When his first hit, "Ik Zing Dit Lied Vorr Jou Alleen," came out in 1997, however, Johannes Hendricus Maria Smit was a mere 12 years of age. One year earlier, he had been featured prominently on "Mama," a hit single by BZN
, and he signed to Mercury
soon after. Subsequent recordings found favor with both Dutch and German audiences, though initially it was Germany where he found his greatest success. After riding high for some time during the early 2000s, Smit's popularity began to settle, but in 2005, Dutch station TROS created a reality television series based on his life. The show, titled Vrienden Voor Het Leven, became a hit, and Smit soon regained his superstar status. During 2006-2007, he hit number one with four straight singles, including "Als de Morgen Is Gekome," "Cupido," and the title track to Op Weg Naar Geluk. His albums were just as successful, each one topping the Dutch charts and reaching platinum (or better) certification.
Smit also continued to appear on TROS, most often hosting his own popular shows, and in 2012 appeared in a film set amidst World War II, Het Bombardement. As his albums continued to top the Dutch charts, he also returned to German-language recording in 2013 with Ich Bin Da. Jij & Ik from 2014 spent three weeks at number one in the Netherlands, and 20 from 2016 (which celebrated his two decades in the music business) topped the charts for two weeks. ~ Chris True, Rovi