Dieter Bohlen (German pronunciation: [ˈdiːtɐ ˈboːlən]; born Dieter Günter Bohlen on 7 February 1954) is a German musician, songwriter, record producer, and television personality. Often referred to as the "Pop-Titan" in the German-speaking press, he first achieved fame as a member of pop duo Modern Talking in the 1980s, and has since produced numerous German and international artists. He is also a judge on casting shows Deutschland sucht den Superstar and Das Supertalent, having been present on all seasons of both shows.
Dieter Bohlen in 2013
7 February 1954
|Residence||Tötensen, Lower Saxony|
|Years active||1973–present (singer) |
1978 –present (songwriter and producer)
Life and career
1954–1983: Early life and career beginnings
Dieter Bohlen was born as the eldest son of building contractor Hans Bohlen (born 1928) and his wife Edith (born 1936), and grew up in East Frisia. His maternal grandmother is originally from Königsberg. He has a younger brother named Uwe. The family later moved to Eversten (Oldenburg). In his youth, Bohlen was a member of the Socialist German Workers Youth for a while and shortly of the German Communist Party, though he is not a member of any party nowadays. After getting his Abitur at the Wirtschaftsgymnasium der Berufsbildenden Schulen in Oldenburg-Haarentor, he moved to Göttingen. There, he studied business administration at his parents' request at the Georg-August-Universität, finishing his studies in 1978 with a degree.
Bohlen was still in school when he started writing music. In the late 1970s, he worked as a songwriter at the Hamburg-based label Intersong for numerous schlager singers. In 1978, he founded the short-lived duo Monza with Holger Garbode. Their first single, "Hallo Taxi Nummer 10", written and produced by Tony Hendrik, was Bohlen's first record and was unsuccessful. Monza released a second single, "Heiße Nacht in der City", a German-language cover of Nick Gilder's "Hot Child in the City", which also was unsuccessful. In 1980, he began working for the Berlin-based label Hansa. That same year, he released the solo single in English "Don't Throw My Love Away" under the pseudonym Steve Benson. It was followed in 1981 by two other singles under that name, "Love Takes Time", and "(You're A Devil With) Angel Blue Eyes". None of them reached the top 100, which led to the abandonment of the project in 1981. Soon after, he joined the band Sunday, with which he appeared on the ZDF-Hitparade in early 1982 with the song "Halé, hey Louise". The song was covered by artists such as Ricky King. In 1983, Bohlen wrote the song "Mit 17" for Bernd Clüver, which reached the third place of the German preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest.
1984–present: Successes as a producer
After Bohlen produced six unsuccessful singles in German for schlager singer Thomas Anders from 1982 to 1984, they founded the pop duo Modern Talking. The band topped the German singles chart five times in a row with "You're My Heart, You're My Soul", "You Can Win If You Want", "Cheri, Cheri Lady", "Brother Louie", and "Atlantis Is Calling (S.O.S. For Love)", and were also successful in other European countries as well as in Asia and Africa. In 1987, the band split up and Bohlen founded his solo project Blue System, which he ended ten years later. He also continued writing and producing for other artists, including C. C. Catch (whom he discovered), Sheree (whom he signed when she was fifteen years old), and boy band Touché.
In 1986, Bohlen wrote the title song "Midnight Lady" of Tatort episode Der Tausch, which was performed by former Smokie singer Chris Norman and was major hit in Central Europe, topping several charts. The song appeared on Norman's second solo album Some Hearts Are Diamonds, which was produced by Bohlen. In 1988, he wrote the title song of Tatort episode Moltke, "Silent Water", which he performed himself as Blue System. In 1989, two songs written and produced by him were sent to the Eurovision Song Contest: Nino de Angelo represented Germany with the song "Flieger" and reached place 14, while Thomas Forstner represented Austria with the song "Nur ein Lied" and reached place 5. Also in 1989, Bohlen wrote the soundtrack to the ZDF series Rivalen der Rennbahn, which was certified platinum in Germany that same year and reached the top 5 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
In 1991, Bohlen produced Roy Black's final album Rosenzeit. From 1991 to 1993, he worked with Bonnie Tyler on the albums Bitterblue, Angel Heart, and Silhouette in Red. The collaboration spawned a number of successful singles, such as "Bitterblue", "Against the Wind" (which was used as the title song of Tatort episode Der Fall Schimanski), and "Fools Lullaby". In 1992, another Bohlen composition represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest. Titled "Zusammen geh'n", it was performed by Tony Wegas and reached place 10. In 1998, Modern Talking made a successful comeback, releasing singles such as "You're My Heart, You're My Soul '98, "You Are Not Alone", or Formula One songs "Win the Race" and "Ready for the Victory", but split up again in 2003.
