Thank you for visiting my web site. It doesn’t seem possible to me but I started performing in 1996. My dream is to sing to the world. My dream is the force that drives me forward and I love music so that makes it easier. Every once in a while I think back on my childhood and remember the way I grew up and some of the things I learned along the way. This is the history of my life and experience, so far:
6 years old: I started to study piano. My teacher Mrs. Tilca Mariana was very helpful and soon I enjoyed it very much. I found it very hard to study Piano when I could hear all of my young friends playing and laughing outside. I knew it would be worth it, but it was still hard.
10 years old: I started singing in the school choir and found it to be very enjoyable. It wasn’t long before I was a vocalist and today I look back on that time and realize it was the start of my focused interest in music. It makes me happy to think back about it.
From 11 to 15 years old: I learned a lot about music by participating in national and county level piano contests, festivals and choral music contests. It was my success in these Performances that helped me find confidence. I learned a lot during this time I gained some experience and self-confidence as a result of successful performances.
1994, attended the School of Arts
I Joined the Enders’ band as their keyboard player and we played our music at many different festivals for children and young people :-)
1995, we traveled a lot
When I was 16, we traveled a lot. I still remember the train trips and falling asleep in crowded unfamiliar places. It was very difficult, I used to rehearse for hours and some times my emotions would get to me. It seemed to us that we were always competing against the same bands in different places.
During this time we won the awards below and that helped me gain confidence.
→ Best players award At the Crystal Star Contest in Botosani, Romania
→ The Golden Teddy Bear award in Baia Mare, Romania
→ First place at the Harmony Festival in Bucharest, Romania
It was at the last event that I met both, Mr. Paul Nanca of the Phoenix Cultural Foundation, and most of my musician friends that are still with me today :-)
Most of the members of the band graduated from high school and went to college. This was the effective end of our band and very soon after that I was in college as well and after all these changes I started performing on my own.
1996, I had a few more successes
I won the "Aurelian Andreescu" trophy under the careful guidance of Mrs. Anda Popp.
I had my first performance on the stage of the "Golden Stag", as a backup vocalist. Then in the same show, I was invited to sing "When the winter comes" all by myself on stage. I still remember how nervous I was, the way my legs were shaking and how difficult it was for me to hold the microphone. My solo debut on this stage was quite comical because as I took the stage, with a move that was not choreographed, I tripped over some wires and I almost fell down.
1997 was full of notable events
This is a partial list:
→ A performance during the opening of Joan Baez in Bucharest
→ My baccalaureate examination
→ Wining the Mamaia trophy
→ My first album in English ("Only Love") recorded in Germany.
I’m not quite sure which event challenged me more but I do remember that I was too busy studying the literary works of Caragiale for my test to remember much of the Doamnei Folkului concert from Bucharest. After the performance the next day I was scheduled to take a written examination of Romanian writing. So, after leaving the stage, I jumped into the train and from the train ran directly to the examination hall and I passed the test as well.
At the end of the year, I was very happy to have had so many of my dreams turn into realities, that I was of course, hoping that I could keep up the trend.
1998 searching for my future
At the beginning of 1998, I started to question my direction. I remember that I had a soul searching period where I investigated a lot of styles. I decided to perform rock, jazz, jazz-rock, soul, Rhythm and Blues etc, but I didn’t really realize how big that goal was.
At the time, unplugged music became popular so I suggested to people at the Phoenix Foundation that we work together to add this kind of music to an album. Dana Cristescu had the idea to involve Mr. Nicu Alifantis for composing and producing this album. I fondly remember that he offered me some songs to be recorded in the beginning. We chose "Ploaie în luna lui Marte" to be the first track, because it seemed the most beautiful song ever composed and the most representative for me.
The thing I remember so clearly is all the bright eyes looking at me kindly as I was looking out to the audience and hundreds of voices were singing with me "ploouuaaa infernaaaal" and "noooi ne iubeaaam..." it’s an amazing feeling. It was nice to see people happy and enjoying my music! The song eventually got to George Zafiu, DJ at Radio 21, who started to broadcast it on his shows.
After many requests, we agreed to record the first album in Romanian named "I know I exist". It represents the best of my musical self study at that time. At the same time, I won the "Ascending Star" award by Avantaje magazine.
The year brought me the fulfillment of a dream – to perform in the opening of Chick Corea’s concert from Bucharest. The project that came after the concert involving me together with the percussionist Lucian Maxim and it was a fusion of jazz with classical music and old Romanian gypsy music found in the traditional remakes of Marius Mihalache.
