dimanche 1 septembre 2013

José Hoebee: She's the Greatest LUVer!!!

My Interview with José

José Hoebee has always been special to me. This fabulous songstress was born in Best, NL like my mother. We have a friend in common, Miek van den Hurk who could arrange our first meeting in 1990. Later I met José at meet'n greet afternoons in 2008 and 2009. Last year she had hard times when her husband Will Hoebee passed away and Luv' disbanded. But the lady is a survivor and has decided to relaunch her career. I'm honoured to be one of her Facebook friends and one day I asked for an interview. And you know what? She accepted...

José at "Nederland Muziekland" show on August 27th in Ede, NL

Ralph: You were Luv's lead singer and recorded the most vocal lines in the studio. Did you take singing lessons prior to your recruitment as a member of Luv'? How and when did you know you were talented?

José: I was 15 when I started a group with my two sisters and a friend Ad van Genechten. He's still my best friend. We sang traditional folk songs of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Donovan and Leonard CohenI never had singing lessons. Just technique: how to use my voice with the songs I perform.

José (in the middle) formed the folk band "Young Tradition" with her sisters and a friend in 1969. The group later became a vocal trio called "Elongi" which recorded a single in 1976 with Piet Souer.

Ralph: Success is hard to predict. But according to you when you were a Luv' singer which single did you feel had the most hit potential before its release? Which song did you feel could be a hit when you first performed it?

José: I never had a commercial feeling. On our first album we recorded a song called "Who do you wanna be". To me that was the song I would have released as a single.

Sexy and exotic Luv' (1978)

Ralph: Were back-up singers used on some Luv' recordings?

José: Never. We sang all the songs ourselves. Except Piet Souer and Hans van Hemert helped us with the backing vocals.

Ralph: The decision to release a song as a single was taken by the record company and the producers. But which song(s) should have been released as a single?

José: None other. They knew exactly which songs could be hits and they were right.

Ralph: What are your favourite Luv' and solo songs? the songs you like the least?

José: My favourite Luv' songs are album tracks like "Boys Goodnight", "Getaway" and "Mother of the Hearts". The song I didn't like was "You're the Greatest Lover". How wrong can you be! It was our biggest hit. As for my solo tracks, I liked all of them except "I'm so sorry" which was my first solo single. And I was right: it wasn't successful.

Luv' in hot pants (1978)

Ralph: What's your favourite experience on stage? Favourite live performance with Luv' and solo?

José: I can't answer. Everything has been a great learning experience. Everywhere we performed, the audience was wonderful. The public made us feel great.

Luv' in camp costumes at the Amsterdam Arena (2006)

Ralph: During Luv's glory years, you performed on many TV shows (TopPop, Disco, Musikladen...) and you met Dutch and international artists backstage. With which group or singer did you feel the closest? Any "backstage" memories?

José: We did many shows with Boney M. Bobby Farrell and I were good friends. He had a big nose and I always had a complex about my big ears. Everytime we met he used to sing "I've got the nose, you've got the ears. Together we'll sing in a couple of years". We met many famous stars back then but Bobby was always my favourite.

Luv' and Bobby Farrell (of Boney M.) backstage at "De Toppers" show at Amsterdam ArenA (2006)

Ralph: During the recording sessions with Hans van Hemert and Piet Souer, you had to follow their instructions. But did you make any contribution? Were you and the girls allowed to speak your mind? Did you tell the producers when you were not satisfied artistically? 

José: No. They decided how to do it. Once I told Hans that one line was not correct in English. In "Let there be love" he had written "I want to grow up my child". That's wrong. Actually he should have written "I want to raise my child". But he didn't care. He said: "this sounds better". Haha...

Ralph: Luv' worked with two record labels (Phonogram/Philips and CNR/Carrere). Which of these record companies respected the most your integrity? 

José: Both of them were good to us. No complaints whatsoever.

Luv' in 1979

Ralph: As a solo artist, you've often covered classic hits from the 1960's (I Will Follow Him, Secret Love, Be My Baby....). Some were even hits in the Netherlands and Belgium. Which song(s) that you never covered would you like to perform?

José: I've always been a big fan of Leonard Cohen. That's why I did "So long, Marianne" of him, but I would really like to do more of him.

José at the peak of her solo career in 1982

Ralph: During your solo years, apart from Will Hoebee, who was your favourite producer and songwriter? And why?

José: Pim Koopman. He was the sweetest, great talented and humorous man. We really clicked.

Ralph: You recorded some duets (with Bonnie St Claire, Ron Brandsteder, Anny Schilder and Peggy March). With whom would you like to record a new duet?

