MICHAEL CRETU

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Biography

Michael Cretu was born to a Romanian father and a mother of Austrian ancestry. His uncle, Ion Voicu, a famous Romanian violinist and the director of the Bucharest Philharmonic told Michael’s parents that he has talent in music and as such, he studied classical music at Lyceum nr. 2 in Bucharest (1965) and in Paris, France (1968). He later on, he attended the Academy of Music in Frankfurt, Germany from 1975 to 1978, attaining the degree in “Theory of Composition” at the top of his class. Soon after, he realized that classical music was not his biggest passion, and a change in style was imminent. As he said it himself, he started making money on music the day he sold his piano. 1978 was also the year Michael Cretu released his first solo single, titled “Wild River”. It was followed by his first solo album the next year, released and known in English speaking countries as Moon, Light & Flowers. Steadily building a momentum in the music industry, he released further solo albums, first “Legionäre” from 1983 and then “Die Chinesische Mauer” (The Great Wall of China) in 1985. The later two albums both contained German lyrics that were sung by Michael Cretu himself, and while none of them where enormously successful world-wide, they raised his reputation. The early 80s also saw him play the keyboards on tour with the group Arabesque who were particularly successful in Japan. When the group dissolved in 1984, Cretu went on to make music for one of the band members, Sandra Lauer. With many hits during the following years Sandra became quite a star during the 80s having released a few hit singles across the Europe and Asia (“Maria Magdalena”, “In the Heat of the Night”, “Midnight Man”, “Loreen”). Before he started to produce Sandra, he had been taken on as a keyboard player and producer for Frank Farian, the German mastermind behind successful acts of the 1970s and 1980s such as Boney M and Milli Vanilli. 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”, specifically on its sixth track, “The Time Has Come” and the producer of Peter Schilling’s 1989 album “The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)”, specifically on its first track, “The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)”. Another band that Cretu co-found was called Moti Special, a German New Wave band which Cretu produced and performed with in the mid-1980s. After a few top ten hits (“Cold Days, Hot Nights”, “Don’t Be So Shy”) Cretu left the band to pursue his higher calling as a writer, producer and keyboard player to other pop artists.

 

After marrying Sandra Lauer on 7th January 1988, he set up his own studio in Ibiza and working with collaborators Frank Peterson and Fabrice Guitad, brought up the music piece called “Sadeness (Part 1)” under a project name: Enigma. Blending spiritual pop music with Gregorian chants, Virgin Records started distributing the single, which contained only the project’s name and the track’s title – bearing no reference to who was behind it- to a small group of selected DJs. The track soon grew from an underground club-hit into a #1 single in 23 countries, selling millions of copies. With the single’s astounding success, a follow-up, a full-length album titled “MCMXC a.D.” was released in December 1990 and the unique Enigma journey began marking its place in world music history.” (…) The sound of Enigma has been a mixture of all the emotions that we experience during our lives into an audio collage. There is euphoria and joy and despair and triumph and sorrow and on several occasions, each of those emotions comes forth in a single song (…)”. Further years brought Cretu another successful productions selling millions of records worldwide. In 1995 his children, twins named Nikita and Sebastian were born. He owned the first A.R.T. Studios in Ibiza before moving to a new mansion in the Ibiza hills in 1998. His new house, on the western coast of Ibiza, was a Moroccan-style mansion and was designed and built over nine years by Bernd Steber and Gunter Wagner. It also featured a brand new, state-of-the-art recording studio, which saved the original name, from which he hoped to release more albums in the future. A nine years later his house was deemed illegally built and in infringement of Spanish environmental regulations. It began to be demolished by Spanish authorities in May 2009. Michael and Sandra divorced in November 2007, citing “personal and professional differences”. Besides Enigma, one of his production highlights was his collaboration with Jamaican singer Andru Donalds, whom he co-composed, arranged and produced two studio albums that gained a significant attention in Europe (“Snowin’ Under My Skin” from 1999 and “Let’s Talk About It” from 2001).

In 2002, Crocodile-Music, Cretu’s management company, stated that 100 million Cretu-produced records had been sold worldwide, and according to his official website, Enigma project has sold over 70 million albums until now. In November 2016, a unique eight Enigma’s music chapter is to be opened…

 

"Samurai" (1985)
"Schwarzer Engel" (1984)
"Gambit" (1986)