Coolhaven Collab is an ensemble of performance art institutions in Rotterdam who have banded together to help talents find their way through the art scene. In that context we spoke to Rotterdam’s own Winne and Safa Liron. In collaboration with Music Matters he helms the course ‘Rotterdams Vermogen’ and helps talents like Safa, Djesco, Harry Femer, Melissa Lopes and Rass reach the next level.
What is ‘Rotterdams Vermogen?’
Winne: Rotterdams Vermogen is a collaboration which supports young talent with the right kind of support. We start by scouting for talent who’ve managed to position themselves in a certain manner. I’m not talking about the level of a performer or a view count, but rather what has that person accomplished with the (often) limited material at hand. To us that shows just how much a person is driven and how talented they are. When we find someone, like Safa, we reach out and set up a meeting to find out what that person needs. If both of us feel a connection and are in agreement of the value of this course, we start.
Where did you two connect on?
Safa: From my point of view, it was mainly the personal connection. We already knew each other a little bit and I believe he (Winne) really got my vision. I think that’s what got us so enthusiastic, because this isn’t just a musical project, but one with purpose as well.
Winne: It’s really nice to work with someone whose soul purpose isn’t just about getting rich and famous. Your platform can be utilized in different manners and that’s something I noticed in her. Besides, I believe I understand her music, which is what makes the choice to work together really easy.
Obviously, everyone knows the artist Winne, but who is coach Bergwijn?
Winne: Well first and foremost he’s an older brother. I’m the oldest in my family so I’m constantly coaching and helping my little brothers and sister. After graduation, I worked in sales as a coach and I noticed it felt natural. People easily accepted things from me and I’m quick to connect with them. Not long after, I became a teacher at the Herman Brood Academy.
And who’s Safa Liron?
Safa: I’ve been making music for a couple of years now. I started uploading covers on YouTube which is how I got in contact with Willem de Bruin of the Opposites. Nathan Moszkowicz was my manager for a while, but that period of time was more about trial and error. Things just started happening really fast and before you know it, you wind up in a specific corner in the industry. They want a mainstream popular sound that makes you lots of money. That’s what they wanted from me. At first, I went with it because I’m an artist and open to anything, but secretly I already knew. This isn’t it.
I’ve been to several studios, worked with a lot of people, made my feelings known on multiple occasions and it just didn’t work. I didn’t want it like this. Not this way. So, I pulled out and made the decision to do it myself. I’m still very happy to have experienced it though. Because of it, I know what I want and who I want to be. Of course, it’s scary to drop everything when you kind of have everything an aspiring artist dreams of, but I believe the right choices attract the right people.
Winne: That detour is very important for your own personal development. It’s not just about the product, but also what it gives you. The audience might not see it, but sometimes an artist seems very successful on the outside, but trouble brews inside. This generation is predominantly focused on money and fame and tend to forget themselves. I see it with my students. They start very energetic and excited, but after six months they get intimidated by the success of others. This game is all about fun. Don’t let other people mess with your head and focus on doing you.
What’s next for Safa?
Winne: She’s autodidact so I don’t have to teach her anything music-wise. We’re busy applying for a grant, keep in touch weekly and I’m connecting her with other creatives so we can get her art to the next level. Concerning the Coolhaven Collab, we’ve visited the CultureHub and Poundcake Studios already.
Safa: The only thing that matters to me is my music and that it reaches the world as I intend it to be. My sound, my vision, without anyone shoving guidelines or trends in my face.
What would you like to tell other aspiring artists?
Safa: Claim your place. It seems scary and difficult, but you have so many things to work with. Insta, Twitter, YouTube, the camera on your phone. People tend to be wary of these things, but here lies the challenge.
Winne: The path isn’t paved and that’s a good thing. Make your own way through the jungle and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.