K3 (band)

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K3 ahoy.jpg
Background information
Origin Belgium
Genres Pop
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1998–present
Labels BMG (1999–2002)
Studio 100 (2002–present)
Website Official website (Dutch)
Members Karen Damen (1998-present)
Kristel Verbeke (1998-present)
Josje Huisman (2009-present)
Past members Kathleen Aerts (1998-2009)

K3 is a Flemish/Dutch girl band with a Dutch repertoire, mainly aimed at pre-adolescent children. The name of the group is derived from the names of the three original members: Karen Damen, Kristel Verbeke and Kathleen Aerts. Kathleen Aerts left the group in 2009. Josje Huisman was chosen as K3's new member on October 3, 2009. Their music is produced by production company Studio 100 and is written by Miguel Wiels, Alain Vande Putte and Peter Gillis. K3 was founded by Niels William.

The band became famous without any airplay from the regular music television channels like MTV, instead marketing directly to children via children- and cartoon-channels.[1]

Their signature is that the girls in the group all three mostly wear the same outfit. The band is mostly known as one of Europe's biggest acts[citation needed] and longest running girl band and they are famous for their poppy-happy songs[citation needed] and K3 dances.[citation needed]


K3 performance - Oostende - 2001
K3 performance - Hasselt - April 2006

Rise to fame (1998-2002)[edit]

The band K3 started by Niels William. Initially they had female in their twenties as their target audience, which is noticeable in their early song lyrics. Their first single, "Wat ik wil" (What I want), was not very successful.

In 1999 K3 participated with the song "Heyah Mama" in the live television shows to select the Belgian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. The song was not well received by one of the judges, Marcel Vanthilt, who referred to the band members as assorted meat products. Notwithstanding, "Heyah Mama" was released as a single and became the first big hit for the band.

The song stayed at the number one spot of the Flemish Ultratop 50 chart for 16 weeks and would eventually be listed in the chart for 34 weeks. Their next two singles also reached the number one position, resulting in an uninterrupted period of 32 weeks in which a K3 song was at the top of that chart. About a year after becoming famous in Flanders K3 also became famous in the Netherlands.

The songs are written by Miguel Wiels, Alain Vande Putte and Peter Gillis. This trio previously collaborated as songwriters for Flemish singer Isabelle A.

K3 is noted for being the first pop act to break through to the top of the charts without receiving any airplay from the regular music television channels like MTV and TMF. Niels William's new marketing concept was based on promotion via children and cartoon channels like Fox Kids.[1]


Name Date of birth Position
Karen Damen October 28, 1974 Main Vocalist
Kristel Verbeke December 10, 1975 Main Vocalist
Josje Huisman February 16, 1986 Main Vocalist

Former members[edit]

Name Date of birth Position
Kathleen Aerts June 18, 1978 Main Vocalist

Studio 100 era (2002-present)[edit]

Since 2002 the band is managed by Studio 100, a Flemish television production company for Dutch and Belgian children's programs.

Songs like "Heyah Mama", "I love you baby", "Alle Kleuren" (All colours), "Blub, ik ben een vis!" (Blub I'm a fish), "Tele-Romeo", "Toveren" (Doing magic), "Verliefd" (In love), "De 3 biggetjes" (The three piglets), "Oya lélé", "Hart verloren" (Heart lost), "Liefdeskapitein" (Captain of love), "Kuma He", "Ya Ya Yippee", "Dokter Dokter" (Doctor doctor) and "Kusjesdag" (Kissing Day) were hits for the band. K3 have released eight albums. Their eighth album Ya Ya Yippee sold more than 50,000 copies in pre-sales within the Benelux.

K3 present a children's television program called De wereld van K3 (K3's World). Originally there were Dutch and Flemish versions, but only the Dutch version remains.

The band has released several DVD's with video clips, with their musicals or films, and with specially recorded footage like K3 in de Ardennen (K3 in the Ardennes).

