Herbert Grönemeyer’s love for music was cradled to him by his grandmother who was a successful singer as well. His father described himself as “hard and unfair”, so that Herbert Grönemeyer always says he was brought up in a strict surrounding with great love for music. His parents soon realised his musical talent, too, and they offered him piano lessons by the age of ten. Grönemeyer mad his big break in music business in 1984 with an album called “4630 Bochum” and every album to follow this one was a best-seller. With these albums, Grönemeyer created songs dealing with topics many listeners carried in their soul. This is also the main reason why his fans are so fascinated about him. The fact that Grönemyer sings in German, has certainly contributed to his success. He reaches a whole people, for he talks their language just like anyone else talks on the street every day.
What makes Grönemeyer’s songs so unique is the recognition, the ability to empathise. He writes lyrics with connection to real life, situations everyone has already experienced in a way. It’s emotions clothed in words and thus becoming fair. Sometimes, his lyrics remind of poems, like in his ballad “Halt mich” (English: “Hold me”) or his well-known hit “Flugzeuge im Bauch” (“Airplanes in the stomach” in correspondence to “to have butterflies in one’s stomach”). But it’s not only music which plays a major role in Herbert Grönemeyer’s life. His commitment for the socially disadvantaged is also very important for him. It was already in 1985 that Grönemeryer initiated the project “Band für Afrika” (English: “Band for Africa”) in which many artists and bands cooperated in order to collect money for starving children in Africa.
At this time, Herbert Grönemeyer is chairman of the action group “Deine Stimme gegen Armut” (“Your voice against poverty”) which is supported by the German Federal Government. The aim of this action group is to remind the western states of their voluntary agreement to halve the poverty on earth by the year 2015, and it’s good that people like Herbert Grönemeyer actively support such organisations, for it gives them a much bigger resonance. Herbert Grönemeyer came through for debt relief in the Third World and set an example for more humanity and against the capitalistic exploitation of the poor countries. He calls for solidarity with those who have nothing or not as much as the rest of the world. He invested great sums of his income into social projects which impresses as well! Actually, Herbert Grönemeyer is not only part of those who just talk but who really put themselves out for a better world.
The year 1998 became a very hard one for Herbert Grönemeyer. First of all, his brother died, and then, his wife Anna who had been fighting against breast cancer for years, followed. Herbert Grönemeyer was left with their two children and suffered a severe crisis. For a whole year, nothing was to be heard of him.
Then, in the year 2002, his album “Mensch” (English: “Human”, in the sense of “human being”, “person”) was released. It touched many people to the core and reached Platinum status even solely on the basis of its pre-orders. In this album, you will find every emotion life has to offer. The pain over his loss of his loved wife and brother. The hope that there’s still a tomorrow even if today way the darkest day of a life. The album lives off all of this and has a message: A person never stops being human. With this album, Herbert Grönemeyer really created a hymn on humanity. His clear message is that a human being simply is what it is. However, every human being should not forget about all the others surrounding them. Grönemeyer clearly pleads for cooperation, that is, to not look away any more. He wants people to be aware of others and to care for them, not to close their eyes and ignore truth.
Herbert Grönemeyer himself has a strong commitment for others and this he has since the beginning of his career – incessantly. Asked if he thinks that he was an idol, he always answers he didn’t know and didn’t care about it, as for him, the only thing that counts was that he could like the guy in the mirror in the morning. And if each of us would take a page from his book, the world would be a truly beautiful place.
This post is also available in: German