Waylon (born Willem Bijkerk; 20 April 1980 in Apeldoorn) is a Dutch singer. His stage name came from the name of his idol Waylon Jennings. He represented the Netherlands with Ilse DeLange as The Common Linnets at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, finishing in second place in the final.
Bijkerk started his career in 1995 singing in the television program Telekids where he sang the chorus of the song Harry Stallion.
From childhood, he was inspired by country music and he played the drums with the band West Virginian Railroad. He was signed in 1997 by EMI and went to Nashville to record an album. The album was never completed. In 2001, he lived and worked for a year in the United States where he also performed with his idol, Waylon Jennings. After Jennings died in 2002, Bijkerk returned to the Netherlands.
Bijkerk talent was further developed with Lisa Boray. After returning from the United States he joined the cover band Santa Rosa . He also sang in the band Millstreet.
In 2005, Bijkerk and Rachel Kramer performed as the duo Rachel & Waylon in the preliminary rounds of the National Song Contest with the song "Leven als een beest" .
Bijkerk took part in the first season of Holland's Got Talent on SBS 6 in 2008. He auditioned with the song "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown. He received positive feedback from jurors Henkjan Smits and Patricia Paay. Bijkerk reached the final and finished second.
A year later, Universal Music signed Bijkerk as the first Dutchman to the Motown label. His first single, "Wicked Way", was released on August 7, 2009, as a preview of the album Wicked Ways, released later that month. "Wicked Way" reached the top 10 in the Dutch Top 40 charts.
In April 2010, Bijkerk won his first major music award, a 3FM Award for "Best Newcomer". A month later he received in a gold record for his debut album on the television program De Wereld Draait Door. In June 2010, Waylon was one of the winners of the TMF Awards, winning the Borsato Award for new talent. The prize was awarded to him by the namesake, Marco Borsato, at the TMF Awards Festival in Enschede.
Bijkerk released "The Escapist" in October 2011 as the first single from his second album, After All, which was released on November 3, 2011. This was followed by the singles "Lose It" and "Lucky Night". Bijkerk was voted best singer in the April 2012 3FM Awards.
Eurovision Song Contest 2014
Together with singer Ilse Delange, Bijkerk was the Dutch entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen. The two formed the duo The Common Linnets and sang the country/bluegrass song "Calm After the Storm". They won second place with a total of 238 points behind Conchita Wurst from Austria, who scored 290 points.
Bijkerk last performed with Delange at a concert on June 21, 2014 in Enschede, following which he left The Common Linnets.
Heaven After Midnight
Bijkerk's third studio album, Heaven After Midnight, was released in September 2014 and reached #1 in the Dutch iTunes charts as well as in the Dutch Album Top 100 in the week of its release. He worked in Nashville and Hollywood on the album with, among others, Bruce Gaitsch, who previously wrote for Chicago and Madonna.
He married in 2002, fathered a son, Dylan, and divorced after three years of marriage.