Kate Ryan (born Katrien Verbeeck on 22 July 1980) is a Belgian World Music Award winner. She began her singing career in 2001 and later found fame with a string of dance hits. These included covers, mostly of Mylène Farmer and France Gall, such as "Désenchantée", "Libertine", and "Ella, elle l'a" as well as new material. Ryan represented Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with "Je t'adore" coming in 12th place in the semi-final.
Ryan was born in the small village of Tessenderlo, Belgium. She grew up in a musical family, and reflected a talent for music at a very early age. At eight years old she learned to play piano and guitar. She received singing and piano lessons from her aunt who teaches at a conservatory. She studied at an art school, specialising injewellery design. Ryan played frequently in bars and cafés as a teenager, and one night she was offered a recording deal. She became a member of a pop group called Melt at the age of 16. The group was active for two years, but they did not release any material commercially. When she met producer Andy Janssens, she left Melt and the pair began to write music together. Their debut single "Scream for More" was released in 2001, and it became a chart success. Later that year Ryan's second single, "UR (My Love)", cemented her position in Belgian charts.
She gained international prominence with a cover of Mylène Farmer's "Désenchantée", which was a hit in various European pop music charts. She signed in with Belgian department of EMI and released her first album Different in 2002 exclusively in Europe. The album went Gold and Platinum in a number of countries, selling more than 250.000 copies throughout Europe. Two final singles off Different, "Mon cœur résiste encore" and "Libertine" (the first one being a French version of "Scream for More", the latter a second cover of Farmer's number) also turned out a chart success. Kate's records were released in the USA under Robbins Entertainment label.
2004–07: Stronger & AliveEdit
In 2004, Ryan released a second album in Europe, entitled Stronger, that also contained her remarkable dance-pop style. The album's lead single, "Only If I" met with a modest success across Europe. A cover of Cock Robin's "The Promise You Made" became the second single, earning even greater success. It was also recorded in French as "La Promesse". Pop ballad "Goodbye" was released as the third single, meeting with considerable success. In 2005 Kate Ryan's music appeared in North America on Water Music Records.
In 2006 the singer participated in Eurosong '06, the national final to select the entrant for Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006. She was selected as the entrant after placing first in the Eurosong final on 9 March 2006. Ryan represented Belgium at the Eurovision semi-final held on 18 May 2006 in Athens singing "Je t'adore". However, she did not qualify for the final, finishing two places outside the advancing Top 10 (12th) with 69 points. She was later voted best dressed performer by Eurovisions independent website esctoday.com for her 14.000 € outfit, later sold to raise charity funds. The following single was "Alive", taken from the album of the same name, which also featured French versions of several tracks including "Je t'adore", "Alive", and the third single "All for You". The album, although critically acclaimed, didn't repeat the success of two previous ones.
In 2007, she had some success with the double-sided single "Voyage, voyage"/"We All Belong". The track "Voyage, voyage" was a cover of the 1986 European smash hit by Desireless, and "We All Belong" was selected as the official anthem for the EuroGames 2007 in Antwerp. In 2008, Ryan released two singles: "L.I.L.Y. (Like I Love You)" and then "Ella, elle l'a", a cover of France Gall's song. Both tracks (as well as "Voyage Voyage" and "We All Belong") were included on her album Free, which was released in the middle of the year. The album included also a duet with Spanish singer Soraya Arnelas. Singer's first best-of album Essential was released in July. It included songs recorded throughout her EMI period. In August Kate took part in Polish Sopot Hit Festival. During the show she received Gold award for the Free album in Poland. On 9 November 2008 in Monaco, Kate Ryan won the World Music Award as The Best Selling Benelux Artist. Two more singles promoted Free, including "I Surrender".
2009-11: French ConnectionEdit
2009 saw the release of the concept album French Connection. It was a compilation consisting of French-language-only material, including Ryan's previous hits recordings, and adding some new recordings. "Évidemment" and "Babacar", both from France Gall's repertoire, were released as singles, but only met with limited success, as did the album. The singer announced that French Connection was the end of an era, and from now on she will only release material written by her. She received a Multi-Platinum award from Spain for selling more than 300.000 digital songs.
Ryan announced via Facebook that her next album, Electroshock, would be released in 2011, preceded by a single "LoveLife". Another single "Broken" was released on October 7, 2011. On December 9, 2011, she appeared as musical guest on The Voice of Romania.
The album, which was delayed, was released on June 25, 2012. The album is entirely containing songs in English and has no cover version included. On May 12, 2012 another single entitled "Robots" was released.