Dan Bălan, written Dan Balan for marketing purposes in Western markets (born February 6, 1979) is a Moldovan singer, songwriter, and producer and musician. Born in Chișinău, Balan 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 the 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 hit-singles "Chica Bomb", "Justify Sex" and "Freedom".
In November 2009 acting President of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu, awarded Dan Bălan honorific title of "Master in Art" for successes in creative activity, contributions to propagation of musical art and high performing artistry.
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, and Ludmila Bălan, a popular TV presenter. He has a sister, TV presenter Sanda Bălan (born 1984). Dan Bălan's grandfather on maternal line, Boris Vasiliev, in childhood was deported in Siberia.
He was gifted his first instrument, a second-hand accordion, at age 11 and began pursuing music at a young age. Dan 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.
1996-1998: Metal band Inferialis:
Inferialis held its first concert in 1996 at in the concert hall of one of Chisinău's factories. Balan's entire family attended and were so impressed that his parents bought him a brand new - and very expensive - synthesizer. He spent two years promoting and playing with Inferialis around the underground music scene before deciding he wanted to move on to more commercial-sounding music. Dan had never considered himself a heavy metal musician and instead identified as a producer with an interest in working with varying musical styles. He began experimenting and exploring a new, commercial pop sound, and recorded and released his first solo song, "De la mine," in 1998.
In 1999, Balan formed O-Zone, a new musical project, with Petru Jelihovschi, former vocalist of Inferialis. They released their first album "Dar unde esti?" later that year. Seven of the album's ten songs reached No. 1 on the charts of the main radio stations in Moldova.
At the same time, Balan became a producer of a new children's TV show called "Tanti Ludmila Show," on which his mother worked as the presenter. When the show needed a title song, Balan offered up a track he'd written when he was younger. Jelihovschi left the band shortly after to take up his own career in television. Dan hoped to continue O-Zone without him and announced auditions to select new band members for the group. He auditioned numerous singers, but had trouble finding one who fit into his concept for the music. Finally, Arsenie Todiraş, who Dan met through his vocal coach, landed the gig. The second new member was Radu Sîrbu. Radu heard about the casting after they had closed, but he persevered and called Dan to ask to audition. Dan added Radu Sîrbu to O-Zone, rounding out the newly formed version of the band.
Dan Balan wrote and recorded O-Zone's second album, "Number 1," throughout 2001. Four Romanian record labels offered the band a deal and they elected to release it with Cat Music in 2002. The album failed to become an instant success, much to Dan's disappointment. But despite his initial concerns, O-Zone won "Best Music Video" 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 Dan's goal of working in styles of music, which were completely different to those dictating the Romanian music industry at that time. The song became a phenomenon. It was a massive hit and reached No. 1 on the country's Romania Airplay Top 100, where it stayed for 17 consecutive weeks.
In 2003, O-Zone won two more MTV Romania Music Awards, for "Best Song" and "Best Dance." The same year, the band was nominated for "Best Romanian Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
O-Zone achieved worldwide success in 2003 with their song "Dragostea Din Tei" (also known as "Numa Numa song"). The single, written and produced by Dan, reached the No. 1 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. It became the bestselling track in Europe and Japan in 2004 and 2005. The track was sung by more than 200 artists in 14 languages. "Dragostea Din Tei" is one of the best-selling singles in the entire history of world music. O-Zone won "Single of the Year" for "Dragostea din Tei" in 2005 in Berlin at the Echo Awards, Germany's most prestigious music awards. The song was the beginning of so-called "Ozonomania" for the band.
In 2004, O-Zone won again for "Best Dance" at MTV Romania Music Awards and, for the second year in a row, they were nominated for "Best Romanian Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Later that year, O-Zone unveiled their third album, "DiscO-Zone," which became the group's best-selling release, going gold and platinum in various countries and selling more than 3.5 million copies. By the end of the year, it was the best-selling album in Japan, and one best-selling albums in Europe and Latin America. The album spent a total of 188 weeks on the charts worldwide. Two songs from the album, Two singles, "Dragostea Din Tei" and "Despre Tine," reached the top spot in several countries, remaining on the charts for 350 weeks.
By late 2004, they O-Zone released another single De ce plang chitarele, a cover by the 70's Moldovan band "Noroc".
O-Zone announced their breakup in 2005, right at the peak of their fame and popularity. The group's final concert was held in September 2005 at Romania's "Cerbul de aur" Festival.
After O-Zone's break-up, Dan pulled together a new group of musicians and began working on new music. He moved to Los Angeles in early 2006 to record at legendary studio Ocean Way. There he recorded and co-produced his first solo rock album with Jack Joseph Puig, a producer known for his work with The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, No Doubt and Eric Clapton. The album was not released due to various circumstances.
Balan returned from the U.S. in early 2007 and began working on a new experimental musical project. The songs were a deviation from his prior material. Dan performed the tracks 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." Balan officially launched Crazy Loop in October 2007 with new single "Crazy Loop (Mm Ma Ma)," which landed on the charts in Germany, Austria, Poland and Romania, as well as on European chart Euro Hot 200.
