EUROVISION 2016: Sergey Lazarev for RUSSIA
Born on April 1, 1983 from ages six to nine Lazarev went in for artistic gymnastics. Lazarev began his acting and singing career before the age of 10, singing in the Lokteus Children Choir. At the age of 14, he had already received his first musical award, won several children’s song contests, and ended up as a member of child group Neposedi, the same group in which Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina of t.A.T.u. met each other. In 2001 Sergey and Vlad Topalov started the boy band Smash!!. Shortly after they were signed by Universal Music Records in Russia and were one of the biggest Russian pop groups in 2002–2003. The duo had five #1 hits, numerous awards and sold millions of records in Russia, CIS and East Asia (including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand) during their brief career as a group.
Together with British producer Brian Rawling, Sergey recorded most of the songs for his solo debut Don’t Be Fake that was released in November 2005 and sold more than 300,000 copies in Russia alone. In May 2006 Sergey received Russia’s national Music TV Channel’s MUZ TV award as Best New Act. Sergey won the Best Male Singer award in RMA 2006, defeating Dima Bilan. In 2008, he tried to represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song “Flyer”, but came 4th place, losing to Russian pop star Dima Bilan but he won MTV’s Artist of the Year Award. In 2012, he released “Take It Off”, yet another English-language song, possible hinting at another future return to attempts to break into the main European market.