So Long 2016!

Judging from all the memes, news reports and Facebook statuses I have seen over the past few days and even months, I am not the only one for whom 2016 has been an intense and tough year. I have danced and stumbled through it, but I am still here! :) It has been a year of more extreme highs and lows, but all in all, I look back with a grateful heart. I trust that all the experiences lived and lessons learnt will lead to more love, more grace, more wisdom, and hopefully more songs... I am grateful to everyone who loved, challenged, advised, supported, encouraged, listened, came to gigs, booked me for gigs, played with me and gave me opportunities to grow. Thank you!

Instead of focusing on what was rough, I would like to share some highlights with you, mostly related to music. My life is not just a good news show, and I have definitely had my struggles this past year, but in the end I believe that I can choose joy and gratitude in the middle of life's storms.

1. January: Izaäk and I had the opportunity to head to Friesland to record 2 songs live in Sing Sing Studios with Milan Ciric. It was a really nice experience with really nice people and you can watch the result here and here.

2. February: Izaäk and I headed to Rotterdam for the first time to play a lovely gig at De Machinist. Thanks Timon Both for the absolutely wonderful pictures taken that evening! And here's one of them:

3. March: I had just had my wisdom teeth pulled, smiled like a hamster and then met Noreen Donovan at a St. Patrick's concert, who interviewed me after a friend introduced us and I gave her a copy of my EP. You can listen to the interview here. Oh, and I set up Elisabeth Daniel Productions! Small beginnings...

4. April: Meetings, family and friends. This is a good moment to mention that I started taking singing lessons again in the beginning of 2016 with Hannelore Primusz. I also met up several times with Lee Ann Vermeulen, a.k.a. The Creatives Coach, who asked some good questions to help me define myself as an artist a little better.

5. May: Trip to Thailand with my husband! We saw so much beauty, but one of the highlights was our visit to Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehabilitation center for elephants. This is us looking extremely overheated, feeling sweaty in places I didn't know could sweat, but totally enamored with those impressive beauties.

6. June: Festival month! I volunteered at two festivals in June: Zwolle Unlimited and Rock Werchter. Both couldn't have been any more different, but both were very fun experiences! Fun stories, like Rock Werchter getting so muddy that I almost had to get my car towed at 1:30 AM after my shift, but got saved by a few guys who helped out. They probably left looking as muddy as my car. Oops. Or the camp fire jam sessions after the daily program at Zwolle Unlimited, where we all just got together and played and sang. If you want to see what I look like in a really bright pink t-shirt and a golden hat (Zwolle Unlimited uniform), have a look here where we did an impromptu Buitenpianist session.

7. July: spent time in the Netherlands for a lovely gig, the UK to visit a friend, and left on a little tour in Germany at the very end of the month.

8. August: started with the little Germany tour. What an adventure that was... I was privileged to meet the wonderful Genna and Jesse, singer-songwriters and troubadours I opened for during the tour. There are some pics on Facebook and in the blog post I wrote about the experience, but here is one of the three of us together right after we first met. We look really serious, but we were having fun on the inside.

And then there was holiday time!

9. September: gigs in the Netherlands! You can view my entire Heemskerk FM performance here, and here is a link to some videos made during a radio gig at Omroep Almere during MusicMagic. It was also my first time playing in Amsterdam. Here is a picture:

Photo credit: Guus Helms

And I started taking violin lessons again. Slowly but surely...

10. October: I was invited to give a TEDx talk at UBI Wiltz. Here is a blog post about the experience, but just in case you haven't watched the talk yet, I am once again posting the video below.

I also wrote and co-wrote some new songs that I am excited about. You can have a little sneak peek of one of them here. And my friend Dieuwke De Mooij had her short films premiere! She and her team did an amazing job; she pulled off a big project!

11. November: wonderful house concert experience (you know who you are!) and a break in Austria with friends.

12. December: gig month. This year ended with some really fun gigs in different settings and places, and I am very grateful for each of them. Going after gigs is still a challenge for me, but I am getting better, and to see that reflected in my calendar felt like a personal victory. Here is a picture from last Friday at the Winterwoorden Gildenfestival in Zwolle:

What 2017 will bring, is still largely a mystery. I am sure, though, that some new and exciting adventures are just around the corner! I will keep you updated as much as I can. I look forward to trying new things, writing more songs, playing more gigs and learning a lot in the process once again.

Thank you for being on this adventure with me! I wish you all love, peace, hope and health in this new year! May you be blessed beyond your wildest dreams! Cheers!

Happy New Year!

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