Michael Cretu

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Michael Cretu
Birth name Mihai Crețu
Also known as Michael Crétu
Curly M.C.
Born (1957-05-18) 18 May 1957 (age 59)
Bucharest, Romania
  • Musician
  • producer
  • songwriter
  • composer
Years active 1978–present
Labels Virgin
Associated acts
Website www.enigmaspace.com

Michael Cretu (Romanian: Mihai Crețu pronounced [miˈhaj ˈkret͡su]; born 18 May 1957, Bucharest, Romania) is a Romanian–German musician.[1] His most recognized work is with the Enigma project, where he was also known as Curly, MC or Curly M.C. because of his fair curled hair (creț means "curly" in Romanian) during the earlier years of the project.[2]

He has collaborated with many musicians along his career, including his ex-wife Sandra Lauer (Sandra Cretu from marriage in 1988), musician Peter Cornelius, guitarists Manfred Thiers and Jens Gad, Frank Peterson, David Fairstein (Fabrice Guitad), D.J. André Tanneberger (better known as A. T. B.), Peter Ries, Bernt Moehrle, singer Ruth-Ann Boyle, and Andru Donalds, who produced the single Mishale in 1995.[3]

In 2002, Crocodile-Music, Cretu's management company, stated that 100 million Cretu-produced records had been sold worldwide.[4] By the year 2016, Michael Cretu's Enigma project had sold over 70 million studio albums.[5]

He owned A.R.T. Studios, a recording studio facility located at his former home on the Balearic Islands, where he lived with his then wife and their two teenagers, Nikita and Sebastian. He and Sandra divorced in 2007. Cretu currently lives in Ibiza, Spain.[6]


Cretu was born to a Romanian father and an Austrian mother in Bucharest. His uncle, Ion Voicu, a Romanian violin-player and former director of the Bucharest Philarmonic, told Michael's parents that he had talent in music and as such, he studied classical music at Liceul Nr. 2 in Bucharest in 1965 and in Paris, France, in 1968.[7] He later attended the Academy of Music in Frankfurt, Germany, from 1975 to 1978, attaining a degree in music. Cretu was taken on as a keyboard player and producer for Frank Farian.[8]

In the 1980s, Cretu took over production for the pop quartet Hubert Kah and started writing songs with the band leader Hubert Kemmler, achieving a number of hits. Among his other work, Cretu was also one of the producers of Mike Oldfield's 1987 album Islands and the producer of Peter Schilling's 1989 The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime) album.[9]

In 1992 Cretu worked with Peter Cornelius on Return to Innocence, to provide the guitar riffs.[10]

For the third album, Cretu teamed up with Jens Gad to work together on Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi! and launched in 1999 a new trance project Trance Atlantic Air Waves and the album The Energy of Sound.[11]

Another band of Cretu's was called Moti Special ("Cold Days, Hot Nights"), which Cretu produced and performed with in the mid-1980s.[12]

He owned the A.R.T. Studios in Ibiza before moving to a new mansion in the Ibiza hills. His former house, near Sant Antoni de Portmany on the western coast of Ibiza, was a Moroccan-style mansion that was designed and built by Bernd Steber and Gunter Wagner in more than nine years. It also featured a brand new, state-of-the-art recording studio. The Spanish High Court deemed the house to have been built illegally and in infringement of Spanish environmental regulations which led to the €18 million villa being razed in May 2009.[13][14]

Cretu as a solo artist[edit]

Cretu's first solo release was the single Wild River in 1978. His first solo album was released in 1979, entitled Moon, Light & Flowers.[15]

Cretu's second solo album, titled Legionäre, was released in 1983. It featured German-language lyrics and was sung by Michael. It was co-produced and supervised by Harald Steinhauer and mastered by Armand Volker.[16]

Cretu's third solo album was titled Die Chinesische Mauer and was released in 1985. The literal English translation is The Chinese Wall. It had, like its predecessor, German-language lyrics, was sung by Michael and co-produced by Armand Volker and Michael Cretu. This album was also released as a separate album with English-language lyrics and a different track listing under the name The Invisible Man. Several of the tracks on The Invisible Man were edited slightly and, therefore, had different lengths than the German-language versions on Die Chinesische Mauer. This featured the song "Samurai", which became a hit.[17]

