While the music industry is changing almost every day and overseas stars usually dominate the charts, we are also surrounded by a wealth of talented and acclaimed performers in our region. Let’s listen to Eastern European musicians, because they rock!
INNA | Romania
The Romanian singer with a lovely voice is a household name, having enjoyed great success since her debut in 2008. Her debut album Hot blew up the Eastern European music industry in no time, topping the charts across the continent for weeks and even knocking Ke$ha off the top spot on the US Billboard. Her global recognition is evidenced by the fact that her songs are popular with pop/dance music lovers in Japan, Mexico, Argentina, and the US as well.
The queen of dance music has worked with artists such as Pitbull, Flo Rida, J Balvin, and the Sofi Tukker duo, who recently performed in Hungary. Her talent has been recognized with multiple MTV Europe Awards, Romanian Music Awards, and RRA Awards over the years. In 2012 she became the only female European artist to reach 1 billion YouTube plays with her songs. INNA’s official account has now reached more than 4 billion views, which when added to other channels, surpasses 6.1 billion.
Most recently, Sean Paul collaborated on her song Up, which has been listened to by nearly 42 million people on Spotify. She surprised her fans this year with a brand new album, Champagne Problems, as part of a special project. Paul Lester, a reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian, called her ‘one of Romania’s biggest exports’.
Beton.Hofi | Hungary
Fonogram Award-winning Hungarian rapper and songwriter Ádám Schwarcz is a renowned artist of Hungarian new wave hip hop. The boy who grew up on the notorious streets of Józsefváros, Budapest played football at a semi-professional level until the age of 26, but numerous injuries over the years meant the end of his career. So his passion for football was replaced by the world of rap. His songs, published under the name Beton.Hofi, were quickly recognized by the local audience and since winning the rapID talent show, he has been releasing new compositions constantly.
His stage name comes from the name of his slam poetry team with Bence Borsos, which is a reference to Sopianae cigarettes, also known as ‘beton szofi’ (hinting that it is very strong—the Transl.), and their homage to the work of Géza Hofi, a Hungarian comedian and parodist. With his exceptional sound, strong message, and unique visuals in his music videos, he has quickly established himself as one of the most promising talents in Hungary.
“Slam poetry put me on stage with texts I had written, and this experience confirmed that I wanted to perform in my own right, representing myself. I want to die for it,” says Ádám.
Viktor Sheen | Czech Republic
The Kazakhstan-born Czech rapper released his first solo album Jungler in 2017, and two years later his album Černobílej svět became the best-selling original album in the Czech Republic, making him one of the country’s most successful rappers. In 2021, Spotify named him the most-streamed Czech artist of the year.
His new songs also feature Viktor’s mothertongue, Russian, with which he stayed in the top 5 of the Czech album chart for 70 weeks, and periodically led domestic album sales for 22 weeks. After almost three years, Černobílej svět is still one of the best-selling albums. At the end of last year, Sheen released his long-awaited album Píběhy a sny, on which he raps about social media, his successes, his family, changes in his life, and his fans. Following its release, all of his songs were included in the IFPI’s CZ TOP 100 Singles Digital list.
Sanja Vucic | Serbia
The Serbian singer launched her solo career this year after the girl group Hurricane announced their split after 5 years. The trio achieved great success over the years, and they represented their country at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest with their song Loco Loco, with which they eventually finished in 15th place. Their catchy hit became a Balkan favorite after the competition.
Her debut single Omađijan, released on 20 September, topped the Croatian Billboard for two weeks. A new TikTok trend has also started among Serbian youth to the chorus of her song, which might be a promising career launch. Stay tuned for her!
Miszel | Poland
The 26-year-old singer-songwriter started his career with QueQuality, a record label founded by Quebonafide, one of Poland’s best-known rappers. He quickly blew up in the national mainstream market, where his album W stronę światła attracted increasing attention. This year he released two albums that help fans get to know Miszel’s artistic ideas and sensibility.
Cover photo: Áron Kiss