Before participating in the TV show Best Zangers, he asked his wife for styling advice. For 34 years, Ferdi and Marion Bolland have shared their love for each other and for hard work. “We talked to a professional earlier, more couples should.”
Laren, ‘t Gooi. A terrace at De Brink. One look at Café ‘t Bonte Paard across the street and the memory of Marion’s 47th birthday comes to mind. Together with a good friend, Ferdi organized a party for their birthday wives. The Gooische fanfare was hired to an extra celebratory note, and Ferdi had told them to stop in the middle of the intersection.
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Ferdi: ‘I wanted to cause a stir, I thought it was funny when it was in the local newspaper. I heard them coming – rampampamp! – the marching band at the crossing. They blocked everything. The police and fire department arrived quickly. My wife, dressed in a beautiful dress to match her temperament, climbed up on the table like a real birthday girl to dance. Fantastic.’
Again, it brings a smile to their faces. On this summer day, he orders a hot chocolate with whipped cream (‘fixed order’), she orders an oat cappuccino and they talk about their first meeting more than 35 years ago.
Ferdi was looking for a director for his production company and record label, and Marion was one of the twenty applicants. The application procedure was quite strict; an external professional was brought in to ensure that it went smoothly. Marion held up lap after lap.
Ferdi: ‘There was no amorous spark yet, although my brain must have been slightly influenced by her appearance. She fascinated me. And luckily it wasn’t just me, the whole staff was impressed.’
He later confessed to Marion that he also had his own way of estimating people. After the job interviews, he looked out the window to see people leaving the office building. How their persona held up outside the premises.
Ferdi: ‘I saw a very fast race with Marion. You had to come from good families to accompany her. Wow, energetic, I thought. She is an ace. Needless to say, Marion got the job.”
You have been together for 34 years now. The big question then is: who decorated whom then?
MARION: ‘While others suffer from the Monday blues, I enjoyed going to work. But I looked the cat out of the tree, Ferdi made it work. When we got into a relationship, I went to work somewhere else to keep things clear. I started working for a media company and worked for a long time in the television world.’
FERDI: ‘I still remember our first amorous moment.’
MARION: ‘You dropped me off at my car. We wanted to kiss but ended up pressing our cheeks together. So we stood for a long time. It was even more intimate than a kiss. Very romantic. We dated the old fashioned way for a while. A holiday to Greece followed and then we moved in together.’
Take us back to the wild eighties.
MARION: ‘A couple in the music world, it must be a sex & drugs & rock ‘n’ roll existence. But that’s not for me, I’m on my head from two wines and Ferdi is too businesslike for that. Besides, we saw the excesses. They were a warning about how quickly things can go wrong.’
FERDI: ‘In my existence as a music producer I was surrounded by rock bands. Deep Purple, Herman Brood, I was friends with everyone, saw what was happening backstage but was too rational to participate. Besides, I had a company to run’.
Awarded with awards as a singer, writer and producer of world hits. Did Ferdi ever walk next to his shoes?
MARION: Never. Sincerely, no. He is not a man with a splash. He is certainly proud. At number 1 hit worldwide, including in America, with Rock me Amadeus and jenny from Falco and You are in the army now, performed by Status Quo. Music also plays an important role in our family. Every day I find yellow post-its in the house with Ferdi’s melodies and ideas. If it ever stops, it’s a sign on the wall that something is wrong.
In Ferdi’s radio show on NH Radio, he sometimes plays a record for me and our daughters. At our wedding, with a big band behind him, he sang Lady in Red. Ferdi’s anthem is That’s life from Sinatra. On the way to Zandvoort we like to play the Eagles, during a pool party at home Maria Dolores Pradera – I love her Spanish sounds.”
FERDI: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if you have gypsy blood. We should look into your bloodline. During evenings with friends, we love a spicy pop quiz. I do the questions and give a challenge trophy as a trophy. Men against women, it’s hard. Everyone wants to go home with the shiny, golden thing. The women win the most.’
MARION: ‘Ferdi started as a singer. I think it’s great that he’s now been asked for the new Best Singers season. He came to me a week before the shooting. ‘They ask me to bring summer clothes to the filming in Seville. I only have dark, elaborate clothes. So I have a problem. Can you help me?’ After an afternoon of shopping, it went well. I find Ferdi attractive in a good turtleneck suit. In any case, it is less suitable for Spanish temperatures.’