The Enigma project[edit]

After Cretu's marriage to Sandra in 1988, he had an idea for a musical new-age dance project under the name of Enigma, presented by Fairstein. Cretu worked with Frank Peterson and David Fairstein to create their ground-breaking first single "Sadeness (Part I)", which became a surprise hit. MCMXC a.D., the album, which was released in 1990, was hugely successful.[18][19]

The second album, The Cross of Changes, was released in 1993. Prior to this, Frank Peterson had disagreements with Cretu and left the project in 1991.[20] Cretu changed Enigma's direction from Gregorian chants to tribal chants for its second album, and this led to the single "Return to Innocence" with Peter Cornelius, which became a worldwide hit.[21]

Cretu was approached by Paramount Pictures to write the soundtrack of the movie Sliver and he came up with another 1993 single "Carly's Song" after the main female character's name.[22]

In 1996 Enigma's third album Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi! was released. Stylistically, it sounded like a combination of the first and second albums. It did not achieve the same level of success of them, but sold over 1 million copies in the United States and received a Gold certificate in the United Kingdom nonetheless.[23][24]

In 1999 Cretu steered the project in another direction by using samples of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana for the fourth album The Screen Behind the Mirror, released in 2000.[25] Andru Donalds and Ruth-Ann Boyle first appeared as features on this Enigma project. Although Jens Gad had been working with Cretu on the earlier albums, this was the first time that he had been given actual credits.[26]

Deciding that the first chapter for Enigma was closed under the Virgin Records label, Cretu releases a set of compilations: Love Sensuality Devotion: The Greatest Hits and Love Sensuality Devotion: The Remix Collection that include credits to ATB.

He continued the Enigma project, and in 2003 he came up with Voyageur album. Familiar sounds of the Shakuhachi flute, tribal, or Gregorian chants were replaced with more commercially-friendly tunes and beat.[27] In March 2006, a new single called "Hello and Welcome" was released in anticipation of another album, A Posteriori.[28]

A Posteriori is the sixth Enigma studio album. It was released on 22 September 2006.[29][30]

Seven Lives Many Faces became the seventh Enigma studio album. It was released on 19 September 2008.[31]

The Fall of a Rebel Angel was released on November 11, 2016. It features the collaboration of many artists.


Solo albums[edit]

Solo singles[edit]

  • 1978 – "Shadows Over My Head"
  • 1978 – "Wild River"
  • 1980 – "Moonlight Flower" - a very big hit in the Philippines
  • 1980 – "Love Me" - a very big hit in the Philippines
  • 1983 – "Total normal"
  • 1983 – "Zeitlose Reise"
  • 1983 – "Der Planet der verlorenen Zeit"
  • 1983 – "Today, Today"
  • 1984 – "Schwarzer Engel"
  • 1985 – "Carte Blanche"
  • 1985 – "Die Chinesische Mauer"
  • 1985 – "Samurai" (German Version)"
  • 1985 – "Samurai (Did You Ever Dream)" (English Version) [#3 Austria, No. 2 Switzerland, No. 4 Sweden, No. 1 Greece, No. 4 Italy, No. 12 Germany]
  • 1985 – "Silver Water"
  • 1986 – "Gambit"
  • 1987 – "School's Out" (Cretu & Thiers)
  • 1987 – "When Love Is The Missing Word" (Cretu & Thiers)
  • 1988 – "Don't Say You Love Me (Let Me Feel It)" (Cretu & Thiers)
  • 1988 – "Captain Right" (Cretu & Thiers)
  • 1992 – "Rettungsringe sterben aus" (Cretu & Peter Cornelius)
  • 1992 – "Nur die Hoffnung nicht"(Cretu & Peter Cornelius)

Collaborations / Productions[edit]


Michael Cretu worked as writer, producer and background vocalist for Sandra's albums:

