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Bill Kaulitz in May 2010
|Also known as||BILLY|
1 September 1989 |
Leipzig, East Germany
|Genres||Alternative rock, pop rock, electronic rock, emo, electronic pop, powerpop|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, model, voice actor, designer|
|Years active||2005 –present|
|Associated acts||Tokio Hotel, Black Question Mark, Devilish|
Bill Kaulitz (born 1 September 1989), also known mononymously as Billy (stylized as BILLY) for his solo act, is a German singer, songwriter, voice actor, designer, and model. He is best known for his work from 2001 to the present as the lead singer of the band Tokio Hotel.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Other work
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Public image
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
Bill Kaulitz was born on 1 September 1989 in Leipzig, German Democratic Republic. He has an identical twin brother, Tom, who is older by ten minutes. His parents, Simone and Jörg Kaulitz, separated when Kaulitz and his brother were seven years old. Simone married Gordon Trümper, the guitarist from the German rock band Fatun on 1 August 2009, after dating for 12 years.
Kaulitz showed an early interest in singing, as did Tom in playing guitar. Trümper noticed the twins' musical inclinations, and helped the twins to start their own band. According to Kaulitz in several interviews, he and Tom started writing music at the age of seven years.
Early musical career (1999–2003)
At the age of ten the brothers began performing live in Magdeburg, near their hometown of Loitsche They played small shows and while their audiences enjoyed them, they were largely unknown. The band lacked a drummer and bass player and the twins relied on a keyboard to fill in other instrumental sounds.
The year the brothers turned twelve, they met Georg Listing (then 14) and Gustav Schäfer (then 13), in the audience of one of their shows. Listing and Schäfer were friends and after the show, having liked what they heard and saw, made an offer to join. The band was promptly renamed "Devilish" due to an article published at the time that referred to their "devilishly great" sound. The four continued to perform, but aside from being featured on a small-time German news program somewhere between late 2002 and early 2003, Devilish were not going anywhere until Kaulitz auditioned on the reality TV talent show "Star Search."
This continued until 2005 when Jost arranged a meeting between the band and Universal Music Group's Interscope Records and Tokio Hotel was signed. They began working immediately, releasing their debut LP Schrei ("Scream") later that year. Their first single from Schrei was "Durch den Monsun" ("Through The Monsoon"), which reached #1 in Germany within a month of its release.
First tour and growing success
Tokio Hotel launched their debut tour in Germany, to support the release of Schrei and its singles. They toured Germany and also recorded a live DVD. On stage, Kaulitz was noted and well known for his energetic style and harmonizing with the fans (he would frequently let the audience sing verses instead of him).
Tokio Hotel were a household name in Germany at this point, and this compelled the band to return to the studio. After the success of Schrei, Tokio Hotel began working on their second album, Zimmer 483 (Room 483), released in February 2007. The album spawned three singles initially: "Übers Ende der Welt" ("Over the End of the World" – released as "Ready, Set, Go!"), "Spring nicht" ("Don't Jump"), and "An deiner Seite (Ich bin da)" ("By Your Side (I am there)" – released as "By Your Side"). A fourth single, "Heilig" ("Holy" – released as "Sacred"), was released in 2008.
To support the release of Zimmer 483, Tokio Hotel began a continental tour of Europe, spawning another live DVD and a large publicity boost.
International breakthrough (2007–2008)
As Tokio Hotel's fanbase increased in the Western part of the world, Kaulitz and the band decided to re-record select songs from both Schrei and Zimmer 483 for a new English-language LP so that fans around the world could understand the band's songs. The result of these re-recorded songs was Tokio Hotel's debut English album, titled Scream. The album was released in Europe in mid-2007 (albeit with the name Room 483, the literal translation of Zimmer 483, to express its continuity with that album), however it did not reach release in the West until mid-2008.
Scream spawned four singles, including "Scream", "Monsoon" (the translated version of "Durch den Monsun" however the title was not 100% literally translated), "Don't Jump" (the translated version of "Spring Nicht"), and "Ready, Set, Go!" (the translated version of "Übers Ende der Welt", again not a literal translation of the title). Scream was moderately successful internationally, and to support the release, Tokio Hotel left Europe for the first time in their careers, and flew to the United States.
