Evolution Of A German Pop Star Into International Superstar6 min read

Nov 30, 2018 | INDUSTRY INSIGHTS, MUSIC

Helene Fischer is one of the biggest names in a music genre that the German’s refer to as “Schlager”. The German Pop Star has ranked ahead of well-known celebrities such as Celine Dion and Britney Spears in Forbes’ list of the highest paid women in music. Yet so few have heard of her?

Background

Born in Krasnojarsk, Russia, Helene and her family moved to Germany at the age of 4. In the German state of Rheinland-Palatinate, Helene had her first experiences with performing when she participated in theatre and musical courses which she took at a school called Wöllstein.

She achieved an acting qualification at the Stage & Musical School Frankfurt and since then she has had the pride of calling herself a state-certified musical performer. It is clear by now that Helene used her tremendously good vocal and dancing talents, paired with her beauty, to achieve success in a genre that the Germans refer to as “Schlager”. This is an extremely flexible term that they often describe as folk music, or labelled by the general public as Euro-pop, or just… pop.

What Sets Her Apart?

Helene, the German Pop Star, can sing, dance, and on stage, she has what the Americans would call “personality”, ”charisma” and a powerful “stage-presence”. Those are the most important prerequisites. And she has excellent management and a product that is woven around her and speaks to a lot of people. Even younger audiences.

Her collection of music is filled with catchy hits that are most often synthesizer driven, along with a slew of affecting ballads that cross over into many genres. She usually sings in German, but also sometimes in Russian. Surprisingly, it was Helene’s mother who sent a demo CD to manager Uwe Kanthak, who allowed her the opportunity to produce her first album, “Von hier bis unendlich”(“From here to infinity”).

On Stage

No one can deny the impact of a top-class live performance when going to see an artist at a concert. Helene’s talent extends all too comfortably into her live performances as she combines the art of carefully executed choreography, outstanding vocals and unique energy that can keep a crowd engaged.

At her concerts, you can expect to see Cirque du Soleil-esque acrobatics that includes her being pulled up out of a jungle gym-like sphere and onto a tether and pole that then rises better than 20 feet above the stage. There, she continues to sing and make gymnastic dance moves while dangling on the grip of a single dancer. These are only some of the risks that are taken by Fischer as she epitomizes everything in the broad sense of entertainment.

 

 

Fischer’s rise to success took quite some time as she decided to go on the “traditional route”. What do we mean by this? She debuted in 2005, and waited diligently and patiently, performing on Schlager TV shows, garnering domestic attention and success. She won awards in the Schlager category at the ECHOs (German Music Awards), subsequently releasing three albums in three years. It was only in 2008 when Helene went on her very first tour.

From “Schlager” Singer to Influential “Popstar”

So when and how did this “evolution” from a typical cliché German Schlager singer to a “popstar” happen?

First, as already mentioned, Fischer has excellent management. Her manager Uwe Kanthak, helped her to not only produce her first content but also reach a huge audience.

Helene Fischer’s rise to fame took a little longer because she decided to take the “traditional route”. What do we mean by this? Helene Fischer already debuted in 2005 and waited diligently and patiently like a typical Schlager singer for the first three years. She was performing at regular Schlager TV shows while garnering domestic success that brought her awards in the “Schlager category”. After releasing three albums in the next three years, it was only in 2008 when she went on her own very first tour.

At this point in time Fischer was making a comfortable living and in 2011 a major turning point in her career came about. What did this turning point mean for the German singer? It was the start of the production for the “Helene Fischer Show” that would be broadcasted on TV. The management of Helene Fischer partnered with a TV production company located near to Munich, which had lots of expertise in producing diverse TV and music shows.

The show concept was simple: Helene Fischer is the main performer in an evening filled with diverse guests, performances and stories. Not only was she joined by singers such as David GarrettMichael BoltonTom JonesMax RaabeTake ThatUdo JürgensOlly MursAndrea BergBryan AdamsUnheilig and Queen, but also acrobats, artists and other talents that were invited to create diverse performances. Viewers loved this fresh take on making Schlager or German pop music more eye-catching and performance-driven. It came as no surprise that the “Helene Fischer Show” became an instant hit that has been airing every year close to the Christmas period, attracting millions of viewers.

By now the “Helene Fischer Show” resembles her Stadium tours, which include Cirques-du-Soleil artists performing breathtaking and dangerous advanced flying numbers. This show has prepared and trained Helene Fischer to be able to perform in the manner she does today, filling up huge stadiums and attracting people from all over. This type of growth has never been seen in the world of Schlager as we know it.

In 2013, Helene Fischer released her album “Atemlos”, which included the megahit “Atemlos Durch die Nacht” meaning “Breathless through the night”. The content of this specific song perfectly symbolized the mood of the German population during the 2014 World Cup in Germany, becoming more and more “breathless” by advancing through each round. The song became the unofficial anthem for that summer and Helene Fischer was invited to sing at the winner’s ceremony in front of the Berlin Brandenburger Tor. Millions of people witnessed this happen, either on their television screens at home or live at Brandenburger Tor. This led Fischer into reaching her first ever 1stplace in the German Single Charts, showing that she now had reached the attention of Germany entirely.

The song “Atemlos Durch die Nacht” holds the record for the most downloaded German pop song in history. It took Fischer more than 9 years to achieve this feat and the rest is history. In the following four years, she acquired more revenues than in the previous nine years combined

From Russia To Riches

Helene has been quoted saying that: “I have no ambition to conquer the English Market,” even though she sits just behind Rihanna on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid woman in music. Helene has sold more than 10 million albums to date and won seventeen ECHOs, seven Goldene Henne awards, three Bambis and two Golden Cameras – a record in each category. She has put the music back in the charts, becoming a German version of Taylor Swift or Shania Twain.

The German singer has an estimated net worth of $185 million. She owes her fortune to smart stock investments, substantial property holdings, lucrative endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics. She also has a few other business ventures which contribute to her astounding success. Helene Fischer is one of the highest paid women in music.

In a Nutshell

As you may have realized, it was an array of seemingly almost lucky incidents and factors that over a long course of time (almost 10 years) led her to rise into the Olympus of the biggest popstars worldwide:

  • Her multi-talent education at the Stage School of Musical & Arts
  • Her mother sending tapes to record companies but being spotted by a capable manager
  • Joining forces with TV production/mass media and producing own original content
  • Creating the team and infrastructure to create an immersive, performance-driven show
  • Preparation meeting luck at the FIFA tournament to become the (Un-)official anthem for a big event
  • Being prepared to run huge Stadium tours by having the previous experience with large-scale TV shows

At BLACK ONE we argue that this could have been done, not only faster but also with much more structure and foresight by crafting many of these elements, factors and best-practices into the architecture and roadmap that is surrounding an artist and the management. This allows for luck and chance to be eradicated, which translates into an artist’s career being accelerated in order to create more notable, influential and legendary artists.

At an integrated entertainment company like BLACK ONE, we provide these factors naturally to talent from an early age in order for them to effectively and efficiently navigate their way to the top

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