Dan Balan

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Dan Balan
Dan Balan 2015.jpg
Background information
Birth name Dan Balan
Born (1979-02-06) 6 February 1979 (age 36)
Chișinău, Moldova
Origin Chișinău, Moldova
Genres Pop-rock, dance, pop
Occupation(s)
Instruments
Years active 2000 -present
Labels Sony Music, Universal Music, EMI, Gala Records/Warner, Media Pro Music, First Music Publishing
Associated acts Inferialis, O-Zone, Crazy Loop, Katie DiCicco, Jack Joseph Puig, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Bob Clearmountain, Chris Lord-Alge, Tony Maserati, Andrea Bertolini, Corey Gibson, Jesse Dylan, Brasco, Chris Elliott, Isobel Griffiths, Vera Brezhneva, Ekaterina Vilkova
Website danbalan.com

Dan Balan (born February 6, 1979) is a Moldovan singer, songwriter, and producer. Born in Chișinău, Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, he is the first and only Moldavian musician to be nominated for a Grammy as co-writer of Rihanna and T.I.’s "Live Your Life". He is the founder of European band O-Zone, and wrote and produced their international hit single "Dragostea Din Tei”, which topped the charts in over 30 countries and sold over 12 million copies worldwide. He is also the songwriter and performer of European hit-singles "Chica Bomb", "Justify Sex" and "Freedom".

Early life[edit]

Balan was born on 6 February 1979 in Chișinău, to Mihai Bălan, a diplomat who was Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Israel and now works as the Head of Information and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova,[1] and Ludmila Balan, a popular TV presenter.[2] He has a sister, TV presenter Sanda Bălan (born 1984).[1][3]

He was gifted his first instrument, a second-hand accordion, at age 11 and began pursuing music at a young age. Balan attended music school, but his parents urged him to attend university to study law. After following their wishes for a short time, he eventually left law school to play with his first band Inferialis, a gothic doom metal band.[4]

Career[edit]

1996–1998: Beginnings and Inferialis[edit]

After Balan formed the band, Inferialis held its first concert in 1996 in a concert hall in one of Chisinău's factories. His entire family was present at the concert, and his parents having been impressed by the performance bought him an expensive synthesizer.[4] He spent the next two years performing with the band, taking several small gigs, and then decided to move to commercial-sounding music.[5] In an interview, he explained that he had never considered himself a heavy metal musician and instead identified as a producer with an interest in working with varying musical styles. He started experimenting and exploring a new, commercial pop sound, and recorded and released his first solo song, "De la Mine", in 1998.[4]

1998–2005: Breakthrough and O-Zone[edit]

Main article: O-Zone

In 1999, Balan formed O-Zone, a new musical project, with Petru Jelihovschi, former vocalist in Inferialis. The duo released their first album entitled Dar unde esti? later that year and it became a commercial hit with seven of the album’s ten songs reaching number one on the charts of the main radio stations in Moldova.[6] At the same time, he became a producer of a new children’s TV show called Tanti Ludmila Show, which was hosted by his mother. When the show needed a title song, the singer offered up a track he’d written when he was younger.[4]

Shortly afterwards, Jelihovschi left the band to take up his own career in television. In order to continue the band, Balan announced auditions to select new band members. He auditioned several individuals but was unable to find somebody who fit his concept for the music. Finally, Arsenie Todiraş, who he met through his vocal coach, was selected. After the auditions were close, Radu Sirbu heard about the selection and requested Balan to audition him. Subsequently, Sirbu became the third member of the band.[7]

Throughout 2001, Balan wrote and recorded O-Zone's second album, Number 1.[8] Four Romanian record labels offered the band a deal. O-Zone elected Cat Music and their album was released in 2002 by the label. Much to Balan's disappointment, the album did not become an instant commercial success. However, O-Zone won Best Music Video Award at the MTV Romania Music Awards in 2002 for their single "Numai tu". The album’s second single, "Despre Tine", was more experimental, driven by the singer's goal of working in styles of music, which were completely different to those dictating the Romanian music industry at that time.[9] The song became a commercial success and reached number one on Romania Airplay Top 100, where it stayed for seventeen consecutive weeks.[10] The next year, O-Zone won two more MTV Romania Music Awards, for Best Song and Best Dance. The band was also nominated for Best Romanian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.[11]

