René Baumann (born 5 January 1968), better known as DJ BoBo, is a Swiss singer-songwriter, dancer and music producer. He has sold 14 million records worldwide and has released 12 studio albums as well as a few compilation albums which have included his previous hits in a reworked format. DJ BoBo has also released as many as 34 singles to date, some of which have charted high, not only in German speaking countries, but also in other European territories.
As a dance music producer, his first big success came with the single "Somebody Dance with Me", which borrows its melody from Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me. After this, he charted with the singles "Keep on Dancing", "Take Control", "Everybody", "Let the Dream Come True", "Love Is All Around", "Freedom", "Pray" and "What a Feeling", as well as "Chihuahua", almost all of which comprised fast-paced Eurodance sound with female vocals and rap verses performed by René. Between 1992 through 2007, he had 27 single chart-hits in Switzerland and Germany, and has won 10 World Music Awards for being Switzerland's best selling artist. René has received numerous Gold and Platinum certifications for his singles and albums and has found success in Europe (primarily in Germany and Switzerland), Asia and South America.
Life and music career
1985–1991: Early beginnings
Peter René Baumann was born in Kölliken, Switzerland, to Italian father Luigi Cipiriano and Swiss mother Ruth Baumann. Initially, Baumann wanted to work in the area of confectionery and bakery. This, however, did not last long as his desire for dancing clicked with the development of breakdancing after his high-school graduation. Having been involved in numerous dance-contests, René managed to reach the top-10 of the German dance-contest "Disco Kings" with his acrobatic dance style.
Baumann began his DJ career in 1985, a year after which he was a runner-up in the Swiss DJ Championships. He continued to work as a DJ at numerous night-clubs such as Don Paco and the Hazyland, both in Switzerland, through which he gathered enough experience and later decided to produce his own record. His first single "I Love You" came out in late 1989 during which time he would still spin records as a DJ but focused on future releases of his own production. In 1991, DJ BoBo released two other singles, "Ladies in the House" and "Let's Groove On".
1992–1996: Career breakthrough
René gained immense international popularity when he released his Europe-wide smash hit "Somebody Dance with Me" in November 1992. Employing catchy refrains by Emel Aykanat as well as rap performance by himself, the single shot to number 1 in Switzerland and Sweden, while it landed in the top-5 in numerous other European countries including Germany. "Somebody Dance with Me" was certified Gold in Germany for selling well over 250,000 units. His second hit "Keep on Dancing", which followed the same technique as its predecessor, reached the top-5 both at home and in Germany, and landed in the top-10 in other parts of Europe. The single reached a Gold status in Germany for sales of 250,000 units sold. The long-awaited album, Dance with Me was released in October 1993 and remained in the charts all over Europe for quite some time which was followed by another single, "Take Control", again from his debut album, earning him yet another Gold-award in Germany for sales of over 250,000 units, which also entered the top-20 in numerous countries. While DJ BoBo appeared to have already separated himself from one-hit wonders, he released his next single "Everybody", in the summer of 1994, which climbed as high as No.2 in Germany and was certified Platinum for selling 500,000 units there. "Everybody" differed from the previously released singles in terms of its structure, it diverged from house, leaning towards a mixture of house and hip-hop (hip house) with female vocalists performing the chorus and rap verses performed again by René.
In the fall of 1994, his second studio album There Is a Party was released. While the album peaked at No.4 in Switzerland where it was certified Platinum for selling over 50,000 units, it entered the top 10 in Germany, where it spent total of 26 weeks on the chart eventually reaching a Gold status for selling over 250,000 units. The first single "Let the Dream Come True" from the album topped the charts in Switzerland and entered the top-5 in Germany, where it was certified Gold for sales over 250,000 units. While the follow-up second single "Love Is All Around" entered the top-20 in Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway, it was certified Gold in Germany being the sixth golden record in a row. During the course of this ongoing success, in 1995, DJ BoBo represented Switzerland in the World Music Awards in Monaco with his "Everybody" for being the "World's Best Selling Swiss Artist of the Year."
In the summer of 1995, DJ BoBo went on a tour which took place in most parts of Asia which was followed by a promotional tour in Australia. Later that year, DJ BoBo also traveled all over Europe performing before as many as 400,000 spectators.
DJ BoBo released his first ballad "Love Is the Price" in January 1996, which was introduced in Thomas Gottschalk's TV show Wetten, dass..?. Baumann, later that year, ended up again at the World Music Awards in Monaco for being the "World's Best Selling Swiss Artist of the Year" performing there two songs back to back, "Freedom" (which was his eighth Golden Record in a row in Germany) as well as his newly released ballad "Love Is the Price".
