Díma Bilán (Russian: Ди́ма Била́н,], born Ви́ктор Никола́евич Бела́н, Víktor Nikoláevich Belán, 24 December 1981 in Ust-Dzheguta, Karachay-Cherkessia) is a Russian actor and pop singer . Bilan represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with "Never Let You Go", finishing second, and he won the contest in 2008 in Belgrade, with the song "Believe". He has had many Russian number one hits.
When Bilan was two years old, his family moved to his grandmother’s place in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny in Tatarstan. When he was six years old, his family moved to Kabardino-Balkaria where he went to school with his sister. He took part in morning performances, recited poems and sang songs.
Bilan graduated from Gnesins Musical College as a classical vocal performer. He made his debut when he reached fourth place at the Russian/Latvian festival "New Wave" in 2002. In 2003, Bilan released his debut album titled Nochnoy Huligan (Night Hooligan). In 2004 he released his successful single "Na beregu neba" ("At the sky's shore") which was also the title of his second album, on which Dima collaborated with world-famous songwriter Diane Warren. Both albums got platinum ones.
Dima is also very successful in his modeling career, and since 2004 he is the face of «La Scala Fashion Group», which presents in Russia Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci, YSL, Dsquared2, Dior, Roberto Cavalli and other luxury brands.
2005 - 2006
Produced by the late Yury Aizenshpis, a Russian music mogul famous for his work with Viktor Tsoi in the Soviet Union, Bilan attempted to reach Eurovision previously with the song "Not That Simple" in 2005, finishing in second place at the Russian national selection. In December 2005, Bilan received two golden gramophones for the song "Ty dolzjna ryadom byt'" (The Russian version of "Not That Simple", actually meaning "You should be beside me") in Saint Petersburg and Almaty. During shootings of "Noviye pyesny o glavnom" ("New songs about the main things") he received the grand prize of the First channel from the professional jury. Bilan became Show-business Man of the Year because the most voters gave their voices for him according to the version of Rambler. On 14 March 2006, Bilan took part in "Zolotaya Sharmanka" ("Golden street organ") of "International Music Awards" in Kiev where he was honored as "Singer of the Year".
In mid-March 2006, Bilan was chosen internally by Russian broadcaster Channel One to represent Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, Greece. Out of 37 participating countries, Bilan took second place with the dark pop song "Never Let You Go", equalling one of Russia's best ever showing at Eurovision — Alsou's "Solo" was runner-up back in the 2000 contest.
Bilan scored 248 points — 44 points behind the winning song "Hard Rock Hallelujah" by Finland's Lordi — and received the maximum 12 points from a total of seven countries: Armenia, Belarus, Finland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
Bilan's stage performance included two dancing ballerinas and a white piano covered in red rose petals, from which a ghost-like female figure emerged halfway through the song. Bilan wore a white vest with the number representing his place in the contest's running order — 13 and 10 in the semi-final and final respectively. Due to Russia's poor result the previous year, Bilan had to qualify for the final at the semi-final on 18 May. He qualified in the top ten there (finishing third with 217 points) and moved to the final.
Bilan's Eurovision hit single «Never Let You Go» catapulted Dima to superstar status and placed him on top or all Russian radio and TV-charts in May 2006 and stayed on top of the charts for mind-blowing 24 weeks! In October 2006 this single was released in Greece and Cyprus, got into TOP 10 and was released in a number of European countries.
In 2006 Dima Bilan released the album «Vremya-reka» («Time is a river», 2006), which sold over 2 000 000 copies in Russia and CIS and became platinum.
In July 2006, Bilan was one of the four artists who took part in the biggest musical event in Russia of 2006 - "The red summer" show in Red Square in Moscow, where he performed on stage with Shakira, The Black Eyed Peas and t.A.T.u.
In September 2006, for second year in a row, Dima Bilan won Artist of the Year and Song of the Year at MTV Russian Music Awards. On 2 November Bilan represented Russia at MTV EMA in Copenhagen.
