Christina StürmerView In iTunes
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Though Austrian pop star Christina Stürmer's initial claim to fame was coming in second to Michael Tschuggnall on Starmania, a Pop Idol-like televised singing contest, her career eventually eclipsed his with a string of award-winning albums and singles. Stürmer was working in a book store and performing with various bands in the city of Linz before she appeared on Starmania in 2002. And while she didn't win, her popularity grew after the show ended. She released her debut single, "Ich Liebe," in 2003 and teamed up with guitarists Oliver Varga and Hartmut Kamm, bassist Gwenael Damman, and drummer Klaus Perez-Salado as her backing band. Her first album, Freier Fall, topped Austria's charts, and Stürmer was named the country's Shooting Star in late 2003. The following year, the chart success of her single "Vorbei" and the album Soll das Wirklich Alles Sein? in Austria and Germany reflected her growing popularity, which was underscored by the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards she won that year for Best Pop/Rock Artist and Newcomer of the Year. Along with issuing the album Wirklich Alles!, she won more Amadeus Awards in 2005, repeating her Best Pop/Rock Artist win and also earning one for Vorbei, which was named Single of the Year. Stürmer continued to be remarkably popular in Austria and Germany in 2006: once again, she took Amadeus Austrian Music Awards for Best Pop/Rock Artist and Single of the Year, and also won a Goldene Stimmgabel ("Golden Tuning Fork") for Best German Rock/Pop Artist and an Echo Award for Best National Female Artist. She released her fourth album, Lebe Lauter, that year. The singles "Nie Genug" and "Um bei Dir zu Sein/Am Sommertagen” were released from the record. In 2008, she recorded "Fieber" -- the theme for that year's UEFA European Football Championship, which was co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland. In 2009 she released the LP In Dieser Stadt and in 2010 released her ninth studio album, Nahaufnahme, which went platinum in her native country. After a three-year layoff, Stürmer returned in 2013 with the album Ich Hör auf Mein Herz; boosted by the title track, which became a solid hit single in Europe, the album became another major chart success for Stürmer. ~ Heather Phares