In 1999 I released the album called "De dragoste" (For love)
In 1999, I finished and released the album "De dragoste" that gathered ten songs composed by Nicu Alifantis. It is the first complete album that I had released. I Must thank Nicu Alifantis because he was at that time, the most influential artist on my career direction.
"Ploaie în luna lui Marte" brought me the award "The Hit of the Year" at the Mamaia Festival in the same year. After all this I took a break, while I was trying to find my way in life and in my music. I wanted to sing but I also wanted to give real attention to the courses I had registered for.
Eventually I started to write music and lyrics, with my brother, Paul Seling. We started to plan an album that would mark a change in my music, a change of attitude, music and sound.
In 2001, I released "I’ll be back"
In January 2001 I released "Ma voi întoarce" (I’ll be back), a special album, calm and gentle, with winter songs. The song "Lânga mine" (Next to me) is a duet with the band Directia 5 and it was also included in their album.
We worked on the album until the fall of 2001. Paul and I succeeded to mostly finalize the album and we decided to include Cezar Stanciulescu and Cristi Stefanescu, members of the Band, NSK. They were excellent guys to work with. They were artists with brilliant ideas about music, that considerably improved the album and its sound. It was the first album in which all the lyrics were written by me. The title of the album was "stii ce înseamna (sa fii fericit)" (You know what it means (to be happy).
In the same year I released the Album " Prima selectie " (First selection), a song collection from concerts, duets and remakes of some of my best songs.
In the same period, I worked with an artist that I found very interesting: Puya from "La Familia". We arrived earlier at the studio where he was recording a song with strong message and he had not found a female vocalist yet. The song seemed very good to me and I offered to record it with him. The song named "Fii pregatit" (Be ready) was released and was very popular so a few weeks later, we were presenting it in a performance from Mamaia.
2001 award for best female singer
In 2001 I received The Award for the best female singer within the Awards of the Romanian Music Industries 2001. It was very important for me because it proved to me that I was on the right track with my music and my performances.
I also had the opportunity to cooperate with one of the best directors from Romania, Andreea Paduraru, for the Music video of the song "Serile verii" (Summer evenings) (of the album "You know what it means”). Remarkably the Music Video was filmed under the water.
This Music video in turn brought me the award for the best artist in a Music Video, and the award for the best Music Video on the MTV Music Awards Romania 2002, for Andreea.
2002 the passage to "professionalism"
Later on, in 2002, I thought I was artistically experienced enough to try to prepare myself for the Golden Stag Festival. This festival had, in a way, a certain kind of fairy tale fragrance, it represented a symbol of the passage to "professionalism" for me, it was a test for me, maybe also because, for many years, I was watching it with my parents, we were prognosticating about possible winners, we were granting qualifications and mainly, I was dreaming.
I was dreaming that I could somehow get there. I prepared myself when I was participating in the piano contests and I was not allowed to use my hands except for studying, not even for cleaning the house, I was not allowed, isn’t that great. :-) I rescheduled all the performances of that period and I was studying for three hours each day. I had to remember each musical note from the score for voice and the piano, I had practiced it hundreds of times and I wanted to be prepared for everything.
The event called for two songs to be performed. The first song was only piano and vocalist. I walked out on the stage with my eyes closed, rehearsing what I had previously prepared. I was a little bit scared but I was very excited. I sat on the chair. With determination and “feeling" I performed the first few notes….and nothing! The piano did not work!! I felt like crying, I had no idea what to do, I could not believe what was happening. On the day of the contest the piano had decided to quit. I was just about to give up when I though maybe somehow they forgot to turn on, I remembered just in time that there was a power switch. I reach over and switched it on and I had such an “emotional” start that it improved my “performance", I made it through and I won the most important award in my life.
We sat around a table, and, with an attitude of self-confidence, he told me: "Look: We are going to make this interview work by pretending that you do not know about winning of the award..."
My heart stopped beating! I had hoped to win this award so much but I didn’t dare hope I was getting it! I also did not want to find out, not yet I wanted to hear it when it was announced that evening, while sitting alone with my thoughts and my prayers, in the first row in front of the stage.
The evening was incredible: The Scorpions, one of my favorite bands since I was a child, was invited to Brasov to close the Golden Stag festival with a performance. Well, they invited me on the stage and dedicated the most wonderful song - Still loving you :). At that time, I cried, It was incredible!
