Dima Bilan was born as Victor Belan on December 24, 1981. He was born in Ust-Dzheguta, in the Autonomous Soviet Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia. He took part in several music competitions. For example, he won the “Young Voices of the Caucasus” competition. His first performance on television was in 1995, also in a talent show. In 1998, when he was 16 years old, he went to Moscow to participate in the Chunga-Changa festival, where the chairman of the jury gave him a diploma. He chose ‘Dima Bilan’ as his stage name; Dmitriy was his grandfather’s name. So Dima is a tribute to him.
Breakthrough and first two albums
Once he lived in Moscow, Dima began to record his first songs. The video of his debut single “Osen” became a success. The video was shot in the Gulf of Finland. At the time, under the pseudonym Dima Belan, he was regularly seen on MTV Russia.
Although he studied to become an opera singer, he dreamed of a career as a pop singer. The dream came true when a classmate introduced him to producer Yuri Aizenshpis. His first real big success came in 2002, when he took fourth place in the New Wave festival. A new single and video, “Boom”, followed and in 2003 there was Dima Bilan’s debut album “Ya nochnoy huligan”. Television appearances followed, and his single “Na beregu neba” reached number 2 in the Russian charts. The album with the same name went gold in 2004. It became one of the best-selling albums of 2004 in Russia.
First steps in the field of Eurovision
After this success, producer Aizenshpis registered Bilan to participate in the national final of the Eurovision Song Contest. He sang in English: “Not that simple”. Although he was close, Dima Bilan didn’t win the ticket to the Eurovision song contest in Kiev. He did, however, have a hit with the song. The Russian version “”Ty dolzhna ryadom byt'” became one of the biggest hits of 2005. Several other hits followed. When Yuri Aizenshpis passed away in late 2005, producers lined up to take Dima under their wing, eventually Yana became Rudkovskaya his new producer. That caused another problem with his name, because it was officially owned by Aizenshpis’ company. When this conflict was resolved, Dima decided to officially register under the name Dima Bilan.
In 2006, the Russian broadcaster wanted to be sure that Dima Bilan would represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. They decided to single him out without a national final. His song “Never let you go” did very well: a second place was awarded to him. Never had a Russian candidate finished higher. He subsequently represented Russia at the MTV Europe Awards and won an Award as best-selling Russian singer at the World Music Awards.
Winning the Eurovision Song Contest
In 2007, Dima Bilan recorded an English-language album with the famous producers Jim Beanz and Ryan Tedder. Again, he won awards at the MTV Russia Award. In 2008 a new Russian album was released. He also took part in the national final for the Eurovision song contest again. During the contest in Belgrade he sang “Believe”. The song was co-written by Jim Beanz. Dima was accompanied by Hungarian violinist Edvin Barton and Olympic figure skating champion Evgeni Plushenko. Dima Bilan managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest.
No return to Eurovision
The album “Believe” soon followed. In 2010, Dima Bilan had a song ready to participate in the Eurovision song contest: “White nights”. However, he decided not to. Joining again two years later would be too soon, according to Bilan. In that year he did play the lead role in a short film. In 2011, he released another new Russian album. The return to the song contest came in 2012: in duet with Yulia Volkova (known from t.A.T.u.), “Back to her future”. Despite their favorite role, they did not win but had to make do with second place.
After the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, Dima Bilan released four more studio albums. He was also a coach in several seasons of the Russian version of The Voice. He was in the chair in seasons 1 through 3, in seasons 5 and 6, and will soon be seen again in season 10. He also coached the first four seasons of The Voice Kids in Russia.