The number ‘Amsterdam’ by singer Flemming have you heard on the radio of Spotify. A nice catchy song, but there’s one thing wrong with it… It’s not about Utrecht! Robin Zomer (29) and Bart Maessen (28), who together form the music duo BENR, also thought so. They therefore decided to transform the song with a big hit as a result.
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The song is a hit, even with Flemming himself. “We asked him for a response and he broke down completely,” Robin says. The two themselves received a response from true Utrechter Tony Senior. “He thought it was great and said ‘Utrecht is much better than Amsterdam’”, says Bart.
Collaborate with Qmusic
Introducing: Robin and Bart grew up in IJsselstein and have lived in Utrecht for many years. They have been friends since high school and they make music. Bart explains: “We have a record deal and we release our own music and covers. We do the latter in collaboration with Qmusic. We used to put the covers online ourselves. That was a success and we received nice reactions. We then wrote to radio stations with the message: this is what we do and people like it.” The two teamed up with Qmusic: every other week Bart and Robin translate an English song from the Top 40 into Dutch. Robin: “Every other week we are on the broadcast of radio DJ Kai at 8.30 pm. We then talk about what we are working on and the cover of that week.”
From Amsterdam to Utrecht
The friends have been making covers for Qmusic for two years now. For example, the number I want to be your slave by Eurovision winner Måneskin. Bart says that Flemming’s song was not on the schedule. “Normally we make Dutch versions of English songs. We didn’t immediately think of doing anything with it. But when we went to pick, the idea slowly emerged.” Robin adds: “Obviously we couldn’t translate this song. We noticed that it was not about Utrecht – our city. We wanted to show why Utrecht is better than Amsterdam.” And that’s how BENR’s ‘Utrecht’ came into being.
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Over a million views
Meanwhile, the Utrecht version on TikTok has already been viewed more than a million times and on YouTube it is already over 50,000 streams. “It turned out well,” the men say proudly. What else is planned for her? “The covers are fun to do, but we prefer to release our own music. Those numbers are also picked up very well, at 100% NL our number is ‘Heart of Stone“even the ‘alarm disk’.”