In my opinion, the Netherlands has some good music and a lot of bad music. At first, I was unsure of what side to pick, but I have decided to introduce you to a rising Dutch artist called Jett Rebel. Besides him making good music, Jett Rebel is an interesting case in the light of masculinity and stardom.
Jett’s solo career as a singer-songwriter started when he joined Sony Music in September 2012. He is known for being able to play multiple instruments and his extravagant appearance. In the past three years, his career has vastly grown to two studio albums, multiple awards and a place on Dutch and European festivals. Last year however, the documentary “Who The Fuck is Jett Rebel?” raised some questions regarding his identity (see trailer below). Jett was born as Jelte Tuinstra, but as this name lacks stage presence, Jelte performs under the name of Jett Rebel. The documentary shows the split personality in its extreme. On stage, Jett Rebel represents a confident, male star whereas offstage, he breaks down into a fragile, insecure individual. Although the documentary gives no clear answers, many started speculating about drugs, mental health problems but also about the music industry and its lack of humanity. Likewise the reactions to the recent documentary Amy, people became critical about the consequences of stardom and who to blame for it.
The documentary aside, Jett Rebel makes an interesting case because of his extraordinary appearance. The music video ‘Tonight’ (see below) exemplifies this. Jett Rebel performs in multiple costumes, both associated male and female, which have become a trademark for this alter ego. The use of masquerade both challenges and enhances the masculine identity. Although the attributes are mainly female-associated, the use of dress indicates power of representation. In combination with hypermasculine behavior and text (lyrics), Jett Rebel simultaneously confirms and denies a male position.
Although Jett Rebel is fairly new in the business, he is already one of the most extraordinary personas that has come from the Dutch music industry.