When the Star Observer arrived at visiting Dutch pop singer Eva Simons’ Sydney hotel for our chat, we found ourselves completely distracted by the presence of the finalists of the ‘Australia’s Hottest Tradie’ competition, shirtless and sunning themselves by the hotel’s pool.

Simons, meanwhile, had other concerns — namely, our wildlife. That morning, she’d taken to Twitter to report hearing monkeys screeching in the trees outside her room at dawn.

Erm, monkeys?

“It was the kookoo-BUrras, the kooko-BUrras,” she squealed, her adorable Dutch accent making a mangled meal of the word.

“I am telling you, they sound like monkeys! We don’t have this nature where I’m from, so it’s a new way to wake up.”

Simons, best known in Australia for her debut single Silly Boy and recent Afrojack collaboration Take Over Control, was happy to be in Australia, one of her biggest markets so far.

“[Take Over Control] is my first platinum single yet, and that’s in Australia. I’m from a little country far, far away, so the success over here has been a surprise,” she said.
Perhaps not too shocking, considering we tend to embrace dance divas here. Wynter Gordon ruled the Australian airwaves over summer, months before Dirty Talk hit the charts anywhere else.

“I know Wynter. When she hit number one, I thought it was amazing. You guys really help us girls out.”

While she got her start in 2004 after winning the Dutch version of the reality TV contest Popstars as part of the short-lived girlband Raffish, Simons first came to international attention in 2009 when Silly Boy leaked onto the internet amid a swirl of rumours. The song was reported to be either a demo for Rihanna or Lady Gaga — Kanye West even posted it on his blog as such.

Was it a simple misunderstanding, or a cleverly executed marketing campaign?

“It looked like we planned it, didn’t it?” Simons laughed.

“My manager was happy with how it worked out, but you know what? There was no marketing strategy — there wasn’t even a label. I just got a call from the producer telling me the song got leaked. He said, ‘I think you lost the song. You won’t be able to release it any more.’

“So at first, I actually thought it was a problem.”

Perhaps Simons has been burned by that early experience, because while she’s hard at work on her debut album, she was extremely reticent to give any information away.

“I am protective,” she admitted.

“It’s been helpful to get feedback when I’ve played songs in the past, but once a song’s out there, that’s it. I want to save some for the album. YouTube, blogs, Twitter — you never know who’s got their eye on you looking for something to steal. You’ve got to be very careful.”

One thing she could promise, though, was to “expect great pop songs. And killer remixes for the electro fans!”

info: Take Over Control is out now. ‘Like’ Eva Simons on Facebook for more info.

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