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Thomas Helmig

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Thomas Helmig is one of Denmark's biggest stars, and his deep love of soul (especially vintage Motown), cemented by a stint in Detroit in the early '80s, has been evident in his music since the beginning. Born in Aarhus in 1964, he played in local bands as a teen before having the chance to be a student in Detroit, where he spent a year and sang with bands around the city. As he'd been performing Motown covers at home, the music wasn't a stretch for him, but it did cement his love of soul and the old Motown style that would remain evident in his own work. His debut album, credited to Thomas Helmig Brothers (the name adopted by his band, Elevatordrengene), appeared in 1985 on the Genlyd label, and was followed by a second a year later, around the same time that Helmig appeared on the "Afrika" charity single. By 1989 he was releasing material under his own name, with the CD Vejen Vaeaek including an AIDS awareness single. In 1990 he became part owner of Genlyd, the label that had issued his own material, and two years later it was sold to giant BMG. Helmig became part of the giant, and his Rhythm album -- the first that he produced himself -- proved an immediate success. Released in 1994, Stupid Man brought him a Danish Grammy. In 1996 he recorded in the U.S. with producer Timothy Christian Riley, and the result was a more contemporary take on soul and R&B, Groovy Day, followed a year later by a compilation of early material. In 2000 a compilation of material from his first 15 years of recording was issued; 2004 brought El Camino, followed in 2006 by the very successful Helmig Herfra. ~ Chris Nickson

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1964 in Denmark

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