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Haddaway performing in 2019
Haddaway performing in 2019
Background information
Birth nameNestor Alexander Haddaway
Born (1965-01-09) 9 January 1965 (age 59)
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
OriginCologne, Germany[1]
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • trumpet
Years active1987–present

Nestor Alexander Haddaway (born 9 January 1965) is a Trinidadian-born German singer[1][2] best known for his 1993 hit single "What Is Love", which reached number 1 in 13 countries.[3]

Early life[edit]

Haddaway was born in Trinidad and Tobago. His mother was a nurse and his father was a marine biologist.[4] His parents separated in the early 1970s and Haddaway first lived with his father in Europe, then with his mother in America. He was raised in Chicago and moved to the Washington, DC metropolitan area at the age of 9.[4] Listening to Louis Armstrong encouraged Haddaway to learn how to play trumpet at the age of 14.[5] He attended Meade Senior High School in Fort Meade, Maryland, where he was a member of the marching band,[6] which eventually resulted in him forming his first group, Chances.[5] In 1987, Haddaway enrolled in medical school, but dropped out due to lack of excitement[4] and moved to Cologne, West Germany, where he mostly worked in bars.[5] Later, he formed his own company called Energy, which was involved in organizing fashion shows and photo shoots.[5]


Logotype used by Haddaway throughout his career.

In 1992, Haddaway was signed by German label Coconut Records. His debut single, "What Is Love", rapidly became popular in Europe, reaching number 2 in Germany and the United Kingdom.[2] In Germany, the single sold 900,000 copies.[2] In the United Kingdom, it received a music recording certification of Gold for shipment of 400,000 units.[7] It later reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100[8] and was certified Gold for shipments of 500,000 units.[2] By the beginning of 1994, worldwide sales of "What Is Love" reached 2.6 million.[2]

His second single, "Life", reached number 2 in Germany, number 6 in the United Kingdom, and number 41 in the US, and its worldwide sales reached 1.5 million by 1994.[2] The follow-up singles "I Miss You" and "Rock My Heart" also reached the Top 10 in Europe and established him as a successful Eurodance artist. His first LP, The Album (also known as Haddaway in the US), was a multi-million seller which reached Platinum status in Germany for shipments of 500,000,[9] and Gold in the UK and in France for shipments of 100,000.[7][10]

In 1995, he released his second album, The Drive, which included the UK top 20 hit "Fly Away", as well as "Catch a Fire" and "Lover Be Thy Name". "What Is Love" enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as the theme music for the Butabi brothers (Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan) on Saturday Night Live[11] and the 1998 film A Night at the Roxbury.[12]

The albums Let's Do It Now (1998) and My Face (2001; re-released as Love Makes) all failed to chart.

Haddaway appeared on the television show Comeback – Die große Chance in Germany in 2004. He appeared on the UK version of Hit Me, Baby, One More Time in 2005 and subsequently appeared on the U.S. version. This exposure led to him scoring a moderate chart hit in Germany with the ballad "Spaceman" from his next album, Pop Splits.

In 2008, "What Is Love" was featured in a commercial for Diet Pepsi MAX that aired during Super Bowl XLII which parodied the leitmotif and included several stars including LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, and Busta Rhymes, but Haddaway himself did not appear in the ad.[13]

In 2008, Haddaway teamed up with Eurodance star Dr. Alban for the single "I Love the 90's".[14] In 2009, "What Is Love" re-entered charts after German DJ Klaas remixed it. The track resurfaced again in 2010 when it sampled heavily in Eminem's single "No Love" featuring Lil Wayne. In 2012, Haddaway released the single "Up and Up" with the Mad Stuntman, which was a top 20 dance hit in the US.[12]

In 2011, he said that most of his performances are in "the east", in places such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, or Siberia.[15]

In 2016, he announced plans to star in Neverending Dream, a film about Eurodance. Despite launching a fundraiser on Indiegogo, the film was not released.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Haddaway lives in Kitzbühel, Austria, and also has a home in Cologne, Germany.[15]

Since 2019, he has been a player and sponsor of the baseball team Kufstein Wolfins.[17] The team won the regional championships in 2019 and 2020.[18]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
The Album 5 73 12 17 16 5 3 2 9 111
The Drive
  • Release date: 26 June 1995
  • Label: Coconut
  • Formats: LP, CD, cassette
32 27 18 54 10
Let's Do It Now
  • Release date: 28 December 1998
  • Label: Coconut
  • Formats: CD
My Face
(re-released as Love Makes)
  • Release date: 3 September 2001 / 2 July 2002
  • Label: Terzetto
  • Formats: CD
Pop Splits