On November 15th 2006 Dima Bilan received award for «Best Selling Russian Artist» and performed at the World Music Awards in London along with Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado and Bob Sinclair. His performance of Eurovision hot single «Never Let You Go» at WMAs was broadcasted on Channel 4 in UK and 130 more countries, including United States. Dima Bilan was touring US (New York, Los Angeles, San-Francisco, Miami, Chicago) in January 2007 with audience not less than 3000 people per venue.
In January 2006 Dima took part in Milan Fashion Week as celebrity guest for Dsquared2 show.
2007 - 2008
. In February – March 2007 Dima Bilan recorded his first international album in English in Los Angeles, then in Philadelphia in collaboration with sound producer Timbaland and his production team - Danjahandz, Jim Beanz, Ryan Tedder from One Republic.
Also in 2007 he premiered the first single from his new album — Number One Fan. According to Russian and Eastern European radio airplay chart, Number One Fan topped the charts for eight weeks. Video for this song was shot in London by famous British director Trudy Bellinger (who has also made videos for acts including Girls Aloud, Sugababes and Sophie Ellis Bextor).
At the annual MTV Russia Music Awards 2007 on October the 4th, Dima Bilan won 3 most prestigious awards for Best Performer, Best Song and — for the third consecutive year — Best Artist. His performance of chart topping, Jim Beanz-penned single Number One Fan included cameo from the very special guest – Timbaland’s brother Sebastian, well-known worldwide for their joint song with Timbaland and Keri Hilson – Way I Are. Bilan also premiered another single from the forthcoming album, Amnesia.
Dima Bilan got his Best Artist 2007 MTV RMA award at MTV Europe Music Awards on November 1st in Munich, Germany.
On 20 February, 2008 Bilan went to Miami and recorded a few tracks with famous producer Rudy Perez, including a Spanish version of his first international single "Number one fan" and his further hit, ballad “Porque aun te amo”.
DIMA BILAN - THE WINNER OF EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2008.
On the 9th of March Dima Bilan won the national final for Eurovision 2008, gathering maximum points from the jury and from the TV-voting. He has been chosen to present Russia once again at EUROVISION Song Contest 2008 in Serbia, Belgrade with song Believe, which Dima Bilan penned together with Jim Beanz. On the 20th of May Dima presented Russia in Belgrade in Eurovision semi-final and came first at the final on May, 24, becoming the first Russian artist in the history of this international song contest to win Eurovision and bring it to Russia for Eurovision 2009.
With this victory, he became the fifth artist in the history of the contest to reach both the positions of winner and runner-up (After Lys Assia, Gigliola Cinquetti, Linda Martin and Elisabeth Andreassen) and the first male performer to do so.
Dima Bilan’s winning performance included Olympic and World champion figure skater Evgeny Plushenko and famous Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton, who played Antonio Stradivarius treasure violin from 1697. The concept of the unique choreography revealed the essence of the song itself, that is believing in oneself, friendship and people close to you, overcoming difficulties in life and coming out with victory.
On May 27th Dima Bilan started off with Eurovision Winner’s Tour 2008, having visited 9 European countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, UK, Germany, Belgium, France and San-Marino, in just one week. Within one week Dima Bilan, accompanied by Edvin Marton, gave numerous performances, hundreds of interviews and visited top TV- and radio-shows all over Europe.
Single Believe has already been successfully released in June by Universal Music on the territories of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Also in May 2008 Bilan’s 4th album “Protiv Pravil” was released.
In 2008, Bilan won two awards from Muz TV: "Best male artist" and "Best ringtone" for the song "Nevozmozhnoe vozmozno". Dima also won the Best Russian Act award at MTV Europe Music Awards.
Also in 2008 Bilan finally changed his official name to Dima Bilan. Although Dima is a diminutive from Dmitry, he preferred the former, diminutive form, "Dima", as official. The name change followed Bilan's conflict with his producer Yuri Aisenshpitz's heirs, who claimed the rights on this stage name. Making it his official name would help to avoid any claimants.