In 2007 a team from Madame Tussauds in London took measurements of the band members for wax statues.[2] K3 unveiled these wax statues at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam on 4 July 2007.[3]

Line-Up Change: Kathleen leaves K3 (2009 - 2014)[edit]

On Monday March 23, 2009, Kathleen, the blonde singer, announced her departure at a press conference. "It was a tough decision, after all I gave the best years of my life to K3. People change and life is constantly in motion; I'm 30 now and after ten years it's time to move on". She made her last two appearances with K3 in June at a Studio 100 showcase at the Rotterdam Ahoy. Karen and Kristel would then search for a replacement on television.[4]

Belgian shownews-programme De Rode Loper reported that two celebrities were auditioning for the vacant spot but this appeared to be an April Fool's joke. Meanwhile Kathleen has signed up for UNICEF ambassadorship and is likely to quit singing altogether.

The two remaining members of K3 kept searching for a new member. This time through a reality show called 'K2 zoekt K3'. In the final episode the Dutch Josje Huisman became the newest member of K3.

In 2010 K3 will shoot new episodes for their kids-talkshow and will also start with their own sitcom called "Hello K3". The sitcom will air on television in fall 2010. A new single and album with the same name will also be released in the late 2010 or early 2011. Their sitcom was also renewed for a second season which will be premiering in the Netherlands and Belgium in September 2011.

Departure: All members leave K3 (2015 - present)[edit]

On March 18, 2015, it was announced that all current members would leave the group. K3's label has announced however that they'll look for new members in late 2015.[5]


K3 performed in several musicals. In Doornroosje (Sleeping Beauty), during 2002, they played three good fairies and in De 3 biggetjes (The three piglets), during 2003. They played the eponymous three piglets, Knirrie (Verbeke), Knarrie (Damen) and Knorrie (Aerts) and reprised these roles in 2007 for a tour of both Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2010 they came back with a new musical Alice In Wonderland (the first 3D-Musical in the whole world) this time with Josje Huisman.

K3 Museum[edit]

On 10 June 2006 a party was held at Plopsaland to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Studio 100. At this occasion the band members opened the K3 Museum which provides an overview of their career. There are interviews, clothes and props from the films to be seen, including the air scooters from the film K3 en het Magische Medaillon (K3 and the magic medallion). The countless gold and platinum discs can be seen too.

K3 Language[edit]

Through making music, the girls created their own Language. Called K3lish. Heyah Mama was their first song that featured K3lish, just a few words in the chorus. A lot of songs of the band have words like this in the songs. The self-made language is a mix between African and Simlish.

Projects in other languages[edit]

In 2002 K3 recorded English, French and German versions of their Tele-Romeo album.

After having sold K3 to Studio 100, the founder Niels William moved to South Africa in 2002 and started his own music studio there. In March 2007 he launched X4, a 4-girl group singing translations of K3-songs in Afrikaans and English. They released one album: Heyah Mama, which also featured the single of the same name.[6]

In May 2007 Studio 100 launched a German version of K3: Wir 3. They do not only sing translated versions of K3 songs (starting off with Heyah Mama) they're also modelled after the originals (consisting of a redhead, a brunette and a blonde) .[7]

Band members in non-K3 activities[edit]

Aerts was the stand-in for the title role in the musical Sneeuwwitje (Snow White) and during the pregnancy of Verbeke, Aerts played the title role in De kleine zeemeermin (The Little Mermaid).

From February till May 2008 Verbeke appeared in the musical Pinokkio as Nina de Ballerina, the title character's conscience.

Damen plays a PE teacher in television series Het Huis Anubis (The House of Anubis) for the Dutch Nickelodeon channel.

In September 2007 Damen was a panel judge voting the Belgian entry for Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

The band members have occasionally, separately or collectively, taken part in the television program De Notenclub, which allowed them to sing a more grown-up repertoire. Miguel Wiels, who is the co-author of most of the K3 songs, is one of the two regular piano players in the Flemish version of that program. Another song writer for K3, Alain Vande Putte, has also appeared as singer on that show.

Karen Damen is also a judge on Belgium's Got Talent.


Main article: K3 discography


The group made several television appearances, DVD's and three theatre-movies. And the girls have also their own talkshow.