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Details
All the Best: His Greatest Hits
  • Release date: 10 April, 1999
  • Label: BMG
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Best of Haddaway: What Is Love
  • Release date: 5 January 2004
  • Label: BMG Special Products
  • Formats: CD, music download


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1993 "What Is Love" 2 12 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 11 The Album / Haddaway
"Life" 2 34 2 5 3 3 1 2 6 41
"I Miss You" 18 44 11 16 13 21 36 17 9
1994 "Rock My Heart" 10 83 12 11 9 12 17 10 9
"Stir It Up"
1995 "Fly Away" 25 16 23 28 9 14 9 20 The Drive
"Catch a Fire" 38 30 17 20 39
"Lover Be Thy Name" 65
1997 "What About Me" 24 Let's Do It Now
2000 "Who Do You Love" 93
"You're Taking My Heart"
2001 "Deep" My Face / Love Makes
2002 "Love Makes" 81
2003 "What Is Love Reloaded" 51 49 100 92
2005 "Spaceman" 67 Pop Splits
2007 "Follow Me"
2008 "I Love the 90's" (with Dr. Alban)
2009 "What Is Love 2k9" (with Klaas) 60 37 5 49
2010 "You Gave Me Love"
2012 "Up and Up" (with The Mad Stuntman) [A]
2020 "I Wanna Be for You" N/A
2021 "And Now" Day After Day[40]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


  1. ^ "Up and Up" reached #20 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart.[12]


  1. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Haddaway Biography". AllMusic.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Weinert, Ellie (26 March 1994). Casebook: Haddaway. Billboard.
  3. ^ Beigelman, Victor (29 December 2015). "Haddaway's "What Is Love" is the one-hit wonder that keeps hitting home". The A.V. Club.
  4. ^ a b c HUNT, DENNIS (13 March 1994). "HADDAWAY : Singer Won't Stay Long in Dance-Music Genre". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ a b c d "HADDAWAY". yme-entertainment.com.
  6. ^ Kim, Kristen Yoonsoo (20 September 2012). "One-Hit Wondering - Haddaway". Vice.
  7. ^ a b c d "BRIT Certified". British Phonographic Industry.
  8. ^ "Haddaway". Billboard.
  9. ^ a b c d "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Haddaway)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  10. ^ a b "French album certifications – Haddaway" (in French). InfoDisc. Select HADDAWAY and click OK. 
  11. ^ "This legendary SNL skit with Jim Carrey redefines the question "What Is Love?"". Rare. 21 February 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Mapes, Jillian (12 February 2015). "We Asked Haddaway, "What Is Love?" Here's What He Said". Flavorwire.
  13. ^ Donahue, Ann (3 February 2008). "Super Bowl Wrap: Jackson, Petty, Sparks And More". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Dr. Alban / Haddaway: I Love the 90's". Allmusic.
  15. ^ a b ""What is Love"-Sänger Haddaway trauert um kölsche "Schoko-Clique"" ["What is Love" singer Haddaway mourns the Cologne "chocolate clique"]. express.de (in German). 21 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Freeman, Parker (13 February 2016). "90s icon Haddaway is starring in a film about Eurodance". Fact.
  17. ^ "Team 2023 - Base und Softballverein Wolferins".
  18. ^ "Pressespiegel – Base und Softballverein Wolfins".
  19. ^ a b "Offizielle Deutsche Charts: Haddaway". GfK Entertainment (in German).
  20. ^ a b Australian (ARIA) peak chart positions:
  21. ^ a b "Discographie Haddaway" (in German). Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "finnishcharts.com – Haddaway". Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste" (in French). infodisc.fr.
  24. ^ "Discografie Haddaway" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Discography Haddaway". Hung Medien.
  26. ^ a b c "Discography Haddaway". Hung Medien.
  27. ^ a b "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community" (in German). Hung Medien.
  28. ^ a b "Official Charts: Haddaway". The Official UK Charts Company.
  29. ^ "Haddaway Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  30. ^ a b c "IFPI Austria:Gold und Platin". IFPI Austria.
  31. ^ "Tilastot: Haddaway". Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  32. ^ a b "Statistics from the music industry".
  33. ^ "Hitparade.ch: Suche nach: Haddaway". Swiss Hitparade.
  34. ^ "Discographie Haddaway" (in French). Hung Medien.
  35. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irish Recorded Music Association.
  36. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40: Haddaway". Dutch Top 40.
  37. ^ "Haddaway Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard.
  38. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mount Martha, Victoria: Moonlight Publishing.
  39. ^ "RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America: Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America.
  40. ^ Haddaway - And Now, retrieved 29 July 2021

External links[edit]