SunStroke Project

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SunStroke Project
Sunstroke Project Red Carpet Kyiv 2017 2.jpg
SunStroke Project at the red carpet ceremony for Eurovision 2017 (Left to right: Sergey Stepanov, Sergei Yalovitsky, Anton Ragoza)
Background information
OriginChişinău, Moldova
GenresElectro house
Years active2007–
LabelsSens Music, Warner Music, Ragoza Music
MembersSergei Yalovitsky
Sergey Stepanov
Past membersAnton Ragoza
Pasha Parfeny
Aleksei Myslitski

SunStroke Project is a Moldovan musical duo composed of Sergei Yalovitsky (vocals) and Sergey Stepanov (saxophonist). They achieved fame for representing Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 together with Olia Tira and also in 2017. The name of the group was chosen by Anton Ragoza whilst working in the army with Sergey Stepanov, where out on the field he got sunstroke.[1]

In November 2010 the producer, Aleksei Myslitsky and some other members (including song authors) left SunStroke Project to create a new band in Moscow called Offbeat Orchestra who have performed and released versions of some of the songs by SunStroke Project.[2][3] On 25 February 2017, SunStroke Project was selected once more to represent Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 with the song "Hey, Mamma!", and finished in third place after qualifying for the final on 9 May.

In Early 2019 the violinist and composer Anton Ragoza announced his departure from the band, which has continued as a duo. Their first single as a duo Boomerang was released in April 2019.[4]


Anton Ragoza was born on 6 January 1986 in Tiraspol, Transnistria. He is the violinist and primary musical composer for the band. Previously he has conducted the orchestra of Chișinău and won a series of prestigious awards in the field of classical music. Anton has a wide experience in performing in bands which play in the modern electronic genre. He identified Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson as musical inspirations.[5]

Sergey Stepanov is the saxophonist. He was born on 3 September 1984 in Tiraspol, Transnistria. He currently lives in Chișinău, Moldova. His musical taste took contours on the music of artists such as David Sanborn and Eric Marienthal; and modern DJs like David Guetta, David Vendetta and Tiësto. He loves jazz though he also likes to experiment in vocal house, pop and R&B. He met Ragoza while in the army, and decided to create the band SunStroke Project.[6] In an interview at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, he identified Russian saxophonist Igor Butman as his musical inspiration.[5]

Sergei Yalovitsky is the vocalist of the band. He previously worked as a singer on cruise lines. He has won various awards for singing in Moldova and Romania.


Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira

2007–2008: "Sunstroke" era: Early pre-vocal releases[edit]

Shortly after the band was founded in 2007, their first (and, as of 2014, only) official album, Don't word more.. was released. The album is very rare, and only a few tracks are currently known to have been a part of it. One track, "Skream", is known to be the predecessor to Scream released a few years later with Myslicky.

2008–2009: Pasha Parfeny era[edit]

From late 2008 to summer 2009, Moldovan vocalist Pasha Parfeny joined the band. Three singles were released during this few-month period. Each were produced by Alex Brashovean of the former Moldovan band O-Zone.[7] They sang for the Eurovision 2009 pre-selection for Moldova, where they took the 3rd place with the hit No Crime. Nelly Ciobanu was elected to represent Moldova at the contest that year.

2010: Eurovision, Myslitsky era[edit]

"Believe" was the first new single to be released by the band with Sergei Yalovitsky as lead vocalist (A reworked In Your Eyes was the first single to be released with Yalovitsky). It was also their original entry to Moldova's national selection for Eurovision 2010 until it was withdrawn (as well as Olia Tira's entry)[8] in favor of "Run Away". SunStroke Project together with Olia Tira represented Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with the song "Run Away". The final of the O melodie pentru Europa 2010 pre-selection took place in Chişinău on 6 March 2010, with the song gaining the maximum 12 points from both the jury and SMS-voting.[9] The song reached 22nd place in the contest which had 39 entries. A collaboration between both artists. Along with DJ Alexei Myslicky, several other singles were produced throughout 2010. He later departed to form Offbeat Orchestra in Russia in late 2010.

2011–present: Touring and yearly singles[edit]

Since 2011, Sunstroke Project has toured extensively and has worked more closely with their longtime label, Sens Music. An entry was made for SunStroke Project and Olia Tira to represent Moldova in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with the single "Superman" but it did not make the next stage of selection. SunStroke Project attempted to represent Moldova in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest entering with two songs: "Lonely" and "Day After Day", the latter with Michael Ra. Both entries qualified[10] to the semi-final from the live audition round. However, as only one song could be chosen per artist, Sunstroke Project chose "Day After Day" to ultimately move forward. After qualifying from the semi-final, they finished third in the national final. SunStroke Project attempted to represent Moldova in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest once again, with the upbeat electro-house song "Hey, Mamma!". The band came in first place after a tight voting procedure, qualifying them to represent Moldova in the Song Contest in May. They reached third place with their performance in the 2017 competition, giving Moldova their best result in the contest. On returning to Moldova, SunStroke Project was awarded the Order of Honour by the President of Moldova Igor Dodon.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details
Don't word more..
  • Released: 2007
  • Label: Ragoza Music
  • Formats: Digital download, CD

