|Todor Toše Proeski|
|Native name||Todor Proeski|
|Also known as||Toše|
|Born||25 January 1981
Prilep, SR Macedonia, SFR Yugoslavia
|Died||16 October 2007
Nova Gradiška, Croatia
|Genres||Macedonian traditional music, classical, Pop|
|Instruments||Keyboard, guitar, piano|
|Labels||Hayat Production (for Bosnia and Herzegovina releases)|
Todor "Toše" Proeski (Macedonian: Тодор "Тоше" Проески [ˈtɔʃɛ ˈprɔɛski] ( listen); 25 January 1981 – 16 October 2007) was a Macedonian multi-genre singer, songwriter and actor. He was popular across the entire Balkan area and was considered a top act of the local Macedonian music scene. He was dubbed "Elvis Presley of the Balkans" by BBC News. He died in a car crash on Zagreb–Lipovac A3 highway, near Nova Gradiška in Croatia at the age of 26.
Proeski was born in Prilep and grew up in Kruševo as the son of an Aromanian family. After his musical talent was discovered at the age of 12, he was chosen to perform at the popular children's song festival Zlatno Slavejče (eng.: Golden Nightingale) in Skopje, performing the song "Јаs i mојоt dеdо" in Aromanian language. This was his first public music performance; however, his successful career began in 1996 when he participated in the teenage music festival Melfest in Prilep.
Following this public exposure, he was awarded for his strong vocal capabilities. This led to his rise to fame when he participated in the music festival Makfest in Štip with the song "Pusti Me" ("Let Me Go") in 1997. His fanbase quickly grew and he continued to make use of festivals, such as SkopjeFest and OhridFest, as a platform for promotion and publicity. Proeski collaborated with one of Macedonia's acclaimed lyricists and composers, Grigor Koprov, to produce some of the greatest hits of his career such as "Usni na Usni" ("Lips over Lips") and "Sonce vo Tvoite Rusi Kosi" ("Sun in Your Golden Hair"). In 1999, he released his debut album, Nekade vo Nokta (Somewhere in the Night), which contained eleven tracks. In the summer of the same year, Proeski performed his first solo concert in Skopje.
In 2000, Proeski participated in the Eurovision pre-selection for Macedonia in SkopjeFest. He sang "Solzi Pravat Zlaten Prsten" ("Tears Make a Golden Ring"), which won the televoting from the public but he finished third overall, behind Karolina Gočeva and the winners XXL. During that period, he began recording the tracks for his second album, Sinot Božji (The Son of God), which was promoted by the end of June 2000. The album brought some great hits, like "Nemir" ("Restless") (a duet with Karolina Gočeva), "Vo Kosi da ti Spijam" ("Sleeping in Your Hair"), "Izlaži me Ušte Ednaš" ("Lie to Me One More Time"), as well as "Iluzija" ("Illusion") (Grand Prix at the festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk) and "Tajno Moja" ("Secret of Mine"). Two songs are composed by Kire Kostov (winning second prize at the festival Sunčane Skale, held in Herceg Novi, now Montenegro).
The Serbian production house BK Sound purchased the rights to release Proeski's latest album in the other former Yugoslav republics, which led to his victory of the Oscar of Popularity in those former republics for the year of 2000, and his sell-out shows in Skopje and Belgrade. Proeski embarked on an Australian tour along with other Macedonian singers in 2001.
Rise to regional stardom
After spending his time in recording studios in Athens, Greece, Proeski released his third album "Ako me Pogledneš vo Oči" ("If You Look into My Eyes") on October 2002 in Macedonian and Serbian. After the release, Proeski went on a tour throughout Macedonia doing intense promotion. He also went to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria for further promotion. Proeski won Beovizija in Belgrade on April 2003, with "Čija Si" ("To Whom Do You Belong?"), a song which became a huge hit in Macedonia and the other former Yugoslav republics. This song was due to represent Serbia and Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 but the EBU stated that too many countries wanted to enter in that year and so some would be forced to withdraw. Serbia and Montenegro (who participated as one country at the time) were one of them.
To improve his singing, Proeski took classes in New York from maestro William Riley, who was also coach to famous tenor, Luciano Pavarotti. When he returned, Proeski held humanitarian concerts throughout Macedonia. He was awarded with the Mother Theresa Humanitarian Award and in 2003 he became a Regional UNICEF Ambassador.