In February 2008, Tokio Hotel first set foot in North America to play five shows, starting in Canada and ending in New York. Tokio Hotel were the first German act since Nena to gain success internationally, and maintain their status. The U.S. tour was a success, but when they went back to Europe for their 1000 Hotels Tour, disaster struck.
1000 hotels tour and medical complications
The 1000 Hotels Tour began in Brussels, Belgium, on 3 March 2008, and was set to continue through the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Scandinavia, ending on the 9 April. However eleven days after the start of the tour, on 14 March, Kaulitz began to experience voice problems in the middle of a show in Marseilles, France. He let the audience sing more often and the band cut their set down from twenty-one to sixteen songs.
Two days after the incident in France, Tokio Hotel cancelled a show in Lisbon, Portugal moments before it was to commence. The band, with the exception of Kaulitz, came on the stage and apologized for the show being cancelled. They explained that Kaulitz was sick and was being flown back to Germany to see a specialist: he had played forty-three shows without a break and had developed an untreated throat infection. The infection caused a cyst to develop on the singer's vocal cords that had to be removed via larynx surgery on 30 March. Kaulitz was unable to speak for ten days afterwards and had to undergo speech therapy for one month.
By May 2008 Kaulitz had sufficiently recovered and Tokio Hotel rescheduled the 1000 Hotels Tour dates, adding several open-air concerts. The tour concluded on 13 July 2008 in Werchter, Belgium, and, despite the surgery and time taken off, was deemed a success.
Over 2008 and 2009, Tokio Hotel returned to the recording studio to record their second English album and third German album. The result was Humanoid, which was a much more techno-oriented release and a new sound. Humanoid was released on October 6, 2009, and just short of a month later Tokio Hotel picked up the "Best Group" award at the EMAs in Berlin on November 5. Humanoid has so far spawned two singles, "Automatic"/"Automatisch", released in September 2009, and "World Behind My Wall"/"Lass uns laufen" (meaning "Let Us Run"), to be released in January 2010.
Kings of Suburbia and solo projects (2012–present)
In 2009, he reprised the role of the German voice of Arthur again for the Arthur und die Minimoys (Arthur And The Invisibles) sequel. In 2010, Kaulitz and Tokio Hotel teamed up with Kerli to record the song Strange for the film Alice In Wonderland and accompanying Almost Alice soundtrack. Kaulitz, alongside his brother, Tom, modeled for a PETA.de photoshoot, protesting the use of animals as a source of entertainment. He also modeled for Dsquared in early 2010, making his debut as a model.
Kaulitz appeared as a jury member on the 10th season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar.
Bill Kaulitz and his identical twin brother, Tom, used to live in Hamburg but moved to Los Angeles in October 2010 in response to an incident involving stalkers and a robbery. They have also stated that it is easier for them to create their new album, as it is closer to their manager David Jost. They are currently living in Los Angeles but also have a home in Hamburg. Bill is vegetarian and has been involved in campaigning for PETA.
In November 2014, Kaulitz blogged about love, labels and his sexuality; Kaulitz has not put a label on his sexual orientation, but offered: "Maybe I'm just about to meet someone who changes my life forever and, if that happens, does it really matter what gender they are?"
More trouble came for Kaulitz when in late 2008/early 2009 several female stalkers pursued the band relentlessly, even following his twin brother Tom Kaulitz to his parents' home in Germany and attacked the twins' mother. The issue seemed to end after his twin brother Tom allegedly hit one of the stalkers at a gas station in April 2009 and drove off. However, a recent article in Bild stated that the issue had resurfaced and that Tom Kaulitz may stand trial for assault. In late December 2009, the charges against Tom were lifted and he is pressing charges himself—against the girl he allegedly hit—on grounds of stalking.