2002 I was a “fairy tale” character
2002 brought me a very interesting experience: I was a “fairy tale” character. It was A story about making a music hit somewhere, in the world. Tony Hawks, producer, composer, director and writer proposed himself to cast a documentary movie on the Discovery channel, a movie that reveals to the audience the recipe for the success of a song. he picked me as a study subject in Romania, we recorded a song, his composition, in his studio from London and then we started promoting it.
The whole story took off and we performed it on Gloria Hunniford's show on Channel 5 in London. Then we went to club Kashmir, famous for many British star debuts, where together with my band I performed and the show was broadcast on the internet.
2003 Off to France
This year brought me a management agreement with a French producer. I worked intensely to compose, orchestrate and record an album for the French market. The album that consisted of songs in French and English was recorded in Paris. Unfortunately the album could not be completed But I got to see France, so all was not lost
In 2003, I released the most "consistent" album so far – it had 17 songs and it was called "Fara sfârsit" (Endless). On the album was the song Timpul (La radio se-anunta ploi) – Time (rains are announced on the radio) whose Music Video was completed in Venice by another director of exception - Dragos Buliga.
2005 I was married
I come excitedly to the year 2005, when got married to Radu Bucura !
And now we are doing everything together. We opened a production studio, UNICORN RECORDS where we work as much as we can, we have our record studio and we try to do our best for music.
In 2005 we celebrated 10 years from my debut. Ten years from my first performance at the Golden Stag Festival 1996. They seemed to pass in a moment and looking back I feel that each second was great! Every joy, every tear, every song recorded and every moment of comfort and loneliness had its own role.
I can especially remember what I felt when the entire audience in the Sica Alexandrescu theatre hall sang together with me, with my band and the Orchestra, in the anniversary concert that took place on 1 June 2006, remembering with each song, moments of the past 10 years..
2006, I released "For Holidays"
The year 2006 ended in a great way, Radu and I we released a special album called "For Holidays" with traditional Christmas music. This was the first album I have entirely produced and orchestrated. I was happy to see how well the public received it and it is one of the best selling albums every year.
2007 Came with three of the most important events of my career : opening act for Michael Bolton in Brasov on the 7th of July and for Beyonce in Cluj on the 22nd of October. The same year I had the pleasure of meeting Anita Doth, a member of the band "2 Unlimited" with whom I sang a duet on the stage of Callatis - a festival in a beautiful seaside resort called Mangalia. It was an amazing experience, I had the chance to know her better, talk a lot, sing a lot and I realised she is a great and warm person, a special and powerful voice. We recorded together the song "If you want it" the English version of "Noapte calda" which I wrote together with my brother back in 2001.
2008 - I had the chance to sing with Al Bano
The year 2008 started with a great achievement - I had the chance to sing in duet with Al Bano in Iasi. He is definitely a great musician, a wonderful man and a special personality. I am lucky to have met him and to have shared the stage with "The Maestro" for five times already, and each time is a joy and a blessing. Later that year we decided to make a "Best of", sort of a compilation with the most important songs of the 10 years of my musical career, some of them with their original orchestration, some of them with a new production redone in Unicorn Records studio. The album was called "1998-2008".
The same year, on the 22nd of December - very close to my birthday - "The National Journal" produced an album of mine with 23 Holyday songs that sold in almost 100.000 copies in few hours. That was the best present that my listeners could give me that year, for my birthday.
2009 I finished a double album "Culeg vise" and "Believe"
In 2009 I finished an album that I worked for almost 6 years. It was a special one because I entirely composed, written, orchestrated and produced: my first "baby". The album contained my thoughts, dreams, peaces of life and, most important, it was a double album, one in Romanian("Culeg vise") and one in English ("Believe"). During the work on this album, I met a very special person that helped me work on the English version of the album and together we decided to name the album "Believe", as a statement for all "believers". The release and the launching show was a succes, because most of the fans that stood by me for all these years, have come to Bucharest, to the show. It ws a great feeling and an amazing evening.
The same year I participated in a song contest at a festival that took place in a beautiful Romanian seaside resort - Mamaia. I participated wih a great song written by Cristian Faur and together we won the first prise.
2010 Eurovision Song Contest..
2010 started in a great way: Ovi and I, we won the National Selection of Eurovision Song Contest and we will represent Romania in Oslo. This is a great feeling and a dream come true.
In 2010, the album "Culeg vise" received the prise for Romanian Best Abum at National Radio Prizes and this was an honor for me, knowing that an album that I entirely wrote and produced, got this distinction.
Looking forward to Oslo...
Thank you for reading my biography!
Wish you all the best,