Dino Merlin, born Edin Dervišhalidović on September 12, 1962, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a renowned Bosnian singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He grew up in the historic Alifakovac neighborhood of Sarajevo. Despite his mother’s initial reluctance, Dino pursued a career in music, forming his first band, Merlin, with childhood friends.
Merlin’s early life was marked by his parents’ divorce when he was seven, leading him to be raised by his mother. His musical journey began with a gift of a guitar from his mother at the age of 12. By 14, he was writing his own songs, heavily influenced by Yugoslavian musicians like Bijelo Dugme and Zdravko Čolić. In university, he formed the band Merlin, which started his musical journey in earnest.
Merlin’s early career was not without struggles. He had to work in a metal factory to support his family while trying to make a mark in the music industry. His perseverance paid off when he released his first album with his band in 1985. The band Merlin went on to record five studio albums, gaining significant popularity.
During the Bosnian War, Merlin faced personal loss with several members of his band Merlin, including their long-time manager, being killed in attacks. This period marked a challenging phase in his life, leading to a brief contemplation of abandoning music. However, Merlin’s resilience and passion for music prevailed.
In 1991, Merlin embarked on a solo career, releasing several successful albums such as “Moja bogda sna” (1993), “Fotografija” (1995), and the highly acclaimed “Sredinom” (2000). This album, in particular, became a massive hit, selling around 2,000,000 copies in the former Yugoslav republics. Merlin’s solo career also saw him perform at large venues, including a record-breaking concert at the Koševo Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo.
Merlin’s music style is predominantly pop, incorporating elements of rock, folk, jazz, and classical music. His lyrics often explore themes like love, loss, nostalgia, and social issues. He has collaborated with various artists, including Haris Džinović and Goran Bregović, and has won numerous awards, such as the Zlatni melos, MTV Europe Music Awards, and Porin awards.
Notably, Merlin represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest on several occasions. He wrote and performed “Sva bol svijeta” in 1993 and collaborated with French singer Béatrice in 1999 for the song “Putnici.” His contributions to music and culture have made him one of the most influential figures in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Following the year 2000, Dino Merlin’s career continued to flourish, solidifying his status as one of the most prominent figures in the music scene of the Balkans. His album “Sredinom,” released in 2000, was a monumental success, becoming the top-selling album in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the former Yugoslav republics. The album’s remarkable sales, estimated around 2,000,000 copies, set a new benchmark in the region. Merlin’s “Sredinom” tour comprised over 200 concerts, including a historic, record-breaking performance at the Koševo Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo, attracting an audience of approximately 80,000 people.
He was also deeply involved in the cultural and national identity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Merlin was invited by the Bosnian state government to write its first-ever national anthem, “Jedna si jedina,” which served as the state’s anthem until the late 1990s. His Eurovision participation continued, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina again in 2011 with the song “Love in Rewind.”In 2021, Merlin released the single “Jedan dan jedna noć”. followed in 2022 by “Krive karte” and “Kako da ti kažem”. In November 2023, his song “Skoro će zima” came out.