7 Iconic Musicians From Berlin

Photo of Svetlana Putintseva
24 April 2017

Berlin is a city which has become a muse to many musicians. This city attracts artists thanks to its special creative atmosphere. Some people are just lucky to be born or raised in Berlin. Here we profile several diverse musicians who originally came from Berlin, and who were inspired by the great city.

Marlene Dietrich | Ŧhe ₵oincidental Ðandy/Flickr

Marlene Dietrich

This worldwide fashion icon and actress was a singer as well. Marlene Dietrich was born in Berlin in the beginning of the 20th century. Her first stage appearances were as a chorus girl in one of the cabarets in Berlin. She continued to conquer show business by acting on the stage and in silent movies. After being noticed in Germany, Dietrich moved to the United States and made her career there. She returned to Germany only after World War II with a concert tour. The public were divided into two parts: some supported Dietrich and warmly welcomed her back, while others saw her as a betrayer of the homeland. However, these arguments have already vanished in time, and she is now recognised as one of Berlin’s greatest treasures.

Rammstein | Jonas Rogowski/WikiCommons


Rammstein is one of the first associations that comes to mind when people speak about Germany. But few people know that the group is originally from Berlin. They started in 1994 and gained popularity very quickly. From 1996 the group also became prominent outside of Germany, and started their concert tours worldwide. Each show of Rammstein was (and still is!) a performance in which they use a lot of pyrotechnics to galvanize the crowd. Since the formation the group is still devoted to the principles that they established in the beginning, of putting on an immense spectacle for their audience.

Paul Kalkbrenner | Zeitfixierer/WikiCommons

Paul Kalkbrenner

People who are not familiar with the electronic music scene in Germany may know this DJ from the famous movie Berlin Calling, in which Kalkbrenner played musician who is mentally destroyed by the scene. The film enjoyed the longest cinema run ever in Germany, at 145 weeks. Paul Kalbrenner was 13 when the Berlin Wall came down. At this early age he started to play techno in German youth clubs, while also studying music theory and trumpet. He started producing his own music at 18 when he could afford his own machines. Since that time he has continuously been releasing quality electronic music.

Wir sind Helden | Tsui/WikiCommons

Wir sind Helden

‘Helden’ means ‘heroes’, which references another German group just called Helden. The new Helden say that they are inspired by David Bowie and his song ‘Heroes’. The group was founded in 2000 in Berlin, and they first experienced success in 2002, when MTV Germany played their song ‘Guten Tag’. Their style is usually considered pop or pop rock. Although this band is mostly popular in Germany, Wir sind Helden have also released their albums in France and Japan.

Tim Bendzko

This handsome guy from the Köpenick district in Berlin started his musical career with the talent competition called Söhne gesucht. He won it and after signed a contract with Sony Music. In two years Bendzo achieved recognition with the song ‘Nur noch kurz die Welt retten’. While saving the world through this song he obtained a lot of fans in the whole Germany and sold over 500,000 album copies. Tim writes his meaningful songs by himself.

Sido | Sven-Sebastian Sajak (Sven0705)/WikiCommons

Paul Würdig or Sido

This German rapper with Sinti roots spent his childhood in the poorer districts of Berlin as an asylum seekers. That time influenced his world views which he expresses in his music, although he tries to distinguish himself with the aggressive lyrics that he performs. He started his career in 1997 by working in duo with his best friend. He obtained popularity only in 2002 when he released his first solo track. He always tries to create a mystery around himself, media writes a lot of rumors about his private life, which he confirms or denies very rarely.


Do not mix MIA with the British rapper or Californian band! MIA is a German band which originally formed in 1997 in Berlin. MIA is an abbreviation of ‘Me in Affairs’ or ‘Musik ist Alles’ (music is everything). The bands plays German rock music. The group is famous for theor provocative song ‘Was es ist’ (What it is) which portrays Germany’s difficult history and politics. In 2009 the band took a break for one year to have a rest. That deicision was beneficial for them, in 2011 the single ‘Fallschirm’ (Parachute) from their new album Tachelles peaked in 11th place in the German charts.

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