menu Ozark Henry

Biography

Ozark Henry has left his mark on the Belgian music scene since the mid-‘90s as a singer, songwriter, composer and producer. His early, mostly avant-garde electronic work quickly earned him the support of artists like David Bowie, Trent Reznor, Jah Wobble and Zazie. He toured as the supporting act for Moby and Garbage and the acclaimed French music magazine Les Inrocks labelled him ‘le jeune Bowie Flamand’.

Since then, he has released seven platinum studio albums and three soundtracks, cutting out a unique musical path. Always looking for new ways to translate sensory, emotional experiences through to his music, he blends heritage with technology, craft with experiment, audio with visual.

In 2014, he toured Europe with The Journey Is Everything, a groundbreaking live setup placing his band within a series of projected visuals, using moving screens to create the illusion of a three dimensional universe.

In 2015, he has embarked on his most ambitious project to date: Paramount. Following an invitation by the National Orchestra of Belgium to pay tribute to his repertoire in a series of concerts, Henry decided to record an album with the 90 piece orchestra in stereo, 5.1 surround sound and 9.1 Auro 3D immersive sound, placing the audience in the creator’s place. This makes him one of the first artists in the world to embrace 3D audio technology. He was invited to present the project at the Audio Engineering Society of America’s yearly conference in New York and he was the first Belgian ever to give a 'Talk @ Google’, Google’s platform for groundbreaking ideas in art, science and technology. In their New York headquarters, Henry presented is vision on the artistic possibilities opening up with three dimensional sound production. 

On October 21st 2015, Ozark Henry was crowned as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador against human trafficking. Since then, he has been working together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and locan NGO’s to raise awareness about this modern day form of slavery and reach out to significant audiences both nationwide and abroad. His performances at the Morgan Library in New York and the concert with the National Orchestra of Belgium at the Lotto Arena were dedicated to the Blue Heart Campaign and the Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking. Currently, he is working on a 3D sound installation for the United Nations. 

1970

  • Born in Kortrijk, Belgium. Son of classical composer and jazzcat Norbert Goddaer. Both jazz and classical music will prove great inspirations in own music. He will go on to record a free jazz album under the name Sunzoo Manley and become the face of Belgium’s national symphonic orchestra.
  • His intellectual giftedness is recognized at a young age. He studies math, Germanic languages and criminology at university.

1994

  • Writes lyrics and raps in hiphop/funk band Word.  Single Henry Man-She becomes a cult hit.
  • Writes music for theatre productions. Theatre Antigone’s Rosamund Is Dead is the most successful. The song will feature on his debut album.

1995

  • Signs to Double T Music as a solo artist and adopts the name Ozark Henry. Ozark refers to the Ozark Mountains in America, Henry is the protagonist in William S. Burroughs’ novel Junkie. Literature will become a constant source of inspiration throughout his career.  Most recently, the title for the track It Was A Queer Sultry Summer was taken from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

1996

  • Releases his avant-garde electronic debut album I’m Seeking That Has Already Found Me to great critical acclaim. Telex member Dan Lacksman mixed the album. Front 242’s Richard Jonckhere helped him set up his first gig in Brussels.
  • David Bowie praises the album as the ‘best debut album of the year’ in the Dutch magazine ‘OOR’. When interviewed in 2002, Bowie will state he has been following up on Ozarks work. 
  • French magazine Les Inrockuptibles christens him ‘le jeune Bowie Flamand’, the young Flemish Bowie.  Dutch, German and Italian press will also draw parallels to Bowie’s music.

1998

  • His second album This Last Warm Solitude is released in Belgium, Germany, France and The Netherlands.  
  • The track Summer Junkie reaches n° 1 on the UK Tip Sheet. The planned UK release (and UK tour supporting Tricky) was cancelled because of the label’s financial problems.
  • Tours all over Europe. Solo and as support act for Moby and Garbage.

