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Ozark Henry and Gert Van Leeuw (Director of Volkswagen) on how it all started


A love brand deserves a specific soundtrack, created by and for Volkswagen drivers. Driving forces Ozark Henry and Gert Van Leeuw explain how Car Trax began, where it is now and where it is going. "The idea of doing something with music has been around since I joined Volkswagen Belgium as director at the end of 2021," says Gert Van Leeuw on salutation.


"Shortly after that, the opportunity presented itself to experience a musical evening with Ozark Henry at his studio by the sea. That seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know the people around the brand and to link Volkswagen to music again. After all, our house has always had something to do with music, especially as a partner of concerts and sponsor of major festivals. I wanted to get back to that, but in a different way than before the pandemic." And whether Pete Goddaer aka Ozark Henry would prove the ideal partner to take that new path.



How it all started

That same evening, the musician in Gert seized his chance to play a song together with Piet for all the guests. Not to mention one by David Bowie, who never concealed his admiration for Ozark Henry's music. "That ended up being such a nice moment for everyone that it left me with two ideas," Gert explains. "First, I wanted to offer all musical Volkswagen drivers the chance to experience the same thing. And second, I would record a homemade composition with Piet to prove that, thanks to Volkswagen, that ambition is within reach for everyone."

In early 2023, the musical dream became a reality. Gert headed to Oostduinkerke to record a piano number, 'Life Artist' with Ozark Henry and appoint him artistic director of the first Car Trax edition. "During the recordings, Piet puts you at ease tremendously and brings out the best in you, without putting unnecessary pressure. His patience plays an important role in this, along with his musical insight to change and improve things." The result of that trial recording among the two protagonists became a fine instrumental, which was titled Life Artist and in terms of atmosphere would fit perfectly with an immersive TV series.

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Out of the ordinary

"Artistic collaborations have always been part of my work as a musician and producer," Piet confirms. "I invariably learn something from them, both musically and on a human level. That's why I always take on new challenges, preferably in diverse fields, as a project like Car Trax proves full to the brim. You can't call this set-up straightforward, however. In fact, I don't think it has been done before." The big difference with a classical talent show is that anyone can participate who can sing or play some notes and drives a Volkswagen. While a basic level is required, virtuosity is absolutely not a must.


The three songs Piet Goddaer has written for Car Trax, by the way, are songs that could easily be on an Ozark Henry album. "The biggest difference is that I didn't play the instruments myself this time" it sounds, "but had Volkswagen drivers fill in as diversely as possible." What he does say he has consciously done is to match the mood of the songs to the listening environment. In this case, those will be cars in general and Volkswagens in particular, which invite to travel and explore. In doing so, Ozark Henry especially wants to capture the expectation inherently associated with driving. According to Gert, who has already heard the demo versions, he has succeeded with flying colors.


Yet Piet deliberately chose to create different atmospheres with the three compositions. "With one song the emphasis is more on the groove, with another the song aspect weighs more fiercely. That in turn determines whether the message of the song is told through the lyrics or with the atmosphere."  "In this you notice that Gert is a real people manager," Piet concludes. "He wants to reach as many people as possible with Car Trax by using music as a common denominator. That gives him the courage to color outside the lines and put this bold project on the map."


Not a one-hit wonder

If it's up to Gert, by the way, this is just the beginning of Car Trax. "At this edition, Ozark Henry is our artistic jack-of-all-trades and we are focusing on traditional instruments. Next year, it could just be a well-known DJ looking for electronic music talent. Or a singer-songwriter, taking solo artists to new heights. As long as there's music in it, the genre qualifies for Car Trax." The launch of the new music pillar also neatly coincides with the 75th anniversary of Volkswagen Belgium, which makes it all extra festive. The launch of the first mini-album under the Car Trax label is scheduled for early 2024. 

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