In 2002, Deutschland sucht den Superstar (often shortened as DSDS), the German version of Pop Idol and American Idol, was launched with Bohlen as one of the judges. While the jury around him is regularly modified, he has been present on all seasons. He has produced most of the winners, yielding several hits such as "We Have a Dream". That same year, he published his first book, an autobiography titled Nichts als die Wahrheit, written in collaboration with Bild journalist Katja Kessler, which sold over a million copies in Germany and got a Goldene Feder. A second autobiography written with Kessler, Hinter den Kulissen, was published the next year. It was criticised for its unfairness and earned Bohlen charges pressed by his former bandmate Thomas Anders. Frank Farian published the book Stupid Dieser Bohlen: Die Wahrheit und nichts als die Wahrheit über den Pop-Hochstapler as a response, in which he tried to expose Bohlen as a fraud. Both Nichts als die Wahrheit and Hinter den Kulissen were also released as audiobooks read by Bohlen. In 2004, he won the ECHO for Producer of the Year, while "We Have a Dream" earned the ECHO for Rock/Pop Single of the Year (National).
In March 2006, Dieter: Der Film, a satirical cartoon film based on Nichts als die Wahrheit, premiered. Bohlen did not voice his own role, but voiced the narrator. He wrote and produced the entirety of the film's soundtrack, which includes the previously unreleased Modern Talking song "Shooting Star". Later that year, he produced the song "Be My Boyfriend" for the duo Indiggo, which reached the seventh place of the Romanian preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2006. Also in 2006, he published his third book, Meine Hammer-Sprüche. In 2007, the German instalment of the Got Talent franchise, Das Supertalent, was launched with Bohlen as one of the judges. Similarly to Deutschland sucht den Superstar, the jury around him changes regularly but he has been present on all seasons. In 2008, he published two more books, Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten! Der Weg zum Superstar and Der Bohlenweg: Planieren statt Sanieren. In 2010, he began working with schlager singer Andrea Berg. All of her albums produced by him (Schwerelos, Abenteuer, Atlantis, and Seelenbeben) topped the German and Austrian album charts. He ended their collaboration per email on 17 March 2018. On 3 April 2019, Bohlen and Berg announced they would publish two new songs together.
From 1983 to 1989, Dieter Bohlen was married to Erika Sauerland, whom he had met in 1974 in Göttingen. They have three children: Marc, Marvin, and Marielin. From 1989 to 1996, he was in a relationship with television personality and singer Nadja Abd el Farrag, also known under the stage name Naddel. On 13 May 1996, he married model Verona Feldbusch in Las Vegas, but they separated after four weeks. The divorce was finalised on 27 May 1997. From 1997 to 2001, he was in a relationship with Abd el Farrag again.
From 2001 to 2006, Bohlen lived with model and dancer Estefania Küster. Their son Maurice Cassian was born on 7 July 2005. Since 2006, he has been in a relationship with Fatma Carina Walz, whom he met in Mallorca, where one of the casting events for Deutschland sucht den Superstar was held. They have a daughter named Amelie (born 22 March 2011) and a son named Maximilian (born 7 September 2013).
Bohlen lives in the village of Tötensen near Hamburg. He is left-handed, but was forced to learn how to write with his right hand at grammar school. He plays tennis with his left hand because he started tennis after his school years. According to an article by the Manager Magazine in 2018, Bohlen has a net worth of 250 million Euros, making him one of the thousand richest Germans.