1999

  • Wins his first Music Industry Award (MIA – Belgian Grammy equivalent) as Best Songwriter/Composer.
  • Collaborates with Front 242 on their new project LaTchak. He uses the name Sunzoo Manley for the first time. 
  • Tours all over Europe and plays at Belgian festival Pukkelpop for the first time.

2000

  • Covers Suffragette City on the Bowie tribute compilation ‘Glittering 2000’.

2001

  • His third album Birthmarks is warmer, more organic and soulful than its predecessors. The string section is presided by cello player Audrey Riley, known best from her work with Coldplay and Muse. This album catapults him to Belgian superstardom. It receives rave reviews, sells double platinum, remains in the album charts for 92 weeks and spawns three hit singles. Belgian cultural magazine Focus Knack places the album at n° 52 in the Top 100 Albums Of All Time and according to Belgium’s official chart organization Ultratop, Birtmarks is the 29th best selling album in Belgium (list counts sales between 1995 and today).
  • Wins two Music Industry Awards: Best Pop/Rock Album and Best Producer.
  • Releases free jazz album To All Our Escapes under the alias Sunzoo Manley, in collaboration with Frank Deruytter (musician who shared the stage with Toots Thielemans, Quicy Jones and Bobby Womack)

2002

  • Plays at every important Belgian festival, including Rock Werchter. The audience response is overwhelming, the press reviews unanimously positive.
  • Tours in The Netherlands
  • Releases the soundtrack recorded for the successful tv series Sedes & Belli.  It includes duets with two of Belgium’s most respected female singers: Sarah Bettens (from K’s Choice) and Geike Arnaert (from Hooverphonic).
  • Contributes a track to A Change Of Light, an audiovisual art project premiered at the Warehouse in London. Other contributors include Mark Brydon from Moloko. Audrey Riley is involved as well.
  • Travels to South Africa as Belgian ambassador for Doctors Without Frontiers. He is actively involved in fundraising and headlines a benefit concert. This experience will serve as inspiration for the songs on his next album The Sailor Not The Sea.

2004

  • Releases The Sailor Not The Sea, which was written and recorded in only 28 days. Musicians include Jah Wobble (PiL) and Jaki Liebezeit (Can). The albums sells double platinum and stays in the charts for 64 weeks. It will go on to become the 92nd best selling album in Belgium (official Ultratop chart counting sales from 1995).
  • Wins Music Industry Award as Best Songwriter/Composer.

2005

  • Embarks on another successful live tour and plays Belgiums biggest festival Rock Werchter for the fifth time
  • Releases live DVD Easter Sunday, live at Ancienne Belgique and wins the Music Industry Award for Best Music DVD.
  • Composes music for and performs at the Dries Van Noten runway show in Paris.

2006

  • Releases The Soft Machine. It reaches the n° 1 position in Belgian album chart, stays in that chart for 52 weeks and sells platinum. He enters the Dutch top 40 album chart for the first time.
  • Wins Music Industry Award for Best Pop/Rock Album.
  • Wins Ultratop Download Award as most downloaded Belgian artist of the year.
  • Releases film soundtrack Crusade In Jeans. Includes We Were Never Alone, a duet with Martina Topley Bird (Mercury Prize finalist and collaborator on Tricky’s groundbreaking first albums).

2008

  • Celebrates 10 years of Ozark Henry with 2 sold out shows in one of Belgium’s biggest concert venues.
  • Designs clothing collection for Belgian fashion label JBC. The entire collection is sold out within one hour after it hits the stores.

2009

  • Travels around the world. He lives, writes and performs in Paris, London, Berlin and New York.  In the US, he writes and records tracks for tv shows such as One Three Hill and Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Designs his own shoe for Dutch heritage shoemaker Floris Van Bommel and features as the face of the campaign for the brand. Ozark Henry is known to wear flip-flops all the time (also in winter and on formal occasions) and always performs on bare feet, most famously when he performed for the Belgian King in the Royal Palace.