The song "Dragostea Din Tei", also known as the "Numa Numa Song", which was released in 2003, brought the group to global prominence.[12] The single, written and produced by Balan, reached the number one position on the charts of more than thirty countries and was the third bestselling single in the U.K. It sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, receiving a gold and multi-platinum certification in most of the countries of Europe, Asia and Latin America.[13][14] It became the bestselling track in Europe and Japan in 2004 and 2005.[15] Over the years, more than two hundred artists have sung the song in fourteen different languages. "Dragostea Din Tei" is one of the best-selling singles in the history of world music.[16]

In 2004, O-Zone won Best Dance Award again at MTV Romania Music Awards[17] and, for the second year in a row, they were nominated for Best Romanian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.[18] Later that year, the band unveiled their third album, DiscO-Zone, which became their best-selling release, certified gold and platinum in various countries. By the end of the year, it was the best-selling album in Japan, Europe and Latin America. In France, it was number fifteen but stayed for 36 weeks in the top 200. In Japan it reached the number one position in its 24th week on the chart.[19][20] DiscO-Zone featured their hit singles "Dragostea Din Tei" and "Despre Tine (About You)". The album was a commercial success in many European countries, particularly in Portugal where it was hit number one for eight consecutive weeks and was ranked for 26 weeks in the top 30. It also reached the top ten in Wallonia (Belgium),[21] Poland,[22] Norway,[23] Switzerland,[24] and Finland.[25]

By late 2004, O-Zone released another single "De Ce Plang Chitarele", which was a cover of a song by the Moldovan band Noroc. Commenting on their songs and style, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty wrote that they have "breathed fresh air into European Pop Music Scene."[26] O-Zone announced their breakup in 2005, right at the peak of their fame and popularity. Their last European concert was held at the 2005 Golden Stag music festival in Romania.[27]

2006–2009 : Solo Career, Crazy Loop and The Power of Shower[edit]

Main article: Crazy Loop

After O-Zone’s break-up, Balan pulled together a new group of musicians and began working on new music. He moved to Los Angeles in early 2006 to record at Ocean Way. There he recorded and co-produced his first solo rock album with Jack Joseph Puig. Despite having recorded the album, the singer did not release it.[4][28]

He returned from the U.S. in early 2007 and began working on a new experimental musical project. Balan performed the songs, which were a deviation from his prior material, in a falsetto voice. These shifts led him to decide to release the music under the stage name Crazy Loop, an alter ego that contrasted with his real personality. The musician described Crazy Loop as “funnier, crazier and more ironic” than himself and said, “I'm not like that really but part of Crazy Loop lives inside me.”[29][30] Balan officially launched Crazy Loop in October 2007 with new single "Crazy Loop (Mm Ma Ma)", which landed on the charts in Germany,[31] Austria,[32] Poland and Romania, as well as on European chart Euro Hot 200.[33]

Crazy Loop’s debut album, The Power of Shower was released in December, and included some of the songs Balan had created for his unreleased album in Los Angeles, the previous year.[34] The album’s second single, "Johanna, Shut Up!" was released in the summer of 2008 along with a music video directed and shot in Los Angeles by Marc Klasfeld. The single was the final official track released under the name Crazy Loop. The artist released a third single from The Power of Shower in October 2008 under his own name, Dan Balan. The track, a rock ballad called "Despre Tine Cant (Part 2)," dropped in Romania and Moldova and was accompanied by a music video directed by Greg Olive.[35] Crazy Loop was nominated for Best Romanian Act at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards but lost to Morandi.[36]

In February 2009, he became the first Moldovan songwriter in history to be nominated for a Grammy Award, the most prestigious award in the global music industry. He was nominated as co-writer of Rihanna and T.I.’s "Live Your Life"[37] The song stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks following its release, jumping from number eighty to number one in just one week. "Live Your Life" was certified 4x Platinum, with 4,532,000 copies sold in the U.S.[38]

Later in 2009, the singer re-released The Power of the Shower album as Crazy Loop Mix, an exclusive release with four new tracks, which included "Friday Night," "My Best Summer," "Judy's Love Line" and new single "Chica Bomb." This release marked the beginning of a new phase in his solo career.[39] In November 2009 acting President of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu, awarded him honorific title of Master in Art for successes in creative activity, contributions to propagation of musical art and high performing artistry.[40][41]

2010 – 2014: Chica Bomb, Justify Sex, Lish do Utra, Lendo Calendo and Other songs[edit]

Balan’s solo single "Chica Bomb" which featured vocals from American singer Katie DiCicco and production from Italian DJ Andrea Bertolini, was officially released in 2010. The song became a hit in Europe and made it into the top ten charts in several European countries, including Germany,[42] Denmark, Austria,[43] Romania, Russia, Greece, and the U.K., where it reached No. 7 on the U.K. Dance Chart.[44] The track received positive reviews from music critics. Nick Levine, from Britain’s Digital Spy described "Chica Bomb" as “a sleek and reasonably sexy electro-house track with a nice bit of synthy bounce to it.” It became one of the five most played songs on Radio in Bulgaria[45] and Romania.[46] The video for the song was directed by Hype Williams.[47]

Balan re-recorded the single in Greece as a duet with Greek pop star Eleni Foureira. The duo launched the new Greek version at the MAD Video Music Awards in Athens in May 2010.[48] The song continued its global dominance and Balan was invited as a special guest to the Russian music industry's annual awards ceremony, the Muz-TV Awards, on June 11, 2010, where he performed the single.[49] The singer unveiled his next single, "Justify Sex" in July 2010 at the Europa Plus Live festival in Moscow. It reached number one on the Russian charts, where it remained for 43 weeks. A video for the song was directed by Jesse Dylan, who shot the video in Los Angeles and based its concept around the movie Friday the 13th.[50][51]

Following the success of two consecutive singles reaching number one on the charts, Balan decided to shift his focus to the Eastern European market. In the summer of 2010 he recorded lyrical song "Lepestkami Slez" as a duet with Vera Brezhneva, who he had met in New York. The song, Balan’s first in Russian, was released on October 29 and became his third consecutive number one single in Russia.[52] Its music video was shot by Ukrainian video director Sergei Solodky and earned over 24 million views on YouTube, becoming the most watched Russian-language music video in the history of Russian music.[53] The song was nominated for Best Duo at the awards for Russian music channel RU.TV in 2011.[54] He won a Golden Gramophone Award, Russia's most prestigious music prize, for his single "Lepestkami Slez" at the 16th Golden Gramophone awards ceremony in the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow.[55] The artist was nominated for the Best Romanian Act for the fourth time at the 2010 MTV Europe Music Awards.[56]

Balan released a new English single "Freedom", which featured American singer Corey Gibson and DJ Andrea Bertolini, in the spring of 2011. The song reached the Top 30 in Russia and the Ukraine, and eventually bowed at number two on the charts. In Romania, the single went to number four on the Romanian Top 100 in 2011. The song remained on the charts for a total of 49 weeks.[57][58] Balan started recording the video for "Freedom", which was directed by Pavel Hudeakov in May 2011 in southern France. While recording for the song, the singer climbed up and stood on a steep cliff without protective equipment. In an interview after the official video was released, he said that the video was one of the most dangerous shootings of his career.[59][60]