German site www.dw-world.com says that his look, young age and edgy hairstyle has helped him obtain icon status among many teenage girls. Kaulitz designs many of his own stage costumes, and despite poor drawing skills, the designs are constructed by his tailor. The singer apparently collects suspenders, and is also "totally crazy about jackets". Kaulitz reports he has hundreds of jackets in his closet – though he has said that none of his jackets are real leather as he is opposed to using animal pelts/feathers for clothing. He cites his fashion and style influences as David Bowie (particularly in the 1986 film Labyrinth), Nena, Vampires, Paris' secondhand shops, striking jewelry and Dior Homme. He also cites Steven Tyler, Karl Lagerfeld and Hedi Slimane.
In August 2008, Kaulitz was chosen as the most attractive singer on stage by the readers of the Spanish magazine ¡Hola!. He was also immortalized in wax at the Madame Tussauds museum in Berlin on September 30, 2008. Kaulitz was 19 when the likeness was made, making him the youngest person to be duplicated by the Madame Tussauds museum in Berlin. In December 2008, Bill Kaulitz was named "Man of the Year #6" by MTV News.
In September 2009, Kaulitz was chosen by fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld to take part in a photo shoot for the 30th birthday of Vogue in Germany. Karl Lagerfeld described him as "The Other Idea of a German" and wrote that the 20-year-old singer with the unusual styling became a superstar; and a fashion icon.
While in October 2009, Kaulitz was number 11 on German magazine GQ's Best Dressed list. They cite his flamboyant style as one of the reasons he was chosen, as well as his liking to change and try new things. Designer Michael Michalsky supported his decision by saying: "Bill Kaulitz is unique and uncompromising, Pop-Art brought to life. He likes to change – that is fashion." For the Dsquared2 Fall/Winter 2010 fashion show, Kaulitz opened and closed the show with the song Screamin'.
- As solo artist (BILLY)
- I'm Not Ok - EP (De-Code LTD, 2016)
- Devilish (self-released, 2001)
- Schrei (Island Records/Universal Music, 2005)
- Zimmer 483 (Island/Universal, 2007)
- Humanoid (Island/Universal, Stunner Records [INTL] CherryTree Records, Interscope Records [USA], 2009)
- Deutsche Welle Bill Kaulitz: El fenómeno de Tokio Hotel (Bill Kaulitz: The phenomenon of Tokio Hotel). Retrieved September 17, 2008. (Spanish)
- Tokio-Hotel2.blog Scan/Translation. "Simone Kaulitz Marries?", 2009-8-1. Retrieved on 2010-1-28.
- Oei, Roland, "Tokio Hotel", pg. 20 & 21, PowerPlay, Issue 91, September 2007
- "Sound Generator – Interview – Tokio Hotel". Sound Generator. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
- "Tokio Hotel – Durch Den Monsun – Music Charts". Acharts.us. 2005-01-11. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Arthur und die Minimoys Retrieved September 17, 2008. (German)
- Walker, John (September 12, 2014). "Tokio Hotel Make A Somber Return With 'Run, Run, Run'". MTV. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
- Gracise, Bianca. "Tokio Hotel's Bill Kaulitz Announces Solo Project Called 'BILLY'". Fuse. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
- Kaulitz, Bill. "Exclusive: Tokio Hotel's Bill Kaulitz in his own words on heartbreak and looking for love". sheknows.com. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
- Zitzow, Marco. "Gang of hardcore fans still following Bill and Tom Kaulitz", Bild, 2009-3-6. Retrieved on 2010-1-17.
- Deutsche Welle German Pop Sensation Tokio Hotel Wins MTV Video Music Award. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
- Vogue.de Bill Kaulitz
- Hola.com Bill Kaulitz, Vocalista de Tokio Hotel, el Cantante más atractivo sobre el Escenario Según los Lectores de Hola.com. Retrieved September 17, 2008. (Spanish)
- El Pais.com Bill Kaulitz ya tiene su estatua de cera. Retrieved September 30, 2008. (Spanish)
- MTV.com Tokio Hotel's Bill Kaulitz Immortalized – In Wax – At Madame Tussauds In Berlin.Retrieved October 1st, 2008.
- MTV.com Who Is MTV News' Man Of The Year? The Countdown Begins Today!. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
- GQ.de Kaulitz posiert für Lagerfeld.