Vanessa Ferber (born 2 May 1992), known professionally as Vanessa Mai, is a German singer. She first gained notoriety as a member of schlager band Wolkenfrei and later began working as a solo artist following the band's split. She chose her stage name as a reference to her birth month, which is spelled Mai in German.
Life and career
Vanessa Mai completed a media designer apprenticeship. She had one of her first performances as a singer in the school musical The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Before that, she had occasionally accompanied her father, a musician born in Croatia, with the tambourine. In 2008, aged 15, she took part to the hip-hop world championship in Las Vegas, placing last, as part of the dance formation Getting Craz'd, who were German champions.
In 2012, she met Andrea Berg's stepson Andreas Ferber, who became her manager, in a Stuttgart club, and began dating him in 2013. After getting engaged in early 2016, they got married in June 2017. The civil marriage took place on June 6, while the church wedding took place in Mallorca on June 12.
In the summer of 2012, then-singer of Wolkenfrei, Heike Wanner, left the band for health reasons. While attending a concert of her father's band Musik-Express at the Sonnenhof in Aspach, Vanessa Mai was enlisted as a singer by Wolkenfrei member Marc Fischer. On July 19, 2013, their début single "Jeans, T-Shirts und Freiheit" (English: "Jeans, T-Shirts, and freedom") was released. It was followed by their début studio album Endlos verliebt (English: "Endlessly in Love") in February 2014, which charted in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In January 2015, it was announced that Mai was the new face of the campaign Mein Herz schlägt Schlager. She promoted it through an ad as well as with the song "Mein Herz schlägt Schlager", which was released on a sampler album belonging to the project.
In April 2015, Marc Fischer and Stefan Kinski announced that they were leaving Wolkenfrei, leading to the project being represented only by Mai (mostly as "Wolkenfrei-Star Vanessa Mai"). "Wolke 7", the first single from Wolkenfrei's second studio album, was released on May 22. The album, titled Wachgeküsst, was released on July 10. A day before, Deutsches Musik Fernsehen had dedicated a 65-minute television special to Mai and to the album. Due to Mai's extensive television presence, including an appearance on Florian Silbereisen's ARD show Die Besten im Sommer with the song "Wolke 7", the album reached place 7 of the German albums chart and also charted in Austria and Switzerland. The single "Wolke 7" reached place 54 in Germany and 71 in Austria. On September 18, "Wachgeküsst", the album's title track, was released as its second single. On October 9, Mai's first live album (still as Wolkenfrei), Wachgeküsst (Live), was released. The last single "In all deinen Farben" (English: "In All Your Colours") was released on December 11, followed a week later by a non-album Christmas single titled "Ein Engel in der Weihnachtszeit" (English: "An Angel at Christmas Time").
2016–present: Abandonment of the Wolkenfrei name and solo career
From January to May 2016, Vanessa Mai was a judge on the thirteenth season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar, the German version of Pop Idol and American Idol. In February, she announced her decision to not use the stage name Wolkenfrei anymore. Her first single under the name Vanessa Mai, titled "Ich sterb für dich" (English: "I Die For You"), was released on February 19. It preceded her first studio album under the name Vanessa Mai and third studio album overall, Für Dich (English: "For You"), which was released on April 15. The single as well as the album were produced by her Deutschland sucht den Superstar colleague Dieter Bohlen. From September to November, Mai went on her first solo tour, which visited Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland for 26 dates. A live album titled Für Dich – Live aus Berlin, recorded at the Tempodrom in Berlin, was released on January 6, 2017. From March to May, she took part in the tenth season of Let's Dance, the German version of Strictly Come Dancing, and placed second. On April 3, Mai announced her second solo studio album and fourth overall with the single "Und wenn ich träum" (English: "And When I Dream"). On July 18, she released her first best-of, titled Für Dich – Akustik Best Of (English: "For You: Accoustic Best-of"), available only as a download through Tchibo's homepage as well as in all their shops in Germany. On August 4, she released the second single from her then-upcoming second solo album, "Nie wieder" (English: "Never Again"). The album was released a week later under the title Regenbogen (English: "Rainbow"), which, like its predecessor, was produced by Bohlen. In November, Mai and Bohlen announced the end of their professional relationship.
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