. Gert and Sarah both wanted to try out some solo work. Gert produced an album for a Belgian band, Venus in Flames, and Sarah recorded a solo mini-CD Go and appeared on several movie soundtracks with songs of her own ("All of This Past" for Underworld and "Someone to Say Hi To" for Zus and Zo). In addition to four full albums, a live album, and a best-of, they also produced four limited edition and fan club CDs: Extra Cocoon, 2000 Seconds Live, Home and Running Backwards.

In 2005 Sarah released her solo album Scream in both Europe and the U.S. Sarah has been performing tour dates in both hemispheres. Gert, having flirted[clarification needed] for a while with the band name Moon Brigade, has announced that his new band's name is "Woodface" (which is also the name of one of his favorite albums from Crowded House). Woodface released its first album Good Morning Hope on 19 September 2005.[1] Sarah released another solo album called Shine and Gert another Woodface Album Comet in 2007. In 2008, Sarah released another album, Never Say Goodbye.

In an October 7, 2008 interview with Austin Sound Check, Sarah confirmed plans for a new album in 2009.[2] The band's official website stated in June, 2009 that the new album should be released early 2010. Gert and his band Woodface opened at several of Sarah's shows in 2007 and 2008. During Sarah's encore, they performed several well-known K's Choice songs. On June 8, 2009, six years after K's Choice announced their indefinite hiatus, the band's official website announced they will perform at the 35th edition of Folk Dranouter on August 7, 2009. In 2009, to celebrate the return of K's Choice on the international level, Sony Music released the compilation album The Essential K's Choice.

K's Choice recorded their fifth studio album Echo Mountain in the Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina. On February 22, 2010, they confirmed on their website that the new album will be released on March 26, 2010. "When I Lay Beside You" and "Come Live The Life" were released as singles. In 2011, Sarah and Gert recorded a follow-up to Echo Mountain in the form of an acoustic CD called Little Echoes. For this album and the following tour, the both of them were only joined by pianist Reinout Swinnen.

Music[edit]

Their music can be described as guitar-based singer-songwriter rock or folk-rock. It ranges from very delicate and intimate singer-songwriter songs to songs that are stronger, more active and louder. Sarah's smoky, enigmatic voice is the band's best known characteristic. In the seven years between The Great Subconscious Club and Almost Happy the music changed from raw and guitar-based to a more subtle and delicate sound. Sarah and Gert write all of the music and lyrics. Most of it is written separately. Sarah mainly tries to express ideas in her songs, and has a hand in writing silly and tongue-in-cheek songs. Gert has one big theme: losing the one you love. While most of the songs are easily accessible and open, some others are strange and incomprehensible. This led Gert to comment regarding their song "Virgin State of Mind": "Listening to the lyrics for the first time, you may find it hard to understand their meaning. When you listen to them a second time, however, you may sense a basic truth in these cryptic words. If you do so, please let me know."

Discography[edit]

Compilations and fan club-only CDs[edit]

  • Extra Cocoon (1998)
  • 2000 Seconds Live (1998) (fanclub only)
  • Live (2001)
  • Home (2001) (fanclub only)
  • Running Backwards (2003) (fanclub only)
  • 10: 1993-2003 - Ten Years Of (2003)
  • The Essential K's Choice (2009)

Billboard Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1997 "Not An Addict" Modern Rock Tracks 5
1998 "Everything For Free" Modern Rock Tracks 28

References[edit]

External links[edit]