  • 1985: The Long Play [#12 Germany, No. 8 Norway, No. 2 Sweden, No. 18 Austria, No. 4 Switzerland]
  • 1986: Mirrors [#16 Germany, No. 14 Norway, No. 40 Sweden, No. 13 Switzerland]
  • 1987: Ten on One [#19 Germany, No. 28 Austria, No. 14 Switzerland]
  • 1988: Into a Secret Land [#14 Germany, No. 18 Norway, No. 22 Sweden, No. 13 Austria, No. 9 Switzerland]
  • 1988: Everlasting Love
  • 1990: Paintings in Yellow [#4 Germany No. 30 Sweden, No. 14 Austria, No. 8 Switzerland]
  • 1992: Close to Seven [#7 Germany, No. 20 Norway, No. 27 Sweden, No. 26 Austria, No. 13 Switzerland]
  • 1992: 18 Greatest Hits [#10 Germany, No. 7 France, No. 36 Sweden, No. 27 Switzerland No. 1 Finland]
  • 1995: Fading Shades [#42 Germany, No. 37 Switzerland]
  • 1999: My Favourites [#16 Germany, No. 15 Norway, No. 43 Switzerland]
  • 2002: The Wheel of Time [#8 Germany, No. 63 Austria, No. 68 Switzerland]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MICHAEL CRETU: "Mich kennt keiner"". FOCUS Online. 14 March 1994. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  2. ^ http://www.michaelcretu.com/enigma
  3. ^ https://books.google.com.br/books/about/Enigma_Members.html?id=UseaSQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y
  4. ^ "ENIGMA : Biographie – english Biography / Crocodile-Music Management & Publishing". Crocodile-music.de. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  5. ^ http://www.ew.com/article/2016/08/08/enigma-fall-of-a-rebel-angel
  6. ^ http://artdaily.com/news/30767/18-Million-Euro-House-by-Enigma-s-Michael-Cretu-Torn-Down-by-Bulldozers#.V7nrBvuJpis
  7. ^ (Romanian)"Enigma Michael Creţu: întalnire cu omul invizibil" , Evenimentul Zilei, 14 October 2008
  8. ^ (Romanian)"Enigma Michael Creţu: întalnire cu omul invizibil" , Evenimentul Zilei, 14 October 2008
  9. ^ http://artdaily.com/news/30767/18-Million-Euro-House-by-Enigma-s-Michael-Cretu-Torn-Down-by-Bulldozers#.V7nrBvuJpis
  10. ^ http://www.enigma-music.com/press/cornelius-and-cretu/press-kit
  11. ^ http://surprising-romania.blogspot.com.br/2010/01/michael-cretu.html
  12. ^ http://www.sandranet.com/michael/kern-motispecial.htm
  13. ^ "Ibiza: Pop-Produzent Cretu muss seine Villa abreißen". Der Spiegel. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  14. ^ http://artdaily.com/news/30767/18-Million-Euro-House-by-Enigma-s-Michael-Cretu-Torn-Down-by-Bulldozers#.V7nrBvuJpis
  15. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Michael-Cretu-Moon-Light-Flowers/master/129578
  16. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Michael-Cretu-Legion%C3%A4re/master/129576
  17. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Cretu-Die-Chinesische-Mauer/master/129575
  18. ^ http://www.michaelcretu.com/enigma/mcmxcad
  19. ^ http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/27680/Enigma-MCMXC-a.D./
  20. ^ http://www.mymusicbase.ru/PPB/ppb5/Bio_501.htm
  21. ^ http://www.udiscovermusic.com/rediscover-enigma-2-the-cross-of-changes
  22. ^ http://www.michaelcretu.com/enigma/the_cross_of_changes
  23. ^ http://www.michaelcretu.com/enigma/le_roi_est_mort_vive_le_roi
  24. ^ http://www.udiscovermusic.com/rediscover-le-roi-est-mort-vive-le-roi
  25. ^ http://www.michaelcretu.com/enigma/the_screen_behind_the_mirror
  26. ^ https://books.google.com.br/books/about/Enigma_Members.html?id=UseaSQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y
  27. ^ http://www.michaelcretu.com/biography
  28. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Enigma-Hello-Welcome/release/659296
  29. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060630035542/http://www.crocodile-music.de/enigma/index.php
  30. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/a-posteriori-mw0000770539
  31. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/seven-lives-many-faces-mw0000797354
  32. ^ Moon, Light & Flowers on Discogs.com

External links[edit]