Bilan performed his 2008 Eurovision-winning song "Believe" in the interval act at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Limassol, Cyprus.
In autumn 2008 Dima Bilan started collaboration with one of top European high-end fashion designers Philipp Plein, who’s the favorite of many Hollywood celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, Johnny Depp and many more. While Naomi Campbell was the face of the women’s collections of the brand, Dima starred in Philipp Plein ad campaign for Spring-Summer 2009 season, which appeared in April 2009 in French, German and Russian Vogue magazine.
2009 – 2010
On the 31st of January 2009 Dima Bilan took part at the final for selecting Eurovision 2009 UK entry. This year UK created a big promo campaign including 6-weeks show "Eurovision: Your Country Needs You" at BBC 1 TV channel with the legendary Andrew Lloyd –Webber choosing the contestants and writing the song for this year UK entry together with Diane Warren. The show revealed meeting that Andrew Lloyd –Webber had with the prime minister of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin and Dima Bilan in Moscow, then interviews with Dima Bilan taken by famous UK TV host Graham Norton from shooting of his new video for "Lonely" single in London and finally Dima was invited to perform "Believe" at the final of the show on 31st. His appearance was covered in British press.
Bilan performed on the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, before handing over the title of Eurovision Song Contest winner to Alexander Rybak of Norway. Also in May 2009, during Eurovision in Moscow, Bilan’s English-speaking album “Believe” was released.
In the Summer of 2010, Bilan produced and starred in the short film Театр Абсурда (Theatre of the Absurd, written and directed by Maxim Apriatin and based upon Bilan's song Он хотел (He Wanted To). In the film, Bilan performs monologues in which he shares his opinion on the moral values of the people who live in the Russian capital, as well as quotations from Ecclesiastes, Jacques Prevert and scraps of the diary of Jim Morrison. The film was released on the Internet in late 2010.
On May 25, 2010, American great singer Anastacia recorded a duet with Dima Bilan in Los Angeles.. They've presented the song "Safety" for the first time during the Muz-TV Music Awards show on June 11 in Moscow, Anastacia has also perform a song alone.
Dima Bilan was the face of well known Italian Chronotech watch brand for more than a year. From 2009 Bilan also was the face of huge Swedish Oriflame cosmetic brand. In 2007-2011 Bilan took part as a model in Russian Fashion week defiles, presenting designer Ilya Shian’s collections.
On 25 May 2011 Bilan's sixth album «Mechtatel» («Dreamer») was launched.
The album is a serious product, in which each Dima's song is an embodiment of his own senses and emotions. There are such top hits as Safety (duet with Anastacia), «Changes», «Po param» (“ In couples”), «Ya prosto luybluy tebia» (“I simply love you”) as well as new tracks. There was two releases: regular CD (14 tracks and 2 remixes) and edition de luxe (added DVD with 5 latest videos and photo gallery). For the first time there was yet one surprise for the most devoted friends - vinyl disks (limited edition - 500 copies only).
In June Bilan became “Best male singer” according to “Muz-TV 2011” national music awards.
In Autumn 2011 Bilan took part in TV-show “Phantom of the opera”, where he revealed his great vocal skills in different genres, performing such compositions, as romance of Glinka 'Ya pomniy chudnoye mgnovenie', Eletzky's aria from Chaikovsky's opera 'The queen of spades', Aria of Prince Radjami from operetta 'Die Bajadere', Russian folclore song “Viydy na ylitsy”, popular crossovers - Time to say goodbye, Caruso, The prayer. The main sensations became his performing of Gluck, Paride ed Elena (Paris and Helen) - Parise's aria (singing in unique contrtenor) and “Aria of Jesus Christ” from “Jesus Christ Superstar”, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In November 2011 Bilan’s autobiography book “On hooligana do mechtatelya” (“From hooligan to dreamer”) was released. Dima wrote it himself, recalling all his life from his childhood with warmth, poetics and humor.