1996–1999: Popularity established
The release of the album World in Motion in September, 1996, proved not only DJ BoBo's consistent presence in the charts, but with this album, René managed to break all his previous records. It took only a few weeks for the album to reach the No.3 position in Germany, which quickly was awarded Platinum for selling 500,000 units. In Switzerland, the album jumped from 0 to No.1 and was awarded Double-Platinum for selling 100,000 units, which was ranked in the top 40 albums of all-time, after remaining on the Swiss album chart for a staggering 67 weeks. Shortly after the release of World in Motion, Baumann went on a promotional tour in Asia for twenty days, which was then followed by another one month-tour in Brazil, Chile and Colombia.
In April 1997, DJ BoBo received his third World Music Award in Monaco for being the "World's Best Selling Swiss Artist of the Year" where he performed his single "Respect Yourself".
DJ BoBo maintained his original sound and experimented with new sounds and vocal arrangements when he introduced his singing skills first on his single "Where Is Your Love", which was released in March, 1998. A month thereafter, in April 1998, his album Magic was released which managed to stay in the No.1 position for four consecutive weeks in his native country and earned him a Platinum-award for sales of over 50,000 units. In Germany, the album peaked at No.5 and spent total of 21 weeks on the chart, eventually earning the Swiss artist another Gold-award for sales of over 250,000 units. In May of that the same year, DJ BoBo received the World Music Award for being the "World's Best Selling Swiss Artist of the Year" once again for the fourth time. Soon after, his single "Celebrate" was released introducing his The Ultimate Megamix '99. During this time René and his crew were busy preparing for his "Life on Tour" concert as well as the shows of the Magic, which were watched by 250,000 people in 35 concert arenas in Europe. Shortly thereafter, DJ BoBo was rewarded with yet another World Music Award for being the "World's Best Selling Swiss Artist of the Year" for the fifth time in a row.
Baumann's sixth album entitled Level 6 was released in October 1999 and immediately hit the No.1 position in the Swiss album charts, which eventually went Platinum at his home as well as Gold in Germany for sales of over 150,000 units. Two singles were released off this album, "Together" and "Lies". DJ BoBo's success continued, as once again in the spring of 2000, he received yet another trophy at the World Music Award for the sixth time in a row for being Switzerland's "Best Selling Artist of the Year".
René and his co-producer Axel Breitung managed to complete DJ BoBo's next album Planet Colors within a period of seven months which they released on 5 February 2001. The first single "What a Feeling" featuring Irene Cara from this album, which was the cover version of her original hit Flashdance... What a Feeling, peaked at No.2 in Switzerland, No.11 in Austria, and in Germany it peaked at No.3. Two other singles were followed "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "Colors of Life". His tour "Planet Colors-The Show" was a big hit by more than a million spectators within Europe.
2001–2003: 10 year anniversary
As a way of celebrating his 10-year anniversary in the music business, René made the cover version of Kool and the Gang's "Celebration", reviving it with modern instrumentation. The single was to represent his collection album consisting of previous hits, which he also entitled Celebration. The album Celebration, released in April 2002, comprised the previous hits all of which were re-recorded featuring mostly German renowned artists such as No Angels on "Where is Your Love", Melanie Thornton on "Love of My Life", Emilia on "Everybody" and A Touch of Class on "Together". Besides DJ BoBo being Switzerland's Best Selling Recording Artist at the World Music Awards in 2002 for the seventh time, in 2002, René and Axel Breitung were recognized as "Best Producers of 2001" at Echo awards for being the most-talented musical team.
DJ BoBo's next studio album called Visions, released in February 2003, brought somewhat a new side to his music which aside from the usual dance-sounds, portrayed him with more acoustic elements. Examples of this would be the songs "Angel" and "Do You Remember", wherein guitars replaced synthesizers. The Album, Visions which peaked at No.3 in Switzerland, eventually became a Platinum record in Switzerland. In 2003, DJ BoBo received yet another World Music Award for being Switzerland's Best Selling Artist of the year.
One of Baumann's most successful singles turned out to be his single "Chihuahua" which initially was released in 2002 and later re-released again Europe-wide. The track was produced upon the request of Coca-Cola in Spain. They were in search of an artist who could produce an attention-drawing mambo-song for their new campaign. However, the condition was that it had to be done within a period of ten days. This task was completed and handed over to Coca-Cola by René and his co-producer Axel Breitung within the given time-limit. It took only a couple of weeks for the single "Chihuahua" to reach No.1 on the Spanish single chart. The song eventually became No.1 in Switzerland, and France also. It was certified Platinum in Switzerland for sales of over 40,000 units and in France the single reached a Diamond status for sales of over one million units.