He released his second Russian single, "Lish do Utra," on September 26, 2011. The song was recorded in studios in several countries, including Romania, the U.K., Russia and the U.S. In an interview, Balan explained that upon thinking the concept of the song, he had an immediate notion that the song would be best presented in the Russian language.[61] The single reached number one position on the Russian digital sales chart. He wrote the concept for the song’s music video himself and enlisted French director Steven Ada to direct the video.[62] The singer selected Ada because he wanted a director with a very particular, photographic eye for composition and light, who could convey the natural beauty of the waking day and contrast it with the two lovers sharing their last morning together. The video was filmed in Corsica Island, with Balan starring opppsite Ioanu Raicu. The video premiered on October 25, 2011.[63]

In April 2012, Balan released another Russian single, pop-rock song "Lyubi". The song reached number one on the Top Hit Weekly Audience Choice, number thirteen on the Russian chart and number two on the Ukrainian chart.[64] The music video for the song was directed by Alan Badoev and starred Russian theater and film actress Ekaterina Vilkova.[65] Later that year, he was nominated for the best male singer award by the music channel Muz-TV.[66] and was named as Russia's sexiest singer by online magazine Woman.ru at the RU.TV Russian music awards ceremony. He was also nominated for Best Singer and Best Song for "Lish do Utra". On December 1, 2012, the singer won a Golden Gramophone award for the second year in a row for "Lish do Utra".[67] Balan was also awarded the Krasnaya Zvezda award in nomination Best Songs of the Year for his single, which was one of the top twenty most popular songs of 2012 in Russia.[68]

Balan presenting at Arena Moscow

In November 2012, he announced that he was working on his latest album Freedom (Part 1) He recorded the album in several studios in the U.S., the U.K., Italy and Romania. The album was launched in the Arena Moscow Concert Hall[59] as part of a solo concert and included "Chica Bomb", "Justify Sex", "Lepestkami Slyoz" and "Freedom". The album became popular in Russia and was certified gold.[69]

In May 2013, Balan released "Lendo Caledo", a bilingual single with lyrics in Spanish and English.[70] The track featured Tany Vander and American rapper Brasco. He sang his part in Spanish, which he had studied in Barcelona. The words Lendo Calendo were coined by Balan himself who thought of them as magic words like Abracadabra.[71] The song topped the iTunes Chart and reached number one in Russia and also peaked the charts in Romania and other CIS countries. The music video of the song, directed by Alan Badoev, was released on July 9, 2013.[72][73] The song received positive reviews and the singer received several awards for "Lendo Calendo". On May 25, he was nominated for the best singer award at the annual Russian music awards RU.TV.[74] Later he won the award for The Best Singer at the Real Musicbox awards ceremony.[75]

On November 30, 2013, Balan received his third Golden Gramophone award for the song "Lyubi".[76]

2014 – Present: Domoy[edit]

In January 2014, Balan began recording a new studio album in London in the Abbey Road Studios, AIR Studios, RAK Studios, Strongroom Studios and Sarm Studios. He wrote the music and lyrics and produced all of the tracks on the album. The recordings featured the Symphony Orchestra of the British Musicians' Union, the London Community Gospel Choir, London Voices led by Terry Edwards and Ben Parry, as well as Massive Attack drummer Julien Brown, guitarist Seton Daunt, and percussionist Andy Duncan. Chris Elliott worked on the arrangement for the symphony orchestra.[77]

The album’s first single "Domoy" was released in September 2014. In contrast to Dan’s previous work, "Domoy" was quite experimental, moving away from his typical style and appealing to an older audience. According to Dan, the track also differs from the other songs on the new album, which will have a more commercial sound. The album is scheduled for release in 2015.[78]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

