Who is Stromae?
Paul Van Haver, who is more commonly known by his stage name Stromae, is a Belgian musician, rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born in Brussels, he began his career at the age of 18, with a rap group named ‘Suspicion’. Later, while studying at the film school of Brussels, he decided to release his debut EP. After signing a 4-year record deal with ‘Because Music’ and ‘Kilomaitre’, he released his debut album ‘Cheese’. It did well commercially, topping the Belgian Albums Chart, and standing at the sixth position on the French Albums Chart. His second album ‘Racine carree’ was an even greater success. It peaked at the first position on the French Albums chart as well as the US World Albums. It was also praised by critics. Stromae has sold over 8.5 million records worldwide till date. He has been nominated for five UK Music Video Awards and is the winner of several other awards, such as the NRJ Music Award and the MTV Europe Music Award.
In 2001, he began his career with the stage name Opmaesatro, later changing it to Stromae. He founded a rap group later known as ‘Suspicion’ along with rapper J.E.D.I. They produced a song and music video titled ‘Faut qu't'arretes le rap’. He also worked for some time in the hospitality industry.
Later, while studying at the film school of Brussels, he decided to focus fully on his musical career. He soon released his debut EP ‘Juste un cerveau un flow, un fond et un mic’. For some time, he also worked as a trainee at the music radio station NRJ located in Brussels. His talent earned him the appreciation of the music manager Vincent Verbelen. His first single ‘Alors on danse’ was aired for the first time on NRJ and was met with a good response from the listeners
After being signed by Vertigo Records, he released his debut album ‘Cheese’ in 2010. It included the hit singles ‘Peace of Violence’, ‘Alors on danse’, ‘Silence’ and ‘House’llelujah’. The album stood at the sixth position on the French Albums Chart and topped the Belgian Albums Chart. It also entered the charts in other countries, such as France, Germany, Canada, and Greece. It won the award for Best Dance Album at the Victoires de la musique, an annual French award ceremony. He later worked with Kanye West and Gilbere Forte in a remix of his hit single ‘Alors on Danse’.
His second album ‘Racine carree’ (2013) was an even greater success. It explored themes, such as alienation from social networks, relationship issues, cigarettes and lung cancer, AIDS and absent father figures. With hit singles such as ‘Papaoutai’ and ‘Batard’, the album was a major hit and topped several charts, including four in Belgium alone. It also peaked on the Dutch Albums Chart and the US World Albums Chart. It was followed by his video album ‘Racine carree Live’ which was released in December 2015. It also topped several charts.
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Paul Van Haver was born in Brussels, Belgium on 12th March 1985. His mother is Belgian while his father was Rwandan. As his father died during the Rwandan Genocide, he and his siblings were raised by his mother. He attended a Roman Catholic Jesuit school. He was not very good in academics, which is why he decided to pursue a career in music. His music is heavily inspired by Belgian New Beat music and Congolese music.
He has been married to Coralie Barbier since 2015. They got married in a private ceremony held in Mechelen, Belgium on 12th December.