Dieter Bohlen's productions are characterised by simply structured compositions. In the 1980s and 1990s, often working in the studio with Spanish producer Luis Rodríguez, he produced Euro disco and Eurodance songs for Modern Talking, Blue System, and C. C. Catch with falsetto choruses. Those choruses were achieved with the help of session singers, such as Rolf Köhler, Michael Scholz, and Detlef Wiedeke. With Deutschland sucht den Superstar winners, Bohlen tends to focus on pop ballads.
Copyright expert Paul Hertin from Berlin repeatedly claimed that Bohlen "stole" several songs and thus breached copyright. For example, Hertin says that Bohlen used the melody of Babyface's "What If" for the production of Yvonne Catterfeld's "Für dich". Based on Hertin's expert assessment regarding the plagiarism allegations, the Berlin prosecutor's office initiated a preliminary investigation against Bohlen, which was dropped.
Dieter Bohlen has been present on Deutschland sucht den Superstar, the German version of Pop Idol and American Idol, since the show was launched in 2002. He often makes blunt and controversial comments, including insults and wisecracks about contestants and their singing abilities (such as "You sing like a garden gnome on ecstasy" or "Your voice sounds like Kermit getting his arse kicked"), which led to comparisons with Simon Cowell in the German-speaking press. He earns 1.2 million euros per season. He has worked with most of the winners and occasionally with other candidates, such as first season third-placer Daniel Küblböck, yielding several major hits. Since the show was launched in 2007, Bohlen has also been a judge on Das Supertalent, the German instalment of the Got Talent franchise, being the only judge to have been present in every season.
Products and endorsements
Dieter Bohlen has signed numerous advertising deals with companies such as Müller Milch, Makro Markt, S.Oliver, O₂, Wiesenhof, the Deutsche Bahn, and Unilever. He has been a longtime advertising partner of Camp David.
Between 2002 and 2008, Bohlen published five books, ranging from autobiographies to advice books. In 2005, he released a fragrance named Provocation. In 2011, he founded the clothing label "Needs Clothing" along with Felix Werner. In 2013, he released a line of wallpapers through P+S.
|Dieter - Der Film (2006)||13||—||—||—||—|
|Dreamcatcher feat. Mark Medlock (2007)||2||6||14||—||—|
|Das Mega Album! (2019)||4||7||9||46||1|
|You Can Get It feat. Mark Medlock (2007)||1||3||3||20||-|
|Unbelievable feat. Mark Medlock (2007)||4||19||27||-||-|
With Modern Talking
With Blue System
No. 1 hits in Germany
|1985||"You're My Heart, You're My Soul"||Modern Talking|
|"You Can Win If You Want"|
|"Cheri, Cheri Lady"|
|"Midnight Lady"||Chris Norman|
|"Atlantis Is Calling (S.O.S. for Love)"||Modern Talking|
|2003||"We Have a Dream"||DSDS|
|"Take Me Tonight"||Alexander Klaws|
|"Free Like the Wind"|
|"You Drive Me Crazy"||Daniel Küblböck|
|"Für dich"||Yvonne Catterfeld|
|2004||"Du hast mein Herz gebrochen"|
|2007||"Now or Never"||Mark Medlock|
|"You Can Get It"|
|2009||"Anything but Love"||Daniel Schuhmacher|
|2010||"Don't Believe"||Mehrzad Marashi|
|2011||"Call My Name"||Pietro Lombardi|
|2012||"Don't Think About Me"||Luca Hänni|
|2013||"Mein Herz"||Beatrice Egli|
|2019||"Cherry Lady"||Capital Bra|
Artists with Bohlen as producer (selection)
- Peter Alexander
- Thomas Anders
- Lory Bianco
- Roy Black
- Blue System
- Errol Brown
- C. C. Catch
- Yvonne Catterfeld
- Nino de Angelo
- Sarah Engels
- Anna Fantastic
- Millane Fernandez
- Engelbert Humperdink
- Ricky King
- Alexander Klaws
- Daniel Küblböck
- Pietro Lombardi
- Les McKeown
- Al Martino
- Mark Medlock
- Modern Talking
- Chris Norman
- Kevin Reinert
- Daniel Schuhmacher
- Ricky Shane
- Isabel Soares
- Bonnie Tyler
- Wildecker Herzbuben
- Luca Hänni
- Daniele Negroni
- 1985: Goldene Stimmgabel, Most successful composer and producer
- 1998: VIVA Comet – Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2001: Top of the Pops Award, Top Artist Germany
- 2003: German Book Prize, Second according to the public audience
- 2003: Goldene Feder
- 2003: Media Control Award, 25 Jahre Media Control
