Romanian culture is not entirely different from the cultures of its Eastern European neighbors. Somehow, though, only Romanian artists became internationally known and dropped chart-topping hits outside of their own country.
The reason for their success, aside from their talent, is the thriving music business in Romania. Hosting one of the biggest music conferences in the world, dozens of global festivals, and a pile of world-class record labels, Dracula’s homeland is a mecca for visionary producers.
How did it all start?
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that contemporary Romanian pop artists are mastering a bubbling mix of creative influences. Take the richness of the Balkan tradition and add it to post-communism underground to get one of the most impressive flows in new Romanian music – ethno jazz, ethno hip hop, ethno rock, ethno you name it!
Then, naturally, electronic music developed and brought with it a yearning for a more universal sound. Romanian DJs and singers were nothing less than DJs and singers worldwide, so they started throwing killer tracks like bombs.
Furthermore, they teamed up with local songwriters and producers who, in the meantime, have traveled a lot and have built stellar connections. As a consequence, Euro-pop, or as it’s lovingly called in Romania, “popcorn,” started to flourish.
Although the prevailing domestic genre is a dance with elements like accordions and saxophones, that’s not the only recipe for climbing all the way up. Another kind of Romanian witchcraft you’ll hear more about in the future is house and techno music.
And that concludes the bit of history! Here are our picks for the top three musicians to watch in 2022.
She started her career jumping from one music contest to another until, in 2009, she got discovered by two producers in a karaoke bar in Constanta. Shortly after this happy coincidence, Alexandra Stan signed to Maan Records and released her first single, Lollipop (Param Pam Pam).
The next year marked her enormous breakthrough with the launching of Mr. Saxobeat – her biggest hit until today and the reason she’s still the most successful Romanian singer.
The insanely catchy track not just won her the admiration of most European countries but reached all the way to Japan, where it hit top countdown positions. In fact, Alexandra is still Japan’s favorite girl, and one of her largest tours ever was there.
Back to Mr. Saxobeat – after sweeping away all Romanian music prizes, it received the Best European Act MTV award. And the wave of victory didn’t stop there.
The song is still alive, and in 2020 Spotify reported that it had reached 200 million streams, making it the most played track by a Romanian artist on the platform.
Despite improvising with various styles, including pop, dance, NRJ, house, and electro, Alexandra Stan describes her artistic identity as “saxophonic.” Last April, we had the chance to feel this unmistakable style at her Around the World concert, which we partnered with, and it was an unforgettable experience.
A few hit albums followed, and we’re expecting the new one Rainbows any moment now. Meanwhile, Alexandra Stan, as a proper celebrity, was associated with various controversial issues. They didn’t let her astray, and she’s still true to her experimental nature that pushed her towards fruitful collaborations in the past.
This time she paired with the Australian progressive house DJ and producer duo NERVO for her latest dance-pop banger, Come Into My World.
Same as Alexandra Stan, this Romanian pop princess has her own number one signature jam. It’s even become her second name!
Otilia, AKA Billionera, conquered Balkan music charts about seven years ago, but she proved she has a special affinity with the Spanish language and rhythms as well. By the way, besides Spanish and Romanian, she sings in English, Turkish and French!
Otilia is a chameleon when it comes to her music taste, too – euro-pop, Latin, reggaeton, nothing is too bold for her, and she’s willing to try it. Probably, that’s why her tunes became internationally known and heavily remixed.
We also loved them, and not long ago, Otilia joined our Evedo network as an entertainer.
In interviews, Otilia shared that she’s coming from a poor Moldovian family, and she had to work really hard to earn her millions of fans on Shazam, YouTube, and Spotify. She demonstrated her musical gifts at an early age but never stopped hustling.
Even today, she’s a powerhouse counting the blessings of her deserved fame. She released a few beach vibes singles together with her producers Roton Music last summer. Besides, you probably enjoyed her vocals in countless deep house collaboration acts.
Without mentioning Raresh, this mini list of superb Romanian artists would be incomplete. Honestly, he might be the one with the busiest summer among all three.
Raresh is a minimal and tech house Romanian DJ. He has performed at some of the coolest EDM festivals in the world while remaining a beloved reappearing guest DJ at Fabric, London.
Raresh embarked on his journey as a boy listening to hip-hop, pop, and rock, but his fascination with music was too large to fit in a fan’s shoes.
Therefore, he started showing up at popular dance clubs by the Romanian seaside, and very soon, he began djing side by side with veterans like Richie Hawtin, Steve Bug, Ricardo Villalobos, Josh Wink, and many others.
We didn’t know what was so special about Raresh until we saw him playing at not one but two epic festivals this year. And a third one is coming!
First, he visited our lovely airy Festival in the Nature in Bulgaria, and then, in September, Raresh totally hypnotized the crowd of the biggest Romanian festival, Untold.
Raresh’s schedule is pretty packed until the end of the year. If you’re having trouble with deciding where to hear him, we’re here to help.
Sunwaves festival is going on vacation to Zanzibar this November, and Raresh (for a second consecutive time) will rule behind the decks. Check the complete lineup and get your tickets here.
Just because we picked these three artists, it doesn’t mean that’s all! Stay tuned for more music and events updates.