2010

  • Releases Hvelreki. The album debuts at n° 1 in the Belgian album charts and sells platinum. The first single This One’s For You is his first single to receive gold status. It tops the airplay charts for weeks and remains in the single top 50 for four months.
  • Wins Music Industry Award for Best Pop Album.
  • Plays Belgium’s biggest venues and festivals, including Rock Werchter. He also plays a series of concerts in The Netherlands and Germany, including the Rock Am Ring festival.
  • The American cable television network Showtime uses the song It's In The Air Tonight in the tv campaign presenting their award winning series (Homeland, Dexter, Episodes).
  • Becomes the face of Cinémanie, the selection of award winning movies by international cinema chain Kinepolis. Features in their tv and print campaign.

2011

  • He embarks on an acoustic 4 Hands tour, stripping down his songs to their bare essentials so they can be played by two piano’s. and only his voice.  He sells out the Ancienne Belgique venue and continues the tour for over 40 performances.

2012

  • Releases film soundtrack Le Monde Nous Appartient. The film is an international festival darling and Ozark Henry’s music wins the Magritte Du Cinéma (Belgian Academy Award equivalent) for Best Soundtrack in 2013.
  • Becomes the ambassador of the anniversary of the National Orchestra  of Belgium. He collaborates on a series of concerts, in which a selection of his songs are performed with the 90 piece symphonic orchestra.

2013

  • Releases Stay Gold. It goes straight to n° 1 in the album charts and will stay in the top 30 for 45 consecutive weeks.  A year later, it is still in the top 50. It sells platinum.
  • The single I’m Your Sacrifice is the biggest success of his career so far. Belgian sales are near double platinum. It receives the award of Summer Hit by Belgium’s biggest radio Radio 2. It tops single and airplay charts for over 5 months. It receives platinum status in Italy and the Italian youtube views approach 3 million.
  • MTV Europe nominates him as Best Belgian Act in the European Music Awards.
  • Belgium’s biggest youth and music tv channel JIM TV nominates Stay Gold as Album Of The Year.
  • He is the second most downloaded Belgian artist of 2013 (after Stromae).
  • He performs for the Belgian king at the Royal Palace. On bare feet.
  • Go For Zero 2013 - Ozark Henry creates 21 Grams Short for a national awareness campaign against young people dying in traffic. He spent time with the families of two young traffic victims and translated their story into a song, incorporating samples of the two young voices.
  • Longtime mutual respect is solidified into a partnership with one of the most respected names in fashion: Ann Demeulemeester.

2014

  • I’m Your Sacrifice receives a platinum award in Italy after 11 weeks in the single top 20 and months in the airplay and video charts.
  • Ozark Henry features on the Francesco Rossi single Godspeed You, a rework of Henry’s classic Godspeed. It is presented at the International Music Summit in Ibiza and receives airplay on BBC Radio 1.
  • We Are Incurable Romantics, the second international single, is re-recorded with Italy’s biggest female star Elisa.
  • Henry takes his band on the road through Europe with The Journey Is Everything, a groundbreaking live setup placing his band within a series of projected visuals, using moving screens to create the illusion of a three dimensional universe. A live album is released in Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • His music takes him from Los Angeles to Singapore and I’m Your Sacrifice can be heard on radios from Capetown to Canada.

2015

  • He embarkes on his most ambitious project to date: Paramount. Following an invitation by the National Orchestra of Belgium to pay tribute to his repertoire in a series of concerts, Henry decided to record an album with the 90 piece orchestra in stereo, 5.1 surround sound and 9.1 Auro 3D immersive sound, placing the audience in the creator’s place. This makes him one of the first artists in the world to embrace 3D audio technology.
  • The first single, We Can Be Heroes, is a tribute to David Bowie.
  • The first three concerts with the orchestra sell out in no time and a fourth concert in the Lotto Arena is announced: Paramount: Sound & Vision, for which he will merge the technologically advanced stage setup of the last tour with the full orchestra on stage.
  • Together with technology partner Auro, he will present the new project in 3D sound all over the world.

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