Songwriter-producer-musician and entrepreneur Allan Eshuijs has made a 5,559-mile journey from his native Amsterdam to relocate in Los Angeles, the pop music capitol of the world. Allan’s musical passport is stamped with a massive, international hit: “Evacuate the Dancefloor,” a cross-genre smash by Cascada that rocketed to the top of global charts. As a #1 Pop hit in the UK and #1 on the Hot Dance Airplay chart in the U.S., it obtained platinum status stateside and won Allan a BMI Performance award as a songwriter.
With a résumé that includes songs and tracks for international superstars like Taio Cruz, Jedward, Wynter Gordon, Kumi Koda, Danzel, Ch!pz, Do and many more, Allan is now collaborating with a notable alliance of top songwriters and producers. Now he is launching his own music publishing and production company – Songkitchen – to sign, mentor and advance the next generation of chart-topping songwriters and producers.
Before he was a platinum songwriter and producer Allan Eshuijs was a musically inclined kid in Amsterdam. Although his mother was a professional classically trained pianist, Allan didn’t share her patience for practice, but he became transfixed by the possibilities of an electronic keyboard. An Atari computer was the next step, as he pored over recording information to be found in the soon-to-be obsolete computer’s monthly magazine. Allan began writing songs and producing tracks.
His commercial instincts were combined with formal musical training at the prestigious Dutch conservatory Hogeschool Inholland. He obtained a Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance at Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten and taught vocal technique & songwriting at different high profile music education institutes like ArtEZ Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Enschede and Hogeschool Dansacademie Lucia Marthas in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany.
Allan notes that his extensive education that allows him to communicate musical ideas across a spectrum of styles and situations. “I’ve learned to use it to my advantage when I need to,” he says. “When I have a band or a singer, I know exactly what I want because I’ve studied, I’ve performed, and I know how to explain it.”
But he also understood that as a pop music aspirant, he would need to take his music in front of live audiences. “People said my singing was better than the piano,” he laughs. As an aspiring vocalist, he performed everywhere: clubs, cafes, weddings, jam sessions and talent shows. Sometimes he would win prizes, but every more valuable were the contacts he was amassing. He sang backup with recording artists like George Benson, Oleta Adams and Jocelyn Brown, met A&R executives, and played them his songs that were eventually cut in Holland, Japan and Germany. He subsequently affiliated with Talpa Music, the well known as creators of the international hit television phenomenon The Voice.
A multi-instrumentalist who can play a variety of instruments, being a producer allows Allan to maintain control over the melodic integrity of the song. “When I pitch a song I want to get it cut with production,” he observes. With his extensive vocal background, he is especially adept at producing singers. “I know when a take is great,” he says. “I can fix pitchy, but I can’t fix emotion.” First and foremost he considers himself “…a melody freak. I care more about the vowel sounds and the notes than the actual words, but melody is first. That’s what people remember.”
Obtaining cuts, Allan says, is a fine art of patience and perseverance. “It might take writing 100 songs to get 1 to 15 cut, and maybe of those, three will be singles, and possibly one will do something. Everyone wants a top hit with a top artist. That can happen if you have the right network, but that’s like building a career on just luck, which I don’t believe in. It’s more than that: it’s being smart in setting up co-writes, strategies, and working upwards. That’s what has worked best for me.”