Over the last five years Belgian artist Milow (born Jonathan Vandenbroeck) has emerged as one of Europe's most exciting young talents: a plugged-in singer-songwriter with the ability to touch a crowd and the pop know-how required to make great records. He's an old-school soul with a new-fashioned sensibility, a troubadour fascinated by technology. Milow's music gleams with the inherited songcraft of his heroes—Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Johnson—but it also reflects a point of view all his own, with specific concerns about growing pains and the future of his generation.
This combination of the intimate and the widescreen has won Milow a devoted fanbase across Europe, not to mention a list of achievements that includes number-one singles, platinum albums, sold-out tours, performances at some of the world's most prestigious festivals and millions upon millions of YouTube hits. What's more, he's accomplished all this as his own boss, releasing music through Homerun Records, a label he founded in his bedroom.
"I just never wanted to have to answer to anyone else," he says of the DIY operation. "It's always been my call."
Milow has shared the stage with Jack Johnson and Brett Dennen. Even Kanye West is a fan and posted Milow's cover of "Ayo Technology" to his tastemaking blog, helping drive the song's eye-popping video to its current total of over 65 million views.
"Every time I get on stage, I feel like that's an opportunity to show a little bit more of myself," he says. "Some of my songs are about really serious topics, but I also like to have fun, and I think my shows are where I can make that clear."
YouTube is littered with concert clips that prove he's right, and Milow can't wait to present the evidence live and in person. A sophisticated music-scene veteran with the bottomless energy of a beginner, Milow is ready for what's next.