O-Zone
Year Title
2001 "Numai Tu"
2002 "Despre Tine"
2003 "Dragostea Din Tei"
2004 "De Ce Plang Chitarele"
Crazy Loop
Year Title
2006 "Crazy Loop (Mm-ma-ma)"
2007 "Johanna (Shut Up!)"
Dan Balan
Year Title
1998 "De La Mine"
2008 "Despre Tine Cant (Part 2)"
2009 "Chica Bomb"
2010 "Justify Sex"
2010 "Лепестками слез"
2011 "Freedom"
2011 "Лишь до утра"
2012 "Люби"
2013 "Lendo Calendo"
2014 "Домой"

Albums[edit]

O-Zone
Year Title
1999 Dar, Unde Esti...'
2002 Number 1
2004 DiscO-Zone
Crazy Loop
Year Title
2007 The Power of Shower
2009 Crazy Loop Mix
Dan Balan
Year Title
2012 Freedom (Part 1)

Videography[edit]

Year Song Project Director Album
2001 "Numai Tu" O-Zone Dmitry Voloshin Number 1
2002 "Despre Tine" O-Zone Dmitry Voloshin DiscO-Zone
2003 "Dragostea Din Tei" O-Zone Dmitry Voloshin DiscO-Zone
2003 "De Ce Plâng Chitarele" O-Zone Dmitry Voloshin DiscO-Zone
2007 "Crazy Loop (Mm-ma-ma)" Crazy Loop Marc Klasfeld The Power of Shower
2008 "Johanna (Shut Up!)" Crazy Loop Marc Klasfeld The Power of Shower
2008 "Despre Tine Cânt (Part 2)" Dan Balan Greg Olive The Power of Shower
2009 "Chica Bomb" Dan Balan Hype Williams Crazy Loop Mix
2010 "Justify Sex" Dan Balan feat Vera Brezhneva Jesse Dylan Freedom (Part 1)
2010 "Лепестками слёз" Dan Balan Serghei Solodki Freedom (Part 1)
2011 "Freedom" Dan Balan Pavel Hudiakov Freedom (Part 1)
2011 "Лишь до утра" Dan Balan Steven ADA Freedom (Part 1)
2012 "Люби" Dan Balan Alan Badoev Freedom (Part 1)
2013 "Lendo Calendo" Dan Balan feat Tany Vander & Brasco Alan Badoev Single

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Year Recipient Category Award Nomination Result
2002 O-Zone MTV Romania Music Awards Best Video "Numai Tu" Won
2003 O-Zone MTV Romania Music Awards Best Song "Despre Tine" Won
O-Zone MTV Romania Music Awards Best Dance "Despre Tine" Won
O-Zone MTV Europe Music Awards Best Romanian Act O-Zone Nominated
2004 O-Zone MTV Romania Music Awards Best Dance "Dragostea din Tei" Won
O-Zone MTV Europe Music Awards Best Romanian Act O-Zone Nominated
2005 O-Zone Echo Awards Single of the year "Dragostea din tei" Won
2008 Crazy Loop MTV Europe Music Awards Best Romanian Act Crazy Loop Nominated
2009 Dan Balan Grammy Awards Best Rap Album "Live Your Life (T.I. song)" Nominated
2010 Dan Balan MTV Europe Music Awards Best Romanian Act Dan Balan Nominated
2011 Dan Balan feat Vera Brezhneva Golden Gramophone Award Golden Gramophone "Лепестками слёз" Won
Dan Balan feat Vera Brezhneva RU TV Awards Best Duo "Лепестками слёз" Nominated
2012 Dan Balan RU TV Awards Sexiest male singer Dan Balan Won
Dan Balan RU TV Awards Best Song "Лишь до утра" Nominated
Dan Balan RU TV Awards Best male artist Dan Balan Nominated
Dan Balan Golden Gramophone Award Golden Gramophone "Лишь до утра" Won
2013 Dan Balan Krasnaya Zvezda Best Song "Лишь до утра" Won
Dan Balan RU TV Awards Best male artist Dan Balan Nominated
Dan Balan Musicbox Awards Best male artist Dan Balan Won
Dan Balan Golden Gramophone Award Golden Gramophone "Люби" Won

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External links[edit]