When do you think Marion is particularly beautiful, Ferdi?
FERDI: ‘Marion photographs very well, I can see that from her creativity on Instagram. In any case, I think she looks amazing for her age.’
MARION: ‘Note the addition ‘for her age’.’
FERDI: ‘I mean it in the most positive sense. Put your ten women in a row of the same age…’
MARION: “Oh, stop!”
What binds you apart from music?
MARION: ‘Our optimism and our life energy.’
FERDI: ‘The shared love of hard work. Marion works at the gym, where our daughters also attended. I released my first single when I was 14 and don’t even think about stopping work. Before you know it, you are no longer relevant, and that feeling leaves you with a wound. Our relationship is based on a very simple criterion: we both have our own work worlds and can do business alone, but the moments together are always much more fun. With Marion, walking on the terrace already feels like the main prize. If our daughters Robin Tess and Summer come too, that’s the jackpot.”
MARION: ‘It thunders and crackles sometimes. We are strong personalities. Talk a lot, add expressive hand gestures. We are not like the totally exhausted couples who have nothing more to say to each other. There is never silence at the table. We can get great pleasure from food. Our family Whatsapp contains many pictures of meals. We are holding a competition to find the very best club sandwich. The Hyatt Grand Central hotel in New York has the highest score so far.’
FERDI: ‘Toast bread is the secret behind high quality. We can talk heartily about it. In Marion I find a woman who is my equal. My sounding board and traveling companion, for example recently when we were in Vienna, where I work as creative director on the Falco musical. Like Marion, I thrive on peace and outreach. I hate polarization and fuss. If Marion and I have a difference of opinion, the key is to continue to think in a problem-solving way.
I am convinced that you have to keep an eye on the long term to avoid short term problems. It’s about continuing to see the value in life. Then it’s not about having the little battle that you’re trying to win, but about turning your gaze forward. Breathe. collecting. Maybe give something up. And then you learn to look at the whole: together it really is more fun than alone. thello bright side of life. In a relationship, it’s about give and take. Especially if you’ve been together for 34 years, quite a journey.”
Were there periods when you did not find each other?
MARION: “Absolutely. In the period after the death of my parents, it was very difficult. And in busy times it is still challenging to keep seeing each other in a metaphorical sense. Something as simple as having a drink together on a terrace helps. To speak. ‘What are you busy with, what are you running into?’ From the outside, Ferdi looks calm, but it’s like a duck: you see an animal swimming calmly, but the legs kick below the surface of the water, and all sorts of things happen’.
FERDI: ‘Because of the circumstances, I was given a great responsibility at a young age. It has made me see things quite complicated. I tend to overanalyze. Marion teaches me to enjoy the moment, she makes life easier. In the past, we sometimes talked to a professional because we thought it was important. It’s a shame that there is a taboo on this, we just think it’s wise to talk to someone. A professional vision from an outsider can be a relief and enlightening.’
MARION: ‘More people should do that. There has been no communication for a long time in the relationship of the exhausted couples we talked about. Although learning to listen well is great. If it is difficult, there are plenty of professionals who can lend a hand. It has helped us for some periods. A relationship is sometimes hard work to be able to grow again, laugh, enjoy. With this man by my side, I hope to celebrate many more birthdays.’
FERDI: “Promise me that you will climb back on the table next time and dance. I would love that”.
Ferdi Bolland (1956) is a singer, composer, producer and entrepreneur. Achieved worldwide fame with hits he composed and produced for Falco, Status Quo, Johnny Logan, Samantha Fox, Herman Brood, Rob de Nijs and Dana International. Sold 65 million records worldwide and received the Buma Cultuur Export Award five times. Has his own radio program Ferdi’s Golden Hits Museum on NH Radio. Working on a Dutch-language solo EP and after a long time can be seen singing again in the new season of AVROTROS’ Best Zangers. Works as creative director on the Falco musical, which premieres in Vienna.
Marion Bolland (1964) worked for years in the media world, for example at John de Mol Productions, was also a sports instructor and now works at a high school where she is involved in communication and organizing events. She regularly posts her colorful take on fashion on Instagram (@marionbolland). She and Ferdi have two daughters, Robin Tess and Summer.
This double interview has previously been featured in the print edition of Nouveau (c) Nouveau DPG Media 2022
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