For the last year and a half, medical student Rosann Kerckhaert’s life revolved around The Voice van Vlaanderen. A series of rehearsals, interviews and live shows made for a jam-packed agenda. Unfortunately, she had to leave the competition after the semi-final. “It was hard. I had been working at it for a long time, and suddenly it was all over. I had been looking forward to it my whole life, and that was it”, the 21-year-old student candidly explains.

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In this live show, Rosann sang Dat heb jij gedaan by Meau. Image credit: VTM

Rosann, who was born and raised in Zeelandic Flanders, has been fascinated by the talent show from a young age. Every Friday night without fail, she would sit in front of the TV to watch The Voice van Vlaanderen. “I thought the live shows were so cool and interesting”, she recalls. She had never thought about pursuing a career in the music world herself, until she started writing songs and performing small gigs during her time at university. “Only then did I think: this is really cool, so maybe I should go for it after all.”

Medical internship postponed

Her decision to take part in The Voice was partly due to COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, her medical internship was postponed. “It was awful for me, because I’m a die-hard student. I love studying. As an over-achiever, it’s a bummer to hear that you have to wait a year to continue your studies”, she says. To make the most of the year, she signed up for The Voice. “Each round, I thought: ‘it probably won’t work out’, but I made it through every time!”, she laughs.

Water mishap during blind audition

Her goal was to do a blind audition. In this round, the coaches sit in a chair with their back to the contestants. If they think a participant should go through to the next round, they press a red button and turn their chair around. “It’s cool that famous people are judging your voice”, the fourth-year student says.

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Rosann during the second live show. Image credit: VTM

She didn’t expect to move on to the live shows. “Right before I went on stage for the blind audition, I was doing vocal exercises with a Lax Vox bottle”, she says. The Lax Vox method is a way to warm up your voice by blowing through a tube into a bottle of water. “During the bubbling exercise, I got water all over myself! So I rushed to dry my clothes with a hair dryer. I thought, ‘The audition is ruined. I’m just going to sing a song and go home’.”

With that thought, she took the stage to sing the song Altijd wel iemand by Huub van der Lubbe. “So I was pretty chill up there”, she says. “I also thought that, if the coaches were going to turn their chairs, they would only do it at the end. But suddenly, three of them turned around, and I thought: what, already? I haven’t done anything exciting yet”, she laughs.

Dutch songs

In the subsequent live shows, Rosann won the hearts of the Flemish audience. She sang Dutch songs like Liefde van later by Herman van Veen and Dat heb jij gedaan by Meau. In the second live show, she performed her own translation of Radiohead’s Creep. “I feel comfortable with Dutch songs, and my coach, singer Koen Wauters, supported me in that. He gave me lots of tips, but he mostly let me stay true to myself. That’s why I always felt good on stage.”

Rosann zong een eigen vertaling van Radiohead's Creep Source: www.youtube.com

In the semi-final, Rosann sang the song Porselein by Yasmine. She was praised for her performance. According to her coach, her delivery was very good, and she ‘did the Netherlands justice’. Unfortunately, she did not get enough votes to go to the final. “When I was eliminated, I received a lot of messages through social media. I’m at peace with it myself, so I thought it was so sweet that people I don’t know would take the time and effort to encourage me”, she says.

Inspiring young people

The show made her famous in Belgium. She can walk around undisturbed in Rotterdam, but people recognise her in Flanders. “Recently, there were two girls who were around ten years old. Their mother asked if they could take a photo with me, since they were too shy to ask themselves. So I went over to them for the photo, and they were so happy”, she says. “It’s so crazy to think that I can make someone else happy by taking a photo with them or talking to them. That makes me feel good.”

‘It’s so crazy to think that I can make someone else happy by taking a photo with them or talking to them’

Rosann Kerckhaert

Rosann wants to use her fame to inspire young people. “I want them to pursue their dreams, even if those seem impossible. I managed to make mine come true, after all. Even a farmer’s daughter like me can sing on The Voice!”

Plenty of support

As someone with no musical experience, Rosann found the experience to be nerve-racking at times. “Fortunately, we were well supported and protected, because there was really a whole lot going on”, she says. “For example, they have confidential counsellors who were always there for us. Not just to handle problems, but also for our general well-being or for a fun chit-chat”, she adds.

Making music

Now that the competition is over, Rosann has time to think about what she wants in the future. “The best thing would be to release my own music and give lots of performances”, she says. “But I’m going to finish my studies as well, of course.” Rosann can finally start her medical internship in April. She does not seem worried about the future. “I come from a farming family, so my parents are proud of everything I’m doing”, she says humbly. “I’m under no pressure to achieve certain things. My parents always say: whatever makes you happy.”

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