- 2003: GQ Man of the Year
- 2003: Unsere Besten, position No. 30 as the greatest German ever
- 2003: Bambi, Pop National
- 2004: Echo, best national producer
- 2004: Echo, Single of the year We have a dream
- 2008: Platin-Otto, Lifetime achievement award
By Dieter Bohlen
- Dieter Bohlen, Katja Kessler: Nichts als die Wahrheit, Heyne, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-453-86143-4
- Dieter Bohlen, Katja Kessler: Hinter den Kulissen, Blanvalet, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-89830-698-4
- Dieter Bohlen: Meine Hammer-Sprüche, Heyne, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-453-60045-2
- Dieter Bohlen: Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten! Der Weg zum Superstar, Heyne, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-453-60101-7
- Dieter Bohlen: Der Bohlenweg – Planieren statt Sanieren, Heyne 2008, ISBN 978-3-453-15535-0; also as audio by Random House Audio, spoken by Dieter Bohlen, ISBN 978-3-86604-965-9
- "Bohlen ließ sich einen Vornamen streichen". tz.de (in German). 1 August 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen: So reich ist der Pop-Titan wirklich (English: Dieter Bohlen: [Here's] how rich the Pop-Titan really is)". mz-web.de (in German). 20 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- Countdown G.T.O. discography at Discogs (Dieter Bohlen pseudonym)
- Steve Benson discography at Discogs (Dieter Bohlen pseudonym)
- Ryan Simmons discography at Discogs (Dieter Bohlen pseudonym)
- Joseph Cooley discography at Discogs (Dieter Bohlen pseudonym)
- Howard Houston discography at Discogs (Dieter Bohlen pseudonym)
- Jennifer Blake discography at Discogs (Dieter Bohlen pseudonym)
- "Euro-Disco Music Artists". AllMusic.
- ""Pop-Titan": So funktioniert das Unternehmer-Hirn Dieter Bohlen (English: "Pop-Titan": This is how Dieter Bohlen's entrepreneur brain functions)". welt.de (in German). 26 January 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen profile in Focus". focus.de. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2017. Information using this reference is found on its different pages. (in German)
- "Der Glücks-Anruf kostete Bohlens Mutter 50Cent (English: The lucky call costed 50 cents to Bohlen's mother)". bz-berlin.de (in German). 22 February 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- "Солист "Modern Taking" стал продюсером русской группы. ВИДЕО (English: Modern Talking member became the producer of a Russian band. VIDEO)". aif.ru (in Russian). 11 August 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- ""Menschen bei Maischberger" am 28. November 2006, Thema. "Die Deutschland-Jury"". presseportal.de (in German). Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- "Ronnie - Talk To Russia! (Glasnost-Mix)" at Discogs (list of releases)
- ""Midnight Lady" by Chris Norman". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 22 May 2018. Shows peak positions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. (in German)
- "Sale certifications in Germany". musikindustrie.de (in German). Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Rivalen der Rennbahn soundtrack by Dieter Bohlen". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 22 May 2018. Shows peak positions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. (in German)
- "Modern Talking biography by Sony Music Germany (archived copy)". Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- "Prozess: Dieter Bohlen verliert gegen Thomas Anders". fan-lexikon.de (in German). 17 June 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- "Prozess gegen Bohlen: Thomas Anders verliert Millionen-Klage". spiegel.de (in German). 17 February 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "Modern Talking: Das Geheimnis der Cheri Cheri Lady (English: Modern Talking: The secret of Cheri Cheri Lady)". sueddeutsche.de (in German). 8 December 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "ECHO-Helden 2004: Wir sind Helden räumten insgesamt viermal ab (English: ECHO heroes: Wir sind Helden got four prizes in total)". miz.org (in German). 6 March 2004. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- "Schwerelos by Andrea Berg". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Shows peak positions in Germany, Austria, and other countries. (in German)