In 2004, MKTV chose Proeski to represent Macedonia at the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest in Istanbul, Turkey, and in February, he performed eight songs, where a jury, televoting, and his own opinion chose the song. The song "Angel Si Ti" ("You're an Angel") was chosen by all three. In April, Proeski released his album "Dan Za Nas" ("A Day For Us"), which featured the eight songs from the Eurovision selection in Macedonian.
In May, Proeski finished 14th with the song "Life", which was the English version of "Angel Si Ti". Prior to the contest he was popularised by reporters due to his tremendous opera singing ability, at his press conferences.
All eight songs were recorded in English, but only the winning song of the national final, "Life," was released. During the TV national final show, after each song was performed, a clip of the song was played in English to show viewers how it would sound if that song won the contest and was performed in English at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 final.
In 2004 Proeski was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and recorded the song "This World" which became the UNICEF anthem. Proeski signed a contract with Dallas Records so his next album could be released in Croatia and Slovenia. To establish himself in these countries, Proeski recorded "Krajnje Vreme" with Slovenian singer, Anja Rupel. In 2005, Toše's fifth album Po Tebe (After You) was released throughout ex-Yugoslavia. Po Tebe, is one of the most successful Balkan albums ever. It topped music charts for months in Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Božilak (Rainbow), was a compilation of 14 selected traditional Macedonian songs arranged by Sasa Nikolovski Gjumar, Ilija Pejovski and Soni Petrovski. The artist was backed up by a symphony orchestra on the album.
His last album Igri Bez Granici (Macedonian title)/'Igra Bez Granica' (Serbo-Croatian title) ("Game Without Borders") was released all over ex-Yugoslavia in August 2007.
Apart from songs in Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, he also recorded one song in Slovene, "Moja" ("Mine") in 2007, and one in Italian, "Aria" ("Air"), with Italian superstar, Gianna Nannini. The list of artists who collaborated with Proeski includes Anja Rupel, Antonija Šola, Bora Čorba, Karolina Gočeva, Esma Redžepova, Gianna Nannini, Goca Tržan, Grigor Koprov, Jeff Beck, Tony Cetinski, Željko Joksimović and other notable musicians. Prior to his death, he was a student in his final year in the solo singing department of the Skopje Music Academy.
Proeski also established himself as a songwriter. He wrote several hits for himself including "Ima Li Dan Za Nas" ("Is There A Day For Us"), "Slušaš li" ("Are You Listening"), "Malečka" ("Little One") and "Polsko Cveḱe" ("Field Flower"). In 2004, Proeski composed "Muza" ("Muse") for Martin Vučić, the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest representative for Macedonia. It became the title track for the young artist's second album. In interviews, Proeski stated that he had written over 100 songs but was waiting for the right moments to record them as they were still in demo form.
Toše's last concert was held on 5 October 2007 for the Primary Education Project for USAID. The concert raised tens of thousands of euros for the primary schools of Macedonia. The concert was attended by over 40,000 people and viewed all over the world.
The night before his death, Proeski gave his final interview to the Macedonian Television Station Kanal 5. He talked about his intention to finish his Musical Academy studies, his search for his soul mate, and his new album in the works.
During the early morning of 16 October 2007, at approximately 6:20 a.m., Proeski died in a car accident on the Zagreb–Lipovac highway near Nova Gradiška, Croatia. He was a passenger along with his manager Ljiljana Petrović in a Volkswagen Touareg driven by Georgij Georgijevski. The Touareg crashed into the back of a truck and then into the median barrier, killing Proeski instantly, crushing the third vertebrae of his neck, although the truck sustained no damage. Proeski was asleep in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash. Of the other two passengers, only the driver suffered serious injuries (head trauma). His longtime girlfriend Andrijana Budimir is an international handball player.
Proeski's body arrived at midnight in Skopje by helicopter of the Macedonian army, and was transported by car to his home town of Kruševo. Grieving citizens gathered to pay their last respects at the airport and also in Macedonia Square. The Embassy of the United States of America, the USAID and the Diplomatic mission of the European Union published official statements on the death of Toše Proeski. 17 October was pronounced a national day of mourning in Macedonia. The three days following his death were pronounced days of mourning in the City of Kruševo.
