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German soul musician Stefan Gwildis was born in Hamburg in October of 1958. Gwildis grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood, his father a tire dealer and his mother a hat maker. Though not musicians themselves, Stefan's parents supported his musical study from an early age. In 1979 he completed his performance studies at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg. He began collaborating with friend Rolf Claussen, and together the two formed the duo Aprillfrisch. Gwildis continued his musical studies via seminars while on the road with his group. Not quite making ends meet as a road musician, Gwildis worked on and off in warehouses, as a truck driver, and seasonally as Santa Claus. In 1984 his luck changed with a role in the popular theatrical production Herrchens Frauchen. A string of successful stage roles followed, and Gwildis' reputation and experience flourished. From 1992 through 1995 Gwildis fronted the band Strombolis, playing guitar and singing, which paved the way for his solo outing. Komm's zu Nix was released in 2000, followed two years later by Wajakla. A renewed interest in soul music throughout Germany coincided with Gwildis' third release, Neues Spiel, his breakthrough record. The album stayed on the charts for 13 weeks, won a series of awards, and brought Gwildis out of the small-club circuit and into the country's largest and most important venues. Released in 2005, Nur Wegen Dir achieved similar success, and 2007's Heut Ist der Tag reached number two on the national charts, a new height for the veteran artist. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez