With her warm voice, rich lyrics and sober alt-folk craft, Amsterdam singer-songwriter VanWyck has drawn comparisons with Leonard Cohen, Natalie Merchant and Laura Marling. She released her first EP Tanned Legs in 2015 to international acclaim. Her debut album, An Average Woman, came out in January 2018 on her own Maiden Name Records, and was hailed by the Dutch music press as one of the best releases by a native artist in years.
In VanWyck’s words, the album has its roots in:
Searching out the voices that kept calling to me, from untold stories in our past, from everyday women who struggle and fail and the mythical ones that mirror our dreams. An Average Woman explores the roles we are dealt and the ones we create for ourselves.
On her second album, Molten Rock, VanWyck again veers between dark folk, lush Americana and alternative rock influences, but ends up in a very different place:
So much of what is thrown at us today is one-dimensional, but life is almost always more complicated. […] We are forever doomed to balance between conflicting notions. If you can surrender yourself to that, you discover a new space. I think this album addresses the search for that space.
At the end of last year, VanWyck released a third album of personal, intimate songs called God is in the Detour. With four new songs which she wrote and recorded during lockdown and four older ones that she remastered, the album speaks of finding solace in unexpected places.
VanWyck will perform at the launch of The Dutch Riveter at the British Library on 17 March, alongside writers Simone Atangana Bekono, Karin Amatmoekrim and Maartje Wortel, translator Sam Garrett and illustrator and political cartoonist Henny Beaumont.
Here is The Dutch Riveter book list, should you want to buy any.
Photo of VanWyck by Jitske Schols