The members of K3 have also made several films. In 2004 they released their first: K3 en het Magische Medaillon (K3 and the magic medallion). The film premiered on 29 September 2004 and received favourable reviews. In the film Dutch television celebrity Paul de Leeuw played the stark raving mad genie.

In 2006 the second film, K3 en het IJsprinsesje (K3 and the little ice princess), was released. In this fairy tale film Carry Tefsen played the witch at the pancake house, Peter Faber played the king and famous Belgian comedian Urbanus played the wizard. More than half a million people in Belgium and the Netherlands went to the cinemas to see the threesome melt the spoilt princess' frozen heart.

The third film, K3 en de Kattenprins (K3 and the Catprince) had its Dutch premiere on December 20, 2007 and reached gold status (attendance in excess of 150,000 people) in two weeks time.[citation needed]

On December 12, 2012, a fourth K3 movie was released, K3 Bengeltjes (K3 Little Dangles), in Belgian and Dutch theaters. This will be the first movie without Kathleen, Josje's predecessor.

On February 12, 2014, a fifth K3 movie was released K3 Dierenhotel (K3 Animalhotel), in Belgian and Dutch theaters. This will be the second movie with Josje Huisman.

There is now also a television series about the three girls called Hallo K3! (Hello K3!). Hallo K3! is a Flemish/Dutch comedy series produced by Studio 100, which premiered in the fall of 2010. The series revolves around the three girls of K3 together to live in an apartment and trying to balance a normal life and be a superstar balance. This creates comic situations.

Title Translation Release date Remarks
Alle Kleuren All colours 13-9-2001
Tele-Romeo 17-6-2002
Doornroosje, de musical Sleeping Beauty, the musical 23-1-2003 First Musical
Toveren Tour Magic tour 2-5-2003
De 3 biggetjes, de musical The three piglets, the musical 30-10-2003 Second Musical
K3 in de Ardennen K3 in the Ardennes 24-11-2003
K3 in Wonderland K3 in Wonderland 16-2-2004
5 jaar K3 5 years of K3 10-3-2004
K3 en het Magische Medaillon K3 and the magic medallion 27-1-2005 First Bigscreen Movie
De wereld rond Around the world 9-5-2005
K3 in Ahoy K3 in Ahoy 27-4-2006
K3 en het IJsprinsesje K3 and the little ice princess 16-11-2006 Second Bigscreen Movie
K3 in de sneeuw K3 in the snow 10-01-2007
K3 Clipparade K3 clip parade 08-04-2007
K3 Superfan Quiz Game 11-04-2007
K3 en het Heksenexamen K3 and the Witch's exam 23-05-2007
K3 Karaoke 12-11-2007
K3 en de Kattenprins K3 and the Catprince 09-04-2008 Third Bigscreen Movie
K3 en het Toverhart K3 and the magic heart 12-11-2008
K2 terug K3 K2 back K3 10-02-2010 first DVD with Josje Huisman
K3 Show MaMaSé! 19-05-2010
Hallo K3!Volume 1 Hello K3, vol 1 2011 with 3 episodes
K3 en het wensspel! K3 and the wish game 2011 clips of old and new songs
Alice in Wonderland, de musical Alice in Wonderland, the musical 2011 Third Musical
K3 Bengeltjes K3 Little Dangles 2012 Fourth Bigscreen Movie
K3 Dierenhotel K3 Animalhotel 2014 Fifth Bigscreen Movie

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cabenda, Pablo (2001-11-26). "Peuterpop". Voorkant (in Dutch) (de Volkskrant). p. 9. 
  2. ^ "K3 in was gegoten" (in Dutch). Telegraaf. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  3. ^ "K3 in was gegoten" (in Dutch). Algemeen Dagblad. 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Kathleen stapt uit K3" (in Dutch). De Standaard. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  5. ^ http://www.nu.nl/muziek/4013179/leden-van-k3-kondigen-afscheid-aan.html
  6. ^ "X4 is Zuid-Afrikaanse versie van K3" (in Dutch). Studio 100. 2004-03-13. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  7. ^ "K3-variant moet Duitse kinderharten veroveren" (in Dutch). Telegraaf. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 

External links[edit]

This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the Dutch Wikipedia.