PP23: SERA doesn’t step out of the shadows of its covers

Who the fuck is SERA, you can think of Pinkpop as a serious music lover. Well… “One of the reasons I’m here is because my cover of “Dance Monkey” went viral,” she introduces herself. Then to use some harsher version of mega-mega-mega hit. Meet Serra De Bruin, a cheerful flapper from Slidrecht who covers famous songs via YouTube, Instagram and Tiktok. He sang “Last Christmas” while eating hot and spicy chili, “Dance Monkey” for 24 million views on YouTube, and sang to Justin Bieber while he happened to tune in (!!!) on Instagram Live and he Had made happy Oh my god. He gave his first real performance at Cristiano Ronaldo’s birthday in Turin. And now it’s on Pinkpop.

Ah, so a cover artist. With a nice hoarse voice. with a charming Dutch accent in his English. And – hold your breath – with your work too. ‘I want to capture the energy that Dance Monkey had in my songs,’ she exclaims. The public’s reaction to several of his own songs: a straight face, as if he’s alone in the dark in the living room clapping along to YouTube videos. Those songs lack any kind of face. The funky ‘Take A Chance’ is a shameless soundalike of the Doja Cat hit ‘Kiss Me More’ (which is a very good song) and the big hit/closing song ‘Head Held High’ is a very bloodless pop rock song because it has thousands of ‘Sky’ rhymes with ‘high’. Better are the ‘Begin’ cover (covered by everyone from 1967) and the ‘Call On Me’ ripoff, but even there he and his faceless band don’t know how to lift the original.

It’s certainly not a bad thing to build your music career through covers: Elvis started out as a cover artist. The Beatles started out as a cover band. Robbie Williams has given a good portion of his career to cover. Altin Gün is actually mainly a cover band. If you master the source material, if you just have a great voice, you can step out of the shadow of the original. But SERA hasn’t been able to do that yet. And then there’s the question of what exactly to do on PinkPop.

Cutie: There’s a pretty little girl in front with a sign. Can she dance on stage with SERA. At first the security shook its head incoherently: You can’t get it. But then SERA notices her and with some trepidation, she is allowed up on that big Pinkpop stage to do a little dance.

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