- "Abenteuer by Andrea Berg". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Shows peak positions in Germany, Austria, and other countries. (in German)
- "Atlantis by Andrea Berg". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Shows peak positions in Germany, Austria, and other countries. (in German)
- "Seelenbeben by Andrea Berg". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Shows peak positions in Germany, Austria, and other countries. (in German)
- "Schlagerbranche: Dieter Bohlen beendet Zusammenarbeit mit Andrea Berg (English: Schlager industry: Dieter Bohlen ends collaboration with Andrea Berg)". tagesspiegel.de (in German). 17 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
- "Andrea Berg und Dieter Bohlen wieder vereint (English: Andrea Berg and Diter Bohlen reunion)". mdr.de (in German). 3 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- "Dieter Bohlens Sohn will Youtube-Star werden (English: Dieter Bohlen's son wants to become a YouTube star)". mz-web.de (in German). 8 February 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Wilde Ehe in Geismar (English: Wild marriages in Geismar)". hna.de (in German). 16 January 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlens Kinder hassten Naddel zutiefst (English: Dieter Bohlen's children hated Naddel deeply)". blick.ch (in German). 23 March 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Nadja Abd el Farrag tritt gegen Verona Pooth nach (English: Nadja Abd el Farrag goes after Verona Pooth)". stern.de (in German). 12 August 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
- "Zufälliges Treffen: Verona Pooths Sohn holt sich ein Bohlen-Autogramm (English: Incidental meeting: Verona Pooth's son gets a Bohlen autograph)". stern.de (in German). 21 June 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Feldbusch contra Bohlen: Scheidung perfekt (English: Feldbusch against Bohlen: perfect divorce)". rhein-zeitung.de (in German). 28 May 1997. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen: "Carina ist superlieb" (English: Dieter Bohlen: "Carina is super sweet")". focus.de (in German). 31 August 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen: Deutschland hat den Super-Papa (English: Dieter Bohlen: Germany has the super dad)". sueddeutsche.de (in German). 25 March 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen: "Carina sieht schon wieder aus wie vorher" (English: Dieter Bohlen: "Carina already looks like she did before")". schweizer-illustrierte.ch (in German). 24 September 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Weltlinkshändertag: Diese Promis meistern's mit links (English: International Lefthanders Day: These celebrities are doing left)". stuttgarter-zeitung.de (in German). Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Rolf Köhler: Bohlens Sänger ist tot (English: Rolf Köhler: Bohlen's singer is dead)". stern.de (in German). 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- "Berliner Anwalt zeigt Dieter Bohlen an (English: Berlin lawyer brings charges against Dieter Bohlen)". welt.de (in German). 24 May 2004. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- "Plagiatsverfahren gegen Dieter Bohlen eingestellt (English: Plagiarism charges against Dieter Bohlen dropped)". Archived from the original on 26 September 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Simon Cowell ist der Großmeister der Castingshows (English: Simon Cowell is the grand master of casting shows)". welt.de (in German). 2 June 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
- "Mode aus Brandenburg: Camp David macht sich schick (Fashion from Brandenburg: Camp David smartens up)". tagesspiegel.de (by Jahel Mielke) (in German). 6 March 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen: Provocation". sueddeutsche.de (in German). 14 February 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
- "Dieter Bohlen hängt an der Wand (English: Dieter Bohlen hangs on the wall)". journal-frankfurt.de (in German). 10 January 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2018.