Waylon is a Dutch pop singer with a retro soul- and rock-influenced style who rose to fame on the reality television show Holland's Got Talent in 2008 prior to making his Top Five hit album debut with Wicked Ways in 2009. Born Willem Bijkerk on April 20, 1980, in Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands, he named himself after his idol, American country music outlaw icon Waylon Jennings. His musical career initially took flight around the turn of the century, when he was signed to a recording contract with EMI
for a brief period of time. Though little came of his association with EMI
, he sent one of his recordings to his idol and was surprised to get a phone call from Jennings, who invited the Dutch up-and-comer to join his tour in the United States. It was 2001 when Waylon flew to Nashville and joined Jennings for some live dates. Tragedy struck shortly thereafter, however, when Jennings was hospitalized with diabetes and passed away on February 13, 2002. Waylon returned to the Netherlands crestfallen and struggled for several years. His life took a positive turn in 2008 when he was cast on Holland's Got Talent. Though he failed to win the show, finishing in second place behind contortionist Daniëlle Bubberman, he garnered significant fame in the process. In the wake of his impressive showing on Holland's Got Talent, he collaborated with British hitmakers Martin Terefe and Sacha Skarbek on his solo album debut, Wicked Ways (2009). Comprised of English-language material, the album found him pursuing a retro soul- and rock-influenced style. Released in association with the Motown subsidiary of Universal
Music, Wicked Ways reached the Top Five of the Dutch albums chart and spawned the Top Ten hit single "Wicked Way," along with the follow-up singles "Hey" and "Happy Song."
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