José: Like I said before, Leonard Cohen is first on my list.

Ralph: What can you tell about "Luv' in Paris"? What are your memories of France? Patty sometimes went there to buy the group shoes and outfits. Do you remember the TV shows you did there?

José: We didn't do many shows in Paris . So I don't remember much of that. I know that we went to a restaurant and we wanted to eat lobster. Then the waiter came and showed us a live lobster. Then we decided to eat steak....

Luv' at the Champs Elysées (Paris, 1980)

Ralph: Which French singers/bands/songs do you like? Which French artist(s) have you met?

José: When I was young I liked Adamo and Françoise Hardy. During our stay in France we met Sacha Distel. He was very nice...

Ralph: You are very experienced. Would you like to coach young artists? What's your advice for newcomers?

José: I don't want to coach anyone. Times have changed. All I can say to newcomers is "be yourself and don't let success change you!"

Ralph: What's your opinion on talent shows on TV (The Voice of Holland, X Factor, Holland's Got Talent...)? If you were a teenager again would you like to take part in those competitions?

José: Perhaps. I did talent shows in my teen years. I think that the winners of these shows don't know what happens after they win. Most of them are forgotten after a few months. In our days we really had to work before we became "someone". These "winning children" start great and most of the time they end up being ignored. 

Ralph: You've just relaunched your singing career one year after Luv's break-up. What are your projects?

José: I'm going to do gigs again with Bonnie St. Claire and re-issue our album with ABBA covers. Hopefully we will add a bonus track to it. I also hope to do shows as a solo artist again. 

Bonnie & José on "Nederland Muziekland"

RalphYou were supposed to release a duet with David Soul (a good friend of Will and yours) but it never happened. Why? Are you still in touch with him? 

José: David is still a very good friend of mine. I would have loved to do the duet with him but he didn't want to record "Don't give up on us" again. So that's why I did it with Piet Souer.

José and David "Hutch" Soul (1981)

Ralph: You recorded background vocals for "Doris D & The Pins" at ABBA's studio and a TV special was taped in Stockholm (in the same studio) with Bonnie St. Claire. Did you meet the members of ABBA?

José: No, I'm sorry to say that we never met them. But one of the guys (don't know which one...shame on me...) was on our TV special. After he had listened to our album, he said that he really liked what we had done. You can't think of a better compliment.

Many THANKS to José for making this interview possible and for your music !!!

10 great dates in José's career:

  • September 2nd 1978: "You're the Greatest Lover" by Luv' hit the number one spot in the Netherlands. It later sold one million copies worldwide and charted in a dozen countries.

  • December 16th 1978: Luv' had their second #1 hit with "Trojan Horse". It was also a million seller thanks to its strong presence on the hit parades of twelve territories.

  • January 1st 1980: Luv' received the Conamus Export Prize for being the "Best Dutch Export Act of 1979" thanks to their success in Benelux, German speaking countries, Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand and Mexico. Between 1978 and 1980, the trio collected 12 gold and platinum records. They eventually sold 7 million records worldwide.

  • March 4th 1981: Luv's first break-up was announced to the media.

  • July 3rd 1982: José scored a solo #1 hit with the cover version of Peggy March's "I Will Follow Him". She was the first female singer who had #1 hits on the Dutch Top 40 as a member of a group and as a solo artist. Diana Ross (of the Supremes), Yvonne Keeley (of the Star Sisters), Melanie C (of the Spice Girls), Sita (of K-Otic) and Beyoncé (of Destiny's Child) later established the same record.

  • August 3rd 1985: "Zoals Vrienden Doen", a single in duet with Bonnie St. Claire entered the Dutch charts and later became a Top 40 hit. This song is a cover version of ABBA's "The Way Old Friends Do" produced by Will Hoebee. It's the most iconic track of the "Bonnie & José" duo.

  • April 26th 1993: Luv' reunited to give a memorable show at the legendary "It Club" in Amsterdam to launch their "Gold" CD.

  • May 26th, 27th and 28th 2006: The Luv' ladies took part in the mega shows of "De Toppers" with Bobby Farrell (of Boney M.) at the Amsterdam ArenA.

  • March 16th 2011: José and American singer Peggy March re-recorded "I Will Follow Him". A unique collaboration between the legend who originally performed this world hit in 1963 and Miss Hoebee who covered it 19 years later. The duet appeared as a bonus track on the 2012 edition of Peggy's "Always and Forever" album. 

  • August 11th 2012: Luv' gave their final show at the Dutch Valley Festival


José Hoebee's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jose.hoebee
José Hoebee's Official Fan Club: http://jose-hoebee.clubs.nl/

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