Dana Winner: “If You Want to Know Me”

I just noticed that Dana Winner’s new album, “Between Now and Tomorrow”, has been released featuring “If You Want to Know Me” with lyrics by me. The album features English versions of a similar album released in the Benelux, and was recorded largely for release in her “second home”, South Africa. But this is not the first time she has recorded in English, nor recorded covers

Dana Winner is one of Belgium’s most successful singers. Her international career was first launched in The Netherlands and Germany, and took a global turn when she was invited to go on tour in South Africa. The tour was a major success and her South African album went Platinum.

One thing led to another, and Dana Winner released two albums, “Unforgettable” (2001) and “Unforgettable Too” (2002), which topped the album charts in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and which were granted several awards in South Africa and Belgium.

In 2005 “Beautiful life” was released. It was Dana’s first pop record, entirely sung in English. It became another international success.

In 2006, Dana decided to record a new album in Dutch, following her version of the Dutch classic “Het dorp” (The village). The album featured “Het dorp”, but also the hit single “Kijk om je heen” (Look Around You) and the summer hit “Als je lacht”. The album reached Gold status in a matter of weeks. So far Dana Winner has sold 1.8 million albums worldwide.

I’ll be there just waiting
Till you come around
We’ll take it kinda easy
And hope that it will never end

Dana Winner - Between Now and Tomorrow - If You Want to Know Me

Written by Jean-Jacques Goldman

I was contacted initially by EMI about adapting “Si tu veux m’essayer” for her, and immediately thought it would be interesting to write for Dana and also to adapt a song written by Jean-Jacques Goldman. Practically unknown outside France, Goldman has raked up dozens of hits, and written for many other major performers. “Si tu veux m’essayer”, for example, was a hit for singer Florent Pagny on the album “Rester vrai”, which sold over 200,000 copies.

When I started working, “If You Want to Know Me” came together quite easily after one or two false starts. There’s a reason for this: it’s well written in terms of structure and meter. So the lyricist in me had an excellent basis to work from. As there was no reason to do otherwise, I kept quite close to the original French lyrics. This has not always been the case, as I totally re-wrote “Aspettando te” several years back to become “We Can Break Away” for the girl group Indiana with practically no use of the original lyrics.

I have mixed feelings about adapting lyrics into English. On the one hand, if you have the opportunity I feel you should improve a song’s impact – and that’s what most singers expect. On the other, you always want to respect the original songwriter. The only version of a song of mine that I’m aware of is a Spanish version of 2 Unlimited’s “Nothing Like the Rain”, which does stay pretty close to my original lyrics. On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of remixes where they completely remove everything except one line of the chorus! This used to irritate me, but I’ve come to accept it as part of the game.

By connecting Dana Winner, Jean-Jacques Goldman and Florent Pagny, “If You Want to Know Me” has found itself on my playlist (yes, I actually listen to my own stuff – the good tracks anyway). Winner will be touring Holland extensively in December 2009. You’ll find more about her on Dana Winner website.

If You Want To Know Me (Amazon FR)

“If You Want to Know Me” is published by Strictly Confidential.

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2 Comments on “Dana Winner: “If You Want to Know Me”
  1. Dana Winner is an angel from heaven.I love every song of her and a bonus is that she is beautiful like a queen.I would like a cd of dana but I can’t afford it.

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