After his death, the government of the Republic of Macedonia, gave him the title "Honorable citizen of Macedonia"
The government organized an official state funeral for Proeski, which was held 17 October 2007 in his home town of Kruševo, including military honour ceremonies by the Honor Guard Unit of the Macedonian army, such as an honor guard, a military orchestra and an honorary rifle salute. The funeral, which was broadcast by the national Macedonian TV was attended by many domestic and foreign delegations, including the President Branko Crvenkovski, the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, members of the Macedonian Parliament and its President Ljubiša Georgievski and other high-ranking officials, the US and the EU Ambassadors Gillian Milovanovic and Erwan Fouéré and other diplomats, representatives of the Red Cross, the USAID and other organizations, sport clubs etc. Also, the funeral was attended by many notable musicians from Macedonia and other countries, including: Karolina Gočeva, Kaliopi, Vlado Janevski, Lambe Alabakoski, Elena Risteska, Jovan Jovanov, Martin Vučić, Adrian Gaxha, Tijana Dapčević and her sister Tamara Todevska, Aki Rahimovski (the frontman of Parni valjak), Toni Cetinski, Ceca Ražnatović, Željko Joksimović and many others. The religious service was held by the Macedonian Orthodox Church led by the Archbishop Stephen of Ohrid, as Proeski was a declared Orthodox Christian.
Numerous websites, blogs and internet forums are filled with the last messages from his fans and friends. A petition was available on-line for Toše Proeski to be remembered by naming educational facilities, like the local Center for Music Education in Bitola, where he had studied to carry his name. This petition is to promote an annual humanitarian concert, carrying his name "Toše Proeski" for the poor and disabled and those of desperate need of medical attention. A page for condolences can be found at the Kruševo municipality official website.
Since his death, each year on 25 January Mile Stojkoski as a symbol of grief and respect runs a marathon in his wheelchair from Prilep to Proeski's grave in Kruševo. Since 2008 Stojkoski run an additional long distance marathon starting from Kruševo in honor of Toše Proeski. These two notable Macedonians both received the Mother Teresa Award for their humanitarian accomplishments and shared a close friendship.
An online petition was held for a tribute to be paid to Toše Proeski at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. It gathered over 13,900 signings however it was not honoured. Tamara Todevska, singer of the Macedonian Eurovision entry of this year said that their entry was dedicated to a few people including their "angel who is up there watching over us".
A documentary about the work of Toše Proeski was released on 12 February 2009 in cinemas all over Macedonia.
Another concert was held on 24 January 2010, the day before what would have been Toše's 29th birthday.
Immediately after Toše Proeski's death was announced, the citizens of Skopje and people from all around Macedonia, as well as foreigners, started to gather at the Macedonia Square bringing candles, flowers and messages of condolence in his memory. Also many institutions such as schools, universities, sport clubs and business companies joined the spontaneous commemorative campaign. Similar gatherings took place in many other cities around the country, but also around the Balkans, especially in the former Yugoslav countries and the diaspora. A mourning ceremony was organized in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina near Skenderija, where around 2000 people gathered to light candles in memory of Toše Proeski.