Crazy Loop's debut album, The Power of Shower was released on December 2, 2007, and included some of the songs Balan had created for his unreleased album in LA the previous year. The album's second single, "Johanna, Shut Up!," dropped in the summer of 2008 along with a music video directed and shot in Los Angeles by Marc Klasfeld, who had previously worked with artists like Bon Jovi, Avril Lavigne and Jay-Z. The single was the final official track released under the name Crazy Loop. In 2008 Crazy Loop was nominated for "Best Romanian Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
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.
In February 2009, Dan 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 hit "Live Your Life" The song stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks following its release, jumping from No. 80 to No. 1 in just one week. "Live Your Life" was certified 4x Platinum, with 4,532,000 copies sold in the U.S.
Later in 2009, Dan 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 stage in artist's solo career.
Chica Bomb 2010-2014:
Dan 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, Denmark, Austria, Romania, Russia, Greece, and the U.K., where it reached No. 7 on the U.K. Dance Chart. The track earned glowing reviews from music critics around the world. 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." Dan tapped iconic director Hype Williams, who has worked with Jay-Z, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, to direct the video for "Chica Bomb."
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.
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. Other special guests at the awards included Anastacia and La Toya Jackson, who received an award in memory of Michael Jackson "for contributions to the world music industry."
Balan unveiled his next single, "Justify Sex" on July 3, 2010 at the Europa Plus Live festival in Moscow. It reached No. 1 on the Russian charts, where it remained for 43 weeks. A video for the song was directed by Jesse Dylan, son of the legendary musician Bob Dylan, who had previously directed such films as "American Wedding," "Kicking and Screaming" and "How High." Dylan shot the video in Los Angeles and based its concept around the movie "Friday the 13th."
Лепестками Слёз (Lepestkami slez):
Following the success of two consecutive singles reaching No. 1 on the charts, Dan 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 Russian pop diva Vera Brezhneva, who he'd met in New York. The song, Balan's first in Russian, was released on October 29, 2010 and became his third consecutive No. 1 single in Russia. 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. The song was nominated for "Best Duo" at the awards for Russian music channel "RU.TV," held in Moscow on October 1, 2011. Dan also 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.
On November 7, 2010, the artist was nominated for "Best Romanian Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards for the fourth time.
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 No. 2 on the charts. In Romania, the single went to No. 4 on the Romanian Top 100 in 2011. The song remained on the charts for a total of 49 weeks. The video for the song was directed by acclaimed Russian music video producer Pavel Hudyakov.
Лишь до утра (Lish do utra):
Dan 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. Balan explained that when the idea for the song came to him he knew that it would reveal itself best in Russian. The single reached No. 1 on the Russian digital sales chart. Dan wrote the concept for the song's music video himself and enlisted French director Steven Ada to bring it to life. Dan 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 the female role played by Romanian top-model Ioanu Raicu. The video premiered on October 25, 2011.
In April 2012, Balan released another Russian single, pop-rock song "Lyubi." The song reached No. 1 on the Top Hit Weekly Audience Choice, No. 13 on the Russian chart and No. 2 on the Ukrainian chart. The music video was shot by director Alan Badoev, famous for his work with top Russian and international stars. Russian theatre and film actress Ekaterina Vilkova, known for her roles in the films "Black Lightning (2009 film)" "Stilyagi" and "Yolki".
On June 1, 2012, Dan was nominated for "Best Male Singer" by the music channel Muz-TV.
On September 29, 2012, Balan 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, Balan won a Golden Gramophone award for the second year in a row for "Lish do utra". Dan was also awarded the Krasnaya Zvezda award in nomination "Best Songs of the Year" for his single, which was one of the Top 20 most popular songs of 2012 in Russia.
Album Freedom (Part 1):
Dan Balan unveiled a new album, "Freedom (Part 1)," on November 29, 2012. The album was recorded in several studios in the U.S., the U.K., Italy and Romania, and included well-known hits "Chica Bomb," "Justify Sex," "Lepestkami slyoz" and "Freedom". The album was launched in the "ARENA Moscow" concert hall in Moscow as part of a big solo concert. "Freedom (Part 1)" quickly became a best-seller in Russia and was certified gold.
In May 2013, he released another foreign language single, "Lendo Calendo." The track featured young solo artist Tany Vander and American rapper Brasco. Balan sang his part in Spanish, which he had studied for long time in Barcelona. The song topped the iTunes Chart and reached No.1 in Russia and also peaked the charts in Romania and the countries of the CIS. The music video was directed by Alan Badoev and dropped on July 9, 2013.
Throughout that year, Balan continued to collect awards and acclaim for his music. On May 25, 2013, Balan was nominated for "Best Singer" at the annual Russian music awards RU.TV. On November 19, 2013, Balan won "Best Singer" at the Russian music industry awards ceremony "Real Musicbox." On November 30, 2013, Balan received his third Golden Gramophone award for the song "Lyubi"
In January 2014, Balan began recording a new studio album in London in the legendary 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, who previously worked with Nelly Furtado, Robin Thicke, Kylie Minogue, Blue and Sugarbabes, and percussionist Andy Duncan, who is well known for his work with Robbie Williams, David Bowie, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones and Kylie Minogue. Chris Elliott, who has written orchestral parts for albums by Adele, Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse and One Direction, worked on the arrangement for the symphony orchestra.
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.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license