Dutch baker-turned-singer to perform in Tainan

Taipei-Dutch national Martin Hurkens, a former baker who quickly became a social media sensation after winning the third season of "Holland's Got Talent" in 2010, will be performing at the T.S. Mall in Tainan on Sunday.

At a promotional event at a Tainan hotel Saturday, Hurkens gave a preview of the song that made him popular, "You raise me up," which was originally recorded in an album by Rolf Lovland of the Irish-Norwegian band Secret Garden in 2002.

Hurkens' performance of the hit song has since drawn more than 27 million views on YouTube.

As his popularity grew, Hurkens was given the chance to perform in a number of countries, including China, Japan, Italy, France, Turkey and Germany, according to his Facebook profile.

Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-cher (???), who welcomed him at the hotel, said he first heard about the 60-year-old Dutch singer last year, when a friend shared a song by Hurkens on his mobile phone.

While he was very much impressed by his vocal abilities, the Tainan mayor said he was even more inspired after learning about his humble beginnings.

According to a report by entertainment website MadlyOdd.com, Hurkens was a professional baker for 35 years, but had dreamed of being an opera singer after taking up singing and piano lessons at the age of 13.

He was forced to leave school early, however, due to money problems.

Hurkens then started working as a baker and had a stable life before losing his job in 2009. In a terrible job market, he tried his hand at busking, singing on the streets to help his family make ends meet, the report said.

In 2010, his youngest daughter signed him up behind his back to compete in the Dutch singing contest on television, not knowing that he could win the final and that the outcome would later change his life, his Facebook profile read.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel