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Stromae 2011.jpg
Stromae at the NRJ Music Awards 2011
Background information
Birth name Paul Van Haver
Born (1985-03-12) 12 March 1985 (age 29)
Origin Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium
Genres Hip hop, house, new beat, electronic music
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Musical keyboard, drums
Years active 2005–present
Labels Vertigo Records of Mercury Records France (Universal Music Group France)

Paul Van Haver (born 12 March 1985), better known by his stage name Stromae [stʁɔmaj], is a Belgian singer-songwriter. He has established himself in both hip hop and electronic music genres. Stromae came to wide public attention with his song "Alors on danse", which became a number one in several European countries.

Early life[edit]

Stromae was born in Etterbeek, Region of Brussels-Capital to a Rwandan father and a Flemish mother.[1] His father was mostly absent during his childhood and was killed during the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.[1] His mother raised him in a French community in the suburbs of Brussels.[1] At the age of eleven Stromae began to show an interest in music and attended the Académie musicale de Jette, where he studied music history and learned to play the drums. This was his first experience with musical theory.

Musical career[edit]

2000–2007: Early career[edit]

In 2000 he appeared as a rapper called Opsmaestro, though he later changed his stage name to Stromae (a syllablic inversion of "Maestro", a practice called verlan).

At the age of 18, he founded a rap group called "Suspicion", along with rapper "J.E.D.I." in Eichof. They produced the song and music video "Faut que t'arrête le Rap...", though later, J.E.D.I. decided to leave the rap duo. In order to finance his private school education, Van Haver worked part-time in the hospitality industry, but his school performance wasn't up to standard. It was only later, when he registered at Institut national de radioélectricité et cinématographie, that he released his first album "Juste un cerveau, un flow, un fond et un mic...".

2007–2008: Debut EP and record career[edit]

During his study at the film school of Brussels, Stromae decided in 2007 to concentrate fully on his musical career. This resulted in his debut-EP "Juste un cerveau, un flow, un fond et un mic…". In 2008 he signed a 4-year record deal with "Because Music" and "Kilomaître".

2009–2012: Breakthrough and international success[edit]

Portrait of Stromae

In 2009 Stromae worked as a young trainee at the musical radio station NRJ in Brussels. Vincent Verbelen, Music Manager, was impressed by the talent of Stromae's first single 'Alors on danse' and decided to air it for the first time on NRJ. The response from listeners (including influential personalities ranging from Anna Wintour and Jean-Claude Van Damme, to the then French president Nicolas Sarkozy) was one of extreme enthusiasm and Stromae came to wider public attention. In a few weeks from that point, sales of the song established it as number one in Belgium.

Vertigo Records, a label of Mercury Records France (Universal Music Group) signed him for a worldwide licensing deal soon after this.

By May 2010 the track Alors on danse had reached number one in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Romania and the Czech Republic.

On September 2, Stromae collaborated with Kanye West in a remix of his hit Alors on danse.[2] In 2010, he was nominated for "Best Dutch and Belgian Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Of his music and its influences he has said: "I was in a little group doing rap music. I thought that rather than copying the French sound, I'd focus on a more American style but give it a European spin. And then I rediscovered 90s Eurodance. For a long time we were ashamed of that sound but in fact there's a lot to discover, it has its roots in everything from house to salsa. I also really admire Jacques Brel – he has been a huge influence on me – but also all sorts of other stuff, Cuban son, and the Congolese rumba, that I heard as a child; that music rocked the whole of Africa." Also, Stromae insists he wanted to collaborate with up and coming rap group Swag+5 featuring rapper T-Jay. In the end, the collaboration did not take place, but Stromae is a big fan of the American based group.[3] The critic Molloy Woodcraft : "He combines 90s electro synths and beats with a laidback delivery to mesmeric effect".

He is one of the ten winners of the European Border Breakers Award 2011. On February 9, 2011, his debut album 'Cheese' (including the hit single "Alors on danse") won the award for Best Dance Album at the Victoires de la musique.

On May 23, 2011, during the recording of the French TV show Taratata, Stromae did a mashup of Alors on danse and Don't Stop the Party with the Black Eyed Peas. Stromae also announced he would perform as opening support act for the first of two concerts by the band in Paris on June 24 and 25, 2011 at Stade De France.[4] Stromae had previously met at the NRJ Music Awards in January. told him that he liked "Alors on danse" and said he wanted to collaborate with Stromae.

In 2011, he received one nomination for "Best Belgian Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards.[5]

2013–present: Racine Carrée[edit]

The first single "Papaoutai" from his upcoming second album Racine Carrée (English: Square root) was digitally released on May 13, 2013. It went on to chart number 1 in Belgium and France, number 2 in the Netherlands, as well as number 7 in Germany and Switzerland.

On May 22, 2013, amateur-looking videos appeared on YouTube showing Stromae, apparently drunk and wandering at the Louiza tram station in Brussels at dawn.[6] The videos went viral. A few days later, it was revealed that this was linked with the filming of a professional music video. This was confirmed during an appearance by Stromae on the French TV show Ce soir ou jamais in which he discussed and also performed his new single "Formidable", which is about the story of a drunk man just separated from his girlfriend. The clip was made from edited hidden camera footage taken on May 22. It also shows people taking pictures with their cellphones and three policemen talking to the artist.[7][8]

On July 26, 2013, Stromae announced on his Facebook[9] and Twitter[10] accounts that he had completed his second studio album Racine Carrée or and that it would be released on 16 August 2013. On 25 August 2013, Stromae joined Major Lazer's show at French festival Rock en Seine, where he performed Papaoutai. In September 2013, Belgian rock band Mintzkov covered his song "Formidable/Wonderful" for a live session on Studio Brussel, with lyrics in English. In November 2013, Stromae received the award for Best Belgian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.[11][12]

On 17 March 2014, it was made public that Stromae's song "Ta fête" would become the official song for the Belgian football selection at the 2014 World Cup.[13]

In June 2014, Stromae made his US television debut on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers.[14] He then performed at the Best Buy Theater in New York City.[15][16] While in New York, on 22 June 2014, Stromae guest starred in a Snapchat story with Jerome Jarre as The Carrot's Father.[17] He will next tour in North America starting September 2014.[18][19]

On 21 October 2014, it was revealed that New Zealand singer Lorde invited Stromae to work on the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 along with artists like Kanye West, Grace Jones, Diplo and The Chemical Brothers. He will be featured on the song "Meltdown" which also features Pusha T, Q-Tip, Haim and Lorde herself. Earlier that month she declared herself a fan of Stromae after attending his concert.

Personal life[edit]

In June 2011 Stromae confirmed that he was in a relationship with former Miss Belgium Tatiana Silva.[20] The couple split in September 2012.[21]


Main article: Stromae discography
Stromae singing

Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

  • 2007: Juste un cerveau, un flow, un fond et un mic...


  • 2006: Freestyle Finest
  • 2009: Mixture Elecstro


Year Organisation Award Work
2009 NRJ Music Awards Belgian Francophone Musical Breakthrough of the Year N/A
2010 Music Industry Awards Hit of the Year Alors on danse
2010 Music Industry Awards Musical Breakthrough of the Year N/A
2011 Victoires de la Musique Electronic or Dance Music Album of the Year Cheese
2011 Ultratop Download Award Most Downloaded Artist in 2010 in Belgium N/A
2011 Octaves de la musique Artist of the Year N/A
2011 Octaves de la musique Show of the Year N/A
2012 ADISQ Most Successful Francophone Artist in Quebec N/A
2013 Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur Best Music Video Papaoutai
2013 SACEM Rolf Marbot Prize for Song of the Year Formidable
2013 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Belgian Artist N/A
2013 NRJ Music Awards Best French-Language Song Formidable
2013 NRJ Music Awards Best French-Speaking Male Artist N/A
2013 Red Bull Elektropedia Awards Artist of the Year N/A
2014 Victoires de la Musique Male Artist of the Year N/A
2014 Victoires de la Musique Music Video of the Year Formidable
2014 Victoires de la Musique Song/Variety Album of the Year Racine Carrée
2014 Globes de Cristal Awards Best Male Singer N/A
2014 Octaves de la musique Artist of the Year N/A
2014 Octaves de la musique Bel RTL Public Prize N/A
2014 Octaves de la musique Best Album of French Songs Racine Carrée
2014 World Music Awards Best-Selling Benelux Artist N/A


  1. ^ a b c Sayare, Scott (2013-10-14). "Stromae: Disillusion, With a Dance Beat". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Stromae feat. Kanye West – Alors on danse on YouTube (2010-09-02). Retrieved on 2012-02-22.
  3. ^ The Observer, 5 September 2010
  4. ^ Black Eyed Peas at Stade De France | MSN Arabia Entertainment. (2011-07-26). Retrieved on 2012-02-22.
  5. ^ MTV EMA 2011 :: 06.11.2011 :: Belfast :: Stromae. (2011-11-06). Retrieved on 2012-02-22.
  6. ^ Stromae bourré à Bruxelles on YouTube (2013-05-23)
  7. ^ "Stromae - Formidable (ceci n'est pas une leçon)". 27 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "VIDEO. Formidable : le clip de Stromae nous a tous buzzés" (in French). 27 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Stromae". Facebook. 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  10. ^ "Twitter / Stromae: It's done. My 2nd album will". 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  11. ^ Thijs, Tommy (18 September 2013). "Dit zijn de genomineerden voor de MTV European Music Awards". De Morgen (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "2013 MTV EMA: Highlights of the show & winners". MTV. 10 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Het officiële Rode Duivels-lied is er!". De Standaard (in Dutch). 17 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Allain, Xavier (17 June 2014). "Découvrez la première télévision de Stromae aux Etats-Unis". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Lowery, Tim (30 April 2014). "Meet Stromae, the most famous pop star you've never heard of". Time Out. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Lindsay, Benjamin (23 June 2014). "International Artist Stromae Slays, Sells Out Best Buy Theater". Next Magazine. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Jerome Jarre Tweet". 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  18. ^ Martin, Michel (30 June 2014). "Belgian Singer Stromae Hopes To Bring French Flair To The U.S.". NPR. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Belgian phenom Stromae brings his music to North America". CTV News. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  20. ^ LD (17 June 2011). "Stromae confirme être en couple avec Tatiana Silva". Cine Télé Revue (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  21. ^ Delvaux, Catherine (26 April 2013). "Stromae et Tatiana Silva ont rompu" (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2013. 

External links[edit]