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Mehrzad Marashi is a German soul-pop singer who rose to fame as the winner of the television show Deutschland Sucht den Superstar in 2010 and advanced to chart-topping success immediately afterward. Born on September 20, 1980 in Iran, he moved to Hamburg, Germany, at the age of six with his family. Influenced by Xavier Naidoo, Lionel Richie, and Boyz II Men, Marashi initially began his career under the moniker Marasco in association with Warner Music Group. Upon signing to the label in 2006, he released a couple singles, "She's Gone" and "Es Tut Mir Leid," but neither was a hit, and his tenure with Warner consequently came to a quick end. All in all, Marashi spent years trying to break into the music industry as an R&B singer prior to getting his big break on Deutschland Sucht den Superstar. Cast as a contestant on the seventh season of the show, Marashi made his television premier on February 13, 2010, with a version of Naidoo's "Und Wenn ein Lied." He proceeded to gain fans with each passing week of the show, performing songs by Richie ("Hello," "Endless Love"), Kool & the Gang ("Fresh"), and Madcon ("Beggin'"), among others. During the season finale on which he was crowned winner, Marashi premiered his debut single "Don't Believe." Written and produced by Deutschland Sucht den Superstar host Dieter Bohlen, "Don't Believe" was an international smash hit, topping the singles charts in Germany and Austria and reaching number two in Switzerland. The follow-up single "Sweat (A La La La La Long)" with Mark Medlock was another big hit, reaching number two in Germany. Released in association with Sony Music, Marashi's full-length debut, New Life (2010), came next and likewise reached the Top Five with a stylistically diverse batch of songs produced by Bohlen and Volker Neumüller.