In 2011 Bilan celebrated his 30th anniversary. Dima Bilan's anniversary concert took place in Moscow on 24th November 2011 in Сrocus City Hall, with the assistance of Johann Strauss' Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, the conductor was Edvin Marton (EMMY award winner, Eurovision winner). This great concert presented to public a mature great artist with various repertoire and was later shown on 1th TV channel.
Bilan has competed at Russia's Eurovision 2012 song selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. He entered the competition with t.A.T.u. former member Yulia Volkova with their song "Back To Her Future". They finished in 2nd place with 29.25 points. In the contest itself, he was joined by other Eurovision winners - Alexander Rybak, Lena, Ell and Nikki and Marija Šerifović - for the interval act of the second semi-final.
In May 2012 Bilan took part in charity show "Believe" at "Lushniki" Small Sports Arena together with Eugeny Plushenko and Edvin Marton. On December 2012 Bilan took part in charity concert in Crocus City Hall. Both shows were attended by thousands of kids from children's homes.
On June 5th t unique Bilan’s concert in legendary Chaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow took place. It was accompanied by symphonic orchestra of Ministry of Internal affairs with conductor Felix Aranovsky. The concert showed public another Bilan – the artist performed opera arias, crossovers, as well as his pop hits - he was extremely different! So audience – including a new ones – was amazed. In autumn 2012 Bilan performed this great symphonic concert in St.-Petersburg too.
In June Bilan got “Muz-TV 2012” award - it was “Best male singer” again.
In autumn Dima Bilan became the Best Russian Act by the results of voting on «MTV EMA awards 2012» seventh time in a row, and finally Bilan became the winner in nomination “Best European act” according to MTV EMA Awards! It was the first time for Russian artist ever. Bilan presented Russia on MTV EMA 2012 ceremony in Frankfurt, which was covered in European press. Bilan was also nominated at World Music Awards as World's Best Male Artist.
In autumn Dima Bilan became the face of a new fragrance dB Decibel by well-known brand Azzaro.
Also in autumn-winter 2012 Bilan was a tutor in Russian version of famous “The voice” competitive project on the1th channel, which is the main TV channel in Russia. The project was a huge revolutionary success, and Bilan got new admirers, this time as a thoughtful, sensitive, emotional tutor. Together with his wards he made many bright performances and got official invitation to be a tutor on “The voice” in next season.
Also in autumn 2012 in internet were launched first series of experimental reality film about Dima Bilan's life. No posed shots, takes or planned plots! Only truth and nothing needless. Video-cocktail of dreams, thoughts, performances, splashes of true emotions and answers to your questions. No one Russian artist did such videos yet.
Another important premiere was launching of Bilan’s alternate project as Vitya Belan. A video of Vitya Belan - "Fairy World" was officially premiered in the internet on December 24th, Bilan's 31st Birthday. The thing is that Bilan’s real birth name is actually Vitya Belan. In interviews Dima has mentioned that he wants to create music that's close to his heart, not TV and radio music formats. So he came up with idea of creating alter ego and “Fairy world” is his first work as Vitya Belan. The music, which Bilan creates all by himself, is a kind of electro pop with elements of jazz and funk, while the video is effortlessly stylish and super cute fanciful visions of a nice child. Vitya’s debut got good responses not only from Dima’s current fans, but also from music critics and is covered in foreign media. Vitya’s creative work is some parallel reality, in which the artist has ability to evolve and open up the way he wishes. Together with his like-minded persons, sound producer Andrey Cherny and musician Slava Lungu, the artist is working at his debut album.
In February 2013 Bilan was nominated for the Kids' Choice Awards by Nickelodeon channel in the category "Best Russian Act". The voting ended on March 25. Dima Bilan won and received the award at the ceremony. He became the first artist from Russia, who got orange blimp Kids Choice Awards!