- Nekade Vo Nokta (Macedonian language) (1999)
- Sinot Božji (Macedonian language) (2000)
- Ako Me Pogledneš Vo Oči (Macedonian language version) /Ako Me Pogledaš U Oči (Serbian language version) (2002)
- Den Za Nas (Macedonian language version) /Dan Za Nas (Serbo-Croatian language version) (2004)
- Po tebe (Macedonian language version)/Pratim Te (Serbo-Croatian language version) (2005)
- Božilak (Traditional Macedonian folk songs) (2006)
- Igri bez granici (Macedonian language version) /Igra Bez Granica (Serbo-Croatian language version) (2007)
- The Hardest Thing (English version), posthumous release (2009)
- Tose i prijatelji, posthumous release (2010)
- Tose: Poslednji pozdrav, posthumous release (2011)
- S ljubavlju od Toseta , posthumous release (2011)
- The Best Of, posthumous release (1/03/2013)
- Zabranjena Ljubav one episode #1.402 Mladic Bosko (2006)
- Kako Ubiv Svetec Tose (2004)
- Nad Lipom 35 one episode #2.2 Himself (2007)
Singles chart positions
The song "Čija si" (English: "To Whom Do You Belong") is considered to be Toše's greatest hit. "Čija si" received huge chart success and radio airplay bringing Proeski from star to music icon. His chart toppers include:
|1999||"Tajno Moja"||"My Secret"||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||Sinot Božji|
|2003||"Ako Me Pogledaš Vo Oči/Ako Me Pogledaš U Oči"||"If You Look into My Eyes"||1||1||—||1||—||—||—||Ako Me Pogledneš Vo Oči/Ako Me Pogledaš U Oči|
|"Soba Za Taga/Soba Za Tugu"||"Room of Sorrow"||1||1||—||1||—||—||—|
|"Magija/Čini"(feat. Esma Redžepova)||"Spells"||1||1||—||1||—||—||—|
|2004||"Life"||—||1||2||—||—||25||49||—||Den za Nas/Dan za Nas|
|"Čija si"||"To Whom Do You Belong"||1||1||—||1||10||—||—||—|
|2005||"Žao Mi Je"||"I Am Sorry"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Po Tebe/Pratim Te|
|"Po tebe/Pratim te"||"After You/I'm Following You"||1||1||—||1||1||—||—|
|"Koj Li Ti Grize Obrazi/Ko Ti To Grize Obraze"||"Who's Biting Your Cheeks"||1||1||1||—||1||—||—|
|2007||"Srce Nije Kamen"||"The Heart Isn't Made of Stone"||—||—||1||—||3||—||—||Igri Bez Granici/Igra Bez Granica|
|"Volim Osmijeh Tvoj"||"I Love Your Smile"||1||1||1||1||1||—||—|
|"Nikoj Kako Tebe Ne Baknuva/Ubijaš Me Usnama"||"No One Kisses Like You/You Are Killing Me with Your Lips"||1||—||1||—||3||—||—|
|"Veži Me Za Sebe"||"Bind Me to Yourself"||—||—||1||—||4||—||—|
|"Igri Bez Granici/Igra Bez Granica"||"Game Without Borders"||1||1||1||1||1||—||—|
|2008||"The Hardest Thing"||1||1||1||1||1||—||1||The Hardest Thing|
|"My Little One"(feat. his nephew Kristijan)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010||"Jos uvijek sanjam da smo zajedno"||"I Still Dream That We Are Together"||1||1||1||1||1||—||—|
- An em dash (—) indicates that the single did not chart.
- http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:HCa6ICPyNa0J:news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4266774.stm "In pictures Macedonia mourns Tose Proeski – 'Elvis of the Balkans'"
- Staff writer, Macedonia's government declares day of mourning over singer death. FOCUS News Agency. Retrieved on 17 October 2007.
- Biography at Toše Proeski's Official Site
- Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 234.
- Destination Avdela 2012, or back to the future a travelogue, Paul Beza, Fast-Print Publishing, 2013, ISBN 1780356285, p. 38.
- Ѕвездите ќе пеат за „Златно славејче“, Дамјана Ивановска, Време, број 2134, 14.12.2010.
- Тоше Проески – А1 Телевизија
- Tose Proeski Timeline, Legacy & History
- Hrvatska radiotelevizija/Croatian radiotelevision
- Poginuo Toše Proeski, tijelo prebačeno u Makedoniju – Dnevnik.hr
- Casule, Kole.Shocked Macedonians mourn pop star Proeski. Reuters. Retrieved on 17 October 2007.
- Official website of the US embassy in Macedonia
- USAID Macedonia Statement
- Erwan Fouéré, EU Special Representative and Head of the Delegation of the European Commission Statement
- Macedonia will bid last farewell to Tose on Wednesday – Makfax agency, Tuesday, 16.10.2007
- Government of Republic of Macedonia official site
- Toše Proeski's funeral – BBC in Macedonian language (Macedonian)
- http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=97550 Concert in Tribute to Macedonian Pop Icon Unites Balkans
- On.net.mk, Macedonia
- Dnevni Avaz, Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Awards and achievements|
with "Od nas zavisi"
|Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "Make My Day"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toše Proeski.|