2005–2008: Eurovision & 10th World Music Award
The next studio album Pirates of Dance, released in February 2005, which included two singles called "Pirates of Dance" and "Amazing Life" shot straight to No.1 in Switzerland. DJ BoBo and his crew began The Pirates of Dance Tour in April 2005. The tour took off in Switzerland, followed by Germany and Poland, which concluded with two concerts at Disneyland Paris. 2005 was the year that made DJ BoBo Switzerland's Best Selling Recording Artist of the Year for the 10th time.
René released his Greatest hits album in 2006, which contained his previous hits all redone, and some remaining in their original package. The single, "Secrets of Love", which was released before the album, was a pleasant pop-dance duet with 1980s mega-star Sandra. The song's music video was filmed at Disney Resort Paris. His Greatest hits compilation album eventually earned him a Gold certification in Switzerland.
On 11 October 2006 DJ BoBo announced in a press conference that he had applied to represent Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.
In past years, Switzerland's entry has not necessarily been a Swiss national. Most notably, Canadian Celine Dion won the Eurovision Song Contest 1988 representing Switzerland. In DJ BoBo's press conference, he told reporters that "It's a shame for Swiss tax payer money from the TV licence fees go to fund a foreign act, and the people should resist that."
In December 2006, the Swiss TV Council announced that they had chosen BoBo out of over 200 applicants to represent Switzerland in Helsinki. The council earned some negative comments for the selection as not having been fair towards lesser known Swiss artists.
On 21 February 2007 DJ BoBo revealed both the song and the video he would enter in the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, "Vampires Are Alive."
Despite being one of the favorites to win the contest according to many bookmakers, the song failed to get past the semi-final stage on May 12. It finished twentieth out of twenty eight semi-finalists.
DJ BoBo released his next album Vampires on 11 May 2007, which climbed as high as No.2 on the Swiss album chart. The first single "Vampires Are Alive", reached No.3 in Switzerland and charted moderately in the rest of the German-speaking countries, but gained success in Finland, where it reached the No.7. Two other singles were released, "We Gotta Hold On" and "Because of You" off the album Vampires.
In 2007, René was chosen to sing the official 2008 UEFA European Football Championship song. On the DJ BoBo website, he put a poll on to choose which song out of two would be the official song. The public chose "Ole Ole" over "Let the Games Begin". On 11 April 2008, "Olé Olé" was released as a single, being accompanied by an album called Olé Olé - Party. Olé Olé - Party included 5 new songs, 9 party hits, a medley, a newly remixed version of DJ BoBo's mega-hit "Everybody" and a new version of "Vampires Are Alive" (EAPM Remix).
DJ Bobo's album Fantasy was released on 26 February 2010, the album peaked at No.2 in Switzerland and was certified Gold for selling over 15,000 units. The two singles that were released off this album, were "Superstar" and "This Is My Time".
New material from DJ Bobo, entitled Dancing Las Vegas was released on 25 November 2011. The album contains 13 tracks, which comes with a DVD, which in its turn is composed of six parts including the videoclip of the single "Everybody's Gonna Dance", released on 11 November 2011.
Rene released yet another studio album, called Circus on 10 January 2014. The album, as all other previous albums entered the top-5 in Switzerland.
DJ BoBo became a United Nations World Food Programme National Ambassador Against Hunger in October 2006, becoming the first Swiss celebrity to take up the role. He was also a participant in the 2006 Geneva Walk the World event.
From 1989 to 1994, DJ BoBo was married to Daniela Bock. In 1993, René met Nancy Rentzsch; she joined his team in 1995. René and Nancy got married on 9 August 2001. René and Nancy have two children. Jamiro-René was born on 8 October 2002 and Kayley-Nancy was born on 29 September 2006. In 2008 his family moved to a new house in Kastanienbaum, canton Lucerne.
- Studio albums
- Dance with Me (1993)
- There Is a Party (1994)
- World in Motion (1996)
- Magic (1998)
- Level 6 (1999)
- Planet Colors (2001)
- Visions (2003)
- Pirates of Dance (2005)
- Vampires (2007)
- Fantasy (2010)
- Dancing Las Vegas (2011)
- Circus (2014)
- Mystorial (2016)