As a teenager in Geneva, Switzerland, Wout picks up a guitar and learns to play and sing his favorite songs. He fantasizes about being a songwriter like Cat Stevens and dreams of playing with great musicians.
One day, in 1989, while hanging out in a music room of his school at lunch time, he meets fellow student Alex Wilson. Alex teaches him how to play “Pink Panther” on the piano.
Time goes by and years pass. Wout makes a career as a successful entrepreneur in Geneva, but he continues writing songs.
In 2017, after seeing videos of Alex, who’s become a professional pianist and producer, Wout decides to contact Alex to ask for help to fulfill his musical dream. “Do you remember me; you taught me how to play the “Pink Panther” 27 years ago?”
He does remember, and the two meet up again at Alex’s studio in Zurich, and over several months they go through Wout’s material. Alex proposes arrangements for the songs and gives Wout the confidence to go ahead.
In June, they record the album at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove studio in London. They are joined by an impressive list of talented musicians, including Greg Bone on guitars, Tristan Banks on drums, and Davide Montovani on bass, and of course, Alex on Piano and Hammond Organ. Several amazing musicians record extra materials, such as Jenny Adejayan on cello, Ant Romero on Percussions, and Pepe Justicia on Spanish Guitar.
The vocals are then recorded in Geneva, and the album is mixed by James Towler at Steve Winwood’s Wincraft studio.
The Album “Sparks & Traces” comes out in January 2019.
Wout’s songs are genuine and authentic. The arrangements are rich and harmonic. Exploring different styles inspired by folk, classical, rock, his lyrics tell stories of dreams, tongue in cheek missed opportunities, accepting who you are, anxiety, insomnia, love, and his receipes for being happy and not taking yourself too seriously. The songs are original, sometimes emotional, sometimes tongue in cheek.
Looking back at the adventure; Wout says : “Alex really helped me make my dream come true, also by giving me the confidence I needed. Working with such gifted musicians was amazing, and they pushed me to try to do the best I could. Of course, there is always room to do better, but I am proud of the end result and I feel I’ve accomplished something by making something genuine.”
Critics said they were impressed by the arrangements; they enjoyed the diversity of the songs and they felt touched by authenticity of the music. One described the album as “good and serious music by someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously”.