Paul Van Haver (better known by his stage name Stromae) is a Belgian singer-songwriter-composer born in 1985 in Brussels to a Belgian mother and a Rwandan father.

In his youth, Stromae played football and had drumming lessons as well as lessons in music theory. Thanks to his mother, he was already influenced by foreign music at this early stage.

Stromae and his siblings (he has three brothers and one sister) were raised by their mother. Later on, for the final few years of high school, Stromae was sent to Saint-Paul Godinne boarding school.

Initially, Stromae chose “Opsmaestro” as his stage name but later changed it to “Stromae” (an anagram of “maestro”). Aged 18, he made a mark on the music industry when he brought out the rap and video “Faut qu’t’arrêtes le rap” with his friend J.E.D.I, the two friends formed a group called “Suspicion”.

Two years later, the pair parted ways and Stromae chose to continue studying cinema at a private university. To pay his tuition fees, he worked part-time at Quick (a Belgian fast food chain). During this period, he brought out his first EP, “Juste un cerveau, un flow, un fond et un mic” which had 4 tracks on it. However Stromae quickly changed his mind and decided to study cinema at the National Institute for Radio Science and Cinematography (INRACI) instead, specialising in Sound Engineering.

Stromae signed with the music labels Because Music and Kilomaitre in 2006 and either wrote or co-wrote songs for Melissa M, Kery James, Anggun and others. In this period, Stromae also did a series of short funny educational YouTube videos called “Les leçons de Stromae” [Stromae’s Teachings] showing viewers how he composed his songs.

In 2009, Stromae worked as an intern at NRJ, a French radio station that is also broadcasted in Belgium. Julie Van Heuverswijn and Vincent Verbelen (who was in charge of Musical Programming at NRJ at the time) decided to include Stromae in their programme. At that time Stromae created Mosaert, a label of his own which was a part of Universal Music France, and he brought out two singles: “Alors on danse” and “Up Saw Liz”. On 21 June 2010, Stromae brought out his first album, “Cheese”.

The success of this album was astonishing and Stromae’s music went international. This was the true beginning of the Stromae phenomenon.