Branimir Štulić

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Johnny Štulić
Birth name Branimir Štulić
Also known as Johnny, Džoni
Born (1953-04-11) April 11, 1953 (age 62)
Skopje, FPR Yugoslavia
Origin Zagreb, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia
Genres Rock, alternative rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar
Years active 1977–to present
Labels /c/ Azra Music
Associated acts Azra

Branimir "Johnny" Štulić (born April 11, 1953 in Skopje, FPR Yugoslavia) is a singer, composer, and writer, best known for being the frontman of the popular former Yugoslav rock group Azra. He is known for his charismatic stage performances and inspiring song lyrics that often combined rock poetry with a strong sense for social commentary. Today, Branimir Štulić and his music enjoy a cult following within the former Yugoslavia.


Štulić grew up in Skopje where his father – an officer in the Yugoslav People's Army – was stationed at the time. At the age of 7, he moved with his family to the Cvetković village near Jastrebarsko where they spent a year and a half, before relocating to Jastrebarsko proper for the following five years. In January 1967, Štulić moved to Zagreb where he attended high school and later, for two years, studied phonetics and history at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Philosophy before dropping out. Štulić's youth and his musical beginnings are the subject of the documentary "Kad Miki kaze da se boji".

He began his musical career with a band named "Balkan Sevdah band", performing The Beatles covers and folk music. In 1977 he formed Azra which, during the 1980s, became one of the most prominent and influential musical acts in Yugoslavia. The Azra days brought Štulić widespread fame in Yugoslavia, as well as a rabid and devoted youth following – Štulić often used his music as commentary directed towards the social and political conditions in the then-Socialist Yugoslavia.

In 1984 Štulić moved to the Netherlands. His last live performance prior to the departure to the Netherlands was on August 15, 1990 in Hvar. In regards to the Yugoslav Civil war, Štulić frequently expressed his disapproval of separatism and was a fervent believer of Yugoslavism and Bratstvo I Jedinstvo. After the ex-Yugo wars stopped, Štulić recorded three solo albums, each published in Belgrade, Serbia. The records achieved lukewarm reception and limited commercial success. In 2005 he published an autobiography called "Smijurija u mjerama".

Hrvoje Horvat, a Croatian journalist, wrote a biography of Johnny Štulić titled "Fantom slobode", ("The Phantom of Freedom"), published in 2006. Due to Štulić's immense popularity in the former Yugoslavia, the book was an immediate commercial success. However, it was also heavily criticized by many literary critics, and even Štulić himself, for its poor writing quality and alleged misinterpretation of facts.

Today, Štulić who lives a modest and ascetic lifestyle, is often at odds with his past, fan base and critics. He typically does not give interviews and is very protective of his privacy. He states he has no interest in going back to his rock career, but in the past few years he has recorded and posted on YouTube over 600 traditional songs, hit covers and some original material.


  • [1] "Sve bijaše pošteno i dragom Bogu pristupačno"
  • [2] "Najveća pljačka u povijesti rocknrolla"
  • [3] "Bio sam najjeftiniji izvodjač u povijesti Jugotona"
  • [4] "Džoni Štulić tuži izdavačku kuću zbog autorskih prava"
  • [5] "Mada sam svoju pamet mogao i na nečem značajnijem pokazati"

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