Over the past twenty years, German pop singer Johannes Oerding has slowly but surely built an impressive career. His last five albums have all broken into the top five of the German album charts, earning him a number of gold and platinum record awards. And he has helped to mentor the country’s next generation of musicians as a judge on the eleventh season of The Voice of Germany.
But Oerding’s success did not come overnight, he has earned it. In addition to more than a half-dozen albums, he has played countless tour dates that, early on, saw him opening for the likes of Joe Cocker and Scorpions.
Now is the time to get to know this smooth-singing pop star with his easygoing melodies. This month, learn German with the music of Johannes Oerding!
Get to Know Johannes Oerding
Johannes Oerding was born on December 26, 1981, in Münster and grew up in Geldern-Kapellen. He is one of five children — three brothers and two sisters — born to a doctor who is a father and a mother who is a nurse.
In 1999, Oerding got his break in music when he received a positive response and an invitation to a Hamburg recording studio after playing at a city festival. And although he had been playing in bands since his school days, he put his musical aspirations on the back burner for a while. Instead, he turned his focus to a degree in international marketing at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.
He then returned to Germany and, in 2006, Johannes Oerding relocated to Hamburg to focus on his music.
The Music of Johannes Oerding
During the summer of 2009, Oerding released his debut full-length, Erste Wahl. The album is a pop-friendly introduction that features a collaboration with Madsen‘s Sebastian Madsen; the collaboration would not be their last either. The single “Engel” captured the attention of music fans in Germany.
In 2011, Oerding returned with Boxer, a collection of largely upbeat and bright pop songs ideally suited for radio with their soothing melodies and gentle build-ups. But he is perhaps at his strongest when all of the production is stripped away. “Zurück” is a delicate ballad accented with touches of falsetto vocals that really shows off Oerding’s talents. But easy listening pop be damned, Oerding is not afraid of taking some chances. “Erster Klasse” plays like a poppy German country rock tune, complete with honky tonk guitar and harmonica.
Für immer ab jetzt followed in 2013 and saw him go gold and break into the top five German album charts. Where Oerding went simple in the past, his third album generally features more production. The single “Jemanden wie Dich” uses a rhythmic clapping to set toes tapping while Oerding effortlessly adds his almost raspy vocals.
After Für immer ab jetzt, there was only one way for Johannes Oerding: up. There were only two singles released in support of his fourth album, 2015’s Alles brennt, but the dramatic title track, which serves as the album’s opener, went gold in Germany and Switzerland. On 2017’s Kreise, he continues with bigger and more ambitious arrangements but you can still trust Oerding to have those quiet moments where he seems to feel most confident.
For his sixth studio album Konturen, Oerding treads the fine line between melodic ballads and overly bright pop tracks. And it pays off: his first #1 record in Germany. But with fewer bells and whistles, Oerding’s vocals remain the main focus. This is perhaps best heard on the beautifully melodic “KO.” But the duet with his longtime girlfriend, the singer and comedian Ina Müller, grabs attention, not least because “Ich hab dich nicht mehr zu verlieren” is a breakup song.
Oerding never strays too far from his bread and butter. He knows where his voice sounds the best, and he stays loyal to it. And it is difficult to blame him. 2022’s Plan A is full of bright and catchy pop tracks that are easy to listen to and like.
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Photo by Thomas Leidig, courtesy of Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion GmbH. This post contains affiliate links.