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 1
  • Released: 4 December 2015
  • Label: Ragoza Music
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 2
  • Released: 11 December 2015
  • Label: Ragoza Music
  • Formats: Digital download, CD


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"No Crime" 2009 Non-album single
"In Your Eyes" 299 Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 1
"Summer" 215 Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 2
"Run Away"
(with Olia Tira)
2010 7 246 31 Non-album single
"Play with Me" 215 Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 2
"Walking in the Rain" 2011 236 Non-album singles
(featuring Olia Tira)
"Amor" 2014 177
(featuring Deepcentral)
"Not Giving It Up" 2015
"Lonely" 2016
"Maria Juana"
"Dam Dam Dam"
"Hey, Mamma!" 2017 27 49 56
52 70 272 89 18
"Sun Gets Down"
"I Want You"
(featuring Broono)
"Boomerang" 2019
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Album
"Bad Girls"
(Olia Tira single featuring Sunstroke Project)
2011 Non-album singles
"Go On"
(Jucătoru single featuring Sunstroke Project)
"Разорву мечты"[23]
(Mila Kulikova single featuring Sunstroke Project)
(Timebelle featuring Sunstroke Project)

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Album
"Spit" 2007 Non-album singles
"Believe" 2010 Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 1
"Sax U Up" Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 2
"Epic Sax" Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 1
"Listen" Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 2
"Sunshine Day" 2011 Non-album single
"Set My Soul On" 2012 Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 1
"Party" 2013 Don't Touch the Classics, Vol. 2
"Ce bine imi pare"[24]
(featuring Alex Calancea Band)
Non-album single
"Look At Me"
(featuring Olia Tira)
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released.

Other covers[edit]

Title Year
"Rise Up"[25]
(Yves La Rock cover)
(Michael Canitrot cover)

Internet phenomena[edit]

Sergey Stepanov's saxophone solo in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest for the song "Run Away" became famous across the Internet in a meme known as "Epic Sax Guy" or "Saxroll".[26] The remixes of his saxophone solo have millions of hits on YouTube. Later, this song is used more as background music of video gaming(such as Hearthstone and Rainbow Six Siege)"Best moments" videos.[citation needed]

In December 2010 SunStroke Project appeared on Moldovan TV programme Sare şi piper and sang a song titled "Epic Sax", named after the meme.[27]

The phrase "Epic Sax Guys" forms part of the lyrics of the SunStroke Project's single "Superman", when they unsuccessfully attempted to represent Moldova in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

Stepanov himself acknowledged his viral fame playing the Run Away saxophone riff when the group was interviewed during the first semi-finals of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.[28]


  1. ^ Спецпроект (in Russian). Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  2. ^ "SunStroke Project" (in Russian). Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  3. ^ Vinogradov, Aleksandr (15 November 2010). "Алексей Мыслицкий создает новый музыкальный проект в Москве" [Alex Myslitsky creates a new music project in Moscow] (in Russian). Komsomolskaya Pravda. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  4. ^ Currinn, Jonathan (4 April 2019). "Sunstroke Project Have Released Their First Single Since Being A Duo Titled "Boomerang"". CelebMix. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Interview with SunStroke Project & Olia Tira (Moldova)". Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-14. Retrieved 2014-10-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Sunstroke Project | Official Website - About". Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Moldova: First semifinal tonight". BlogILKAR'S LIFE AFTER HELSINKI 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Sun Stroke Project & Olia Tira vor reprezenta Moldova la Eurovision Song Contest 2010!". Unimedia (in Romanian). 6 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  10. ^ Honciuc, Bogdan (17 January 2015). "Moldova: 24 semi-finalists selected after live auditions". Wiwibloggs. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  11. ^ " – Discographie SunStroke Project". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  12. ^ " – Discografie Sunstroke Project". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  13. ^ " – Discographie Sunstroke Project". Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  14. ^ " – Discographie Sunstroke Project". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  15. ^ " – Discografie Sunstroke Project". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  16. ^ " – Discography Sunstroke Project". Hung Medien.
  17. ^ "Search > Sunstroke Project". Tophit.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Canciones — Semana 20: del 12.05.2017 al 18.05.2017" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  19. ^ " – Discography Sunstroke Project". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  20. ^ " – Discographie Sunstroke Project". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés – SNEP (Week 20, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Sverigetopplistan - Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Mila Kulikova feat Sunstroke Project". Разорву мечты. SensMusicChannel. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  24. ^ "Ce bine imi pare". Alex Calancea Band & SunStroke Project. Serghei Orlov. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Yves La Rock - Rise Up [Sunstroke Project Vandalism Remix]". Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  26. ^ Brown, Damon (August 2, 2010). "Is this guy the Web's new rickroll?". CNN. Archived from the original on 2010-08-14. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  27. ^ "Sunstroke Project la Sare şi piper" (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  28. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2017 - First Semi-Final - Live". YouTube. 9 May 2017. Archived from the original on 2018-06-20.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nelly Ciobanu
with "Hora Din Moldova"
Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest
(with Olia Tira)
Succeeded by
Zdob și Zdub
with "So Lucky"
Preceded by
Lidia Isac
with "Falling Stars"
Moldova in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
with "My Lucky Day"