Finally, after 15 years, a Taylor Swift cover on The Influences! Years after our first session plans fell through, Dutch singer Stephanie Struijk, her band and I met at the Beauforthuis in Austerlitz and recorded three songs: Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero, a Dutch version of Joni Mitchell’s Both Side Now and her new single Zwitserland. As the summer in The Netherlands was rapidly disappearing, Dutch singer Stephanie Struijk and I couldn’t resist filming one song outside on one of the last sunny days, surrounded by trees, bikers and families on their Sunday stroll.
“I remember being really inspired by the honesty and directness in Taylor Swift’s lyrics.”
About seven years ago, Stephanie Struijk switched from writing and singing in English (as Stevie Ann) to to Dutch, under her given name. For The Influences, she switched back, to cover Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero. “I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s music since she released her first record. She was so young when she started out and already such a great songwriter. I remember being really inspired by the honesty and directness in her lyrics. I love how she is able to find her voice in pop, country and folk music. Her lyrics are like poetry to me, and at the same time she can come up with a catchy hook everyone can sing along to.”
“Joni Mitchell taught every generation of female songwriters since, what it means to be raw and real.”
For her cover of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, Struijk uses a translation by Dutch musician JP Den Tex. “I remember when I was 16 and started to get serious about songwriting, somebody told me I should listen to Joni Mitchell. The first record I bought was Blue. I listened to it so many times, and even now, 20 years later, I still discover new things in those recordings and songs. It’s really just magical. I think Joni Mitchell taught every generation of female songwriters since, what it means to be raw and real. I know I felt like I had to start all over again with the whole songwriting thing after I was introduced to her music. Blue is my favourite album of hers, but Both Sides Now is definitely my favourite song of hers. It’s like she fit her entire life in one song.”
The same sun
Next week, on January 12th, Stephanie Struijk will release her brand new album Dezelfde Zon, which features the single Zwitserland. This will be her third album in Dutch, after releasing four in English as Stevie Ann previously. The songs were recorded in one take, done in a traditional ‘thirties’ way; without cutting or pasting afterwards. Accompanied by Bernard Gepken on guitar and banjo, Reyer Zwart on double bass – just like in this session for The Influences – and produced by legendary Dutch songwriter and producer Daniel Lohues. The result? A raw, honest record.
“I’ve been playing with these people for years, we understand each other perfectly. After not performing for a while, we did a sound check and were immediately a musical entity again. The magic that was created on the spot was so special that I decided that we had to record the new album in exactly the same way.”
Can’t wait to find out what this will sound like? Pre-order the album here. Stephanie Struijk will be touring all over The Netherlands for the next five or six months, don’t miss out.
Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven.
Audio recorded & mixed by Matthijs van der Ven.
Austerlitz, The Netherlands
JP Den Tex
There is no better way to discover music than watching great musicians cover the songs they love. The Influences has been producing these videos ever since 2008.Read more.
Thank you for watching and enjoying this session. You’ll probably like some other sessions from The Influences’ archive too, like these earlier ones by Tangarine (featuring Stephanie Struijk!) and Lori Lieberman.
I remember seeing Tangarine play in the finals of the Grote Prijs van Nederland in 2010, along with Case Mayfield. I remember thinking the wrong person won, but most of all I remember how magnificent the voices of twin brothers Sander and Arnout Brinks blended together.
Back in 2010 I met Lori Lieberman for the first time, in Amsterdam where we filmed her first session for this site. Five years later I invited her back for another, to celebrate the release of her 17th record ‘Ready For The Storm’. She recorded the title-track and a Tom Paxton cover.