A voice on the radio feel very familiar. Do listeners give you the im-pression they really know you when you come into contact with them?
Greet: Yes, but that’s not unusual. The radio is good company. A voice on the radio keeps you company in the kitchen, in the living room and in the car. People take me with them wherever they go. But most of all, radio is a medium that takes every step possible to spark the imag-ination, which makes people develop a specific image of me in their heads. And radio is very much one-on-one work: the microphone and me. There used to be a technician with us, but now I take care of the behind-the-scenes work myself. My programme runs every Saturday from 7am to 10am, and being all alone in the VRT studio at that time, there’s a very special atmosphere.
A live presentation is a different reality.
Greet: When you speak live, a whole room listens carefully and quietly to what you say. That sometimes causes a bit of healthy stress. Before I walk on stage, it’s very important for me to find a peaceful moment. It’s often busy and buzzing with orchestra members tuning their in-struments backstage. It’s then a case of isolating myself and concen-trating. It’s kind of like a ritual for me.
The radio is good company. A voice on the
radio keeps you company in the kitchen, in the
living room and in the car. People take me with
them wherever they go.
When you’re the host, you’re the glue that holds the entire evening together.
Greet: Then I’m a master of ceremonies. I like that (laughs). I usually operate on a very tight schedule where the focus is on keeping control of the rhythm and announcing guests in the right way. I love the proto-col that comes with it. Presentations go from being very formal, such as announcing the honorary doctorate awarded to Angela Merkel by the Ghent University, to presenting a concert in a nightclub during the Kla-rafestival. There’s a certain emotional atmosphere in every situation and you need to respect it, otherwise everything goes wrong.
You also give readings at the Stedelijke Academie voor Podiumkunsten (Academy of the Performing Arts) in Roeselare. Is this awareness of rhythm something you can give to your students during the lessons?
Greet: That, and a lot of other things. Readings often sound incredibly corny. During the lessons, we take a playful approach to texts, subse-quently bringing them to life on the scene. Unless they continue study-ing at the conservatorium, they really don’t need my advice later in their lives. But they will benefit from being able to speak in front of an audience and express their emotions clearly whether it’s at an oral ex-am or a job interview. And I hope that I give them a sort of cultural awareness. I tell them: be eager, go to concerts, to the theatre, to films, be open to everything. I consider it to be a valuable education, something extra that I give to them. It’s up to them to choose what they do with it.
Is it important to work with a stylist when determining your look?
Yes, absolutely. We also worked with a stylist in Hooverphonic. There are always aspects of yourself that you don’t like, while others you can relativize. I see myself very differently to the way my stylist does. She also knows what I think is cool, and what I don’t like. So if I have a photo shoot and don’t have time to select the outfits with her, then she can go in search of the best outfits for me. And I know that it will work.
How different are your stage outfits from your everyday clothes?
There’s something of an overlap. On stage, you can wear pieces that have a more ‘showy’ feel. For the guys, jeans and a t-shirt suffice. But for girls… there is so much more that you can do, so why not? I often go for an open back, or shorts. A short skirt is also an option, but in combination with a long-sleeved T-shirt. My favourite designer is Veronique Branquinho. Her clothes are always stylish without being flashy or bling-bling. I love low-key glamour.
I’d much rather invest in high-quality pieces
than spend my money on passing trends and
Radio Klara is primarily focused on classical music. Did you learn about this at home?
Greet: No, I really don’t come from the world of classical music, alt-hough I am from a musical family. My brother plays trumpet, my fa-ther plays saxophone and my mother is a singer. I played clarinet in a brass band for 20 years but, unfortunately, I don’t do it anymore. To be honest, I haven’t picked up my clarinet in over a year. Every time I need to announce a piece to my listeners that I’ve played before, my heart bleeds just that little bit. I’ve even received my diploma from the Lemmensinstituut music conservatory. I was the ‘wordy student who also plays clarinet’. I’ve always combined music and words. Maybe it’s a weak excuse to say that I don’t have enough time for it now. But maybe something will come of it one day.
What do you do in your free time?
Greet: I go to concerts and the theatre, although I must admit that my free time is pretty scarce. I always work at the times that other people have off, in the evenings and on Saturday morning. My voice is my instrument, so I need to make sure it gets enough rest at night. I’m always the one who skips parties on Friday nights or who leaves early. But that’s part of the job! I spend a lot of time at home, because I prepare my presentations there. A co-working space isn’t meant for me. When I write my texts, I always read the sentence aloud. I write the texts the way I announce them. If there’s music in the background, it’s usually classical music.
Do you have any music tips for people who are not familiar with clas-sical music, but would like an easily accessible introduction?
Greet: Radio Klara has developed the Klarafy app. It’s a handy tool that links your musical preferences to classical music. I think it’s a great way to introduce yourself to classical music. The app is popular; a lot of people use it. Classical music should be accessible because you don’t need any education to enjoy classical music. Everyone can be affected by music. Music is pure emotion and will immediately touch you if you’re open to it.
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