Dino Merlin

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Dino Merlin
Dino Merlin (2011).jpg
Background information
Birth name Edin Dervišhalidović
Also known as Dino Merlin
Born (1962-09-12) 12 September 1962 (age 55)
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Yugoslavia[1]
Origin  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Genres pop-rock, ethno-pop, pop, disco, world-pop
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards
Years active 1983–present
Labels Magaza, Croatia Records
Associated acts Merlin, Cat Stevens, Yoad Nevo, Richard Niles, Mustafa Sandal, Goran Bregović, Željko Joksimović, Zdravko Čolić, Nina Badrić, Esad Samardžić, Emina Jahović, Vesna Zmijanac, Hari Mata Hari
Website dinomerlin.com

Edin Dervišhalidović (pronounced [ědin derʋiʃxaːlǐdoʋitɕ]; born 12 September 1962), known by his stage name Dino Merlin (pronounced [dǐːno měrlin]), is a Bosnian singer-songwriter, musician, producer and philantropist. Nicknamed "The Wizzard", he is considered one of the most prominent and commercially successful artists ever to emerge from Bosnia and Herzegovina and former Yugoslavia. Born in Sarajevo, he first rose to fame as the founder and leader of "Merlin", which eventually became one of the best selling rock-bands of Yugoslavia.

However, Dino is recognised even more for his later solo work during which he established himself as one of the best-selling regional artists of all time, during his illustrious career he has produced 11 chart-topping albums, won numerous awards including the prestigious April 6 award of Sarajevo, and has authored the first national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is widely known for his distinctive voice, stage performances and poetic lyrics.

Early life[edit]

Edin Dervišhalidović was born on 12 September 1962 in the historic neighbourhood of Alifakovac in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was a republic of Yugoslavia at the time. The Dervišhalidović family traces its origins to Novi Pazar in Serbia. Dino's father Abid was a carpenter and came to Sarajevo as a teenager, his mother Fatima, born and raised in Sarajevo, was a female muslim cleric. His parents divorced when he was 7 years old and was subsequently raised by his single mother.[2]

Dino attended the historic Moris Moco Salom elementary school where he was very active as a child, captaining its soccer, basketball and table tennis teams, the school and its historic surroundings - Emperor's Mosque, President Tito's residence Konak (bs) and Hotel Nacional, all had an impact on his later art.

On his mother's insistence, and contrary to his own wishes of attending music school, Dino enrolled into the Sarajevo Technic High School, after school hours, he performed in a music duo with his childhood friend and keyboard player Mirsad Lutvica with whom he later established the band "Merlin". As military service was mandatory in Yugoslavia at the time, Dino was enlisted in the JNA Navy serving a one-year-term on the Brionian Islands in the Adriatic Sea. After serving in the army, he returned to Sarajevo where he briefly attended the Faculty of Traffic at the University of Sarajevo before dropping out to pursue career in music.

A year before going on military service, Dino met his future wife Amela in the courtyard of the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque after the early morning prayer during the holy month of Ramadan, they have been together ever since.

Music career[edit]

Early days[edit]

Although Dino's mother was against the idea of her son being a musician, he did help Dino buy his first guitar when he was 12 years old. Immediately after learning his first chords, Dino tried writing his own melodies and lyrics, he penned his first song when 14 years old. Dino mostly taught himself how to play the guitar even though he did take a couple of lessons from an older neighbour called Mirsad living across the street. Mirsad's younger brother Mensur Lutvica played the keyboards and went together with Dino to school, they soon became best friends and eventually became the founding members of the later band "Merlin". Mensur began accompanying Dino while performing on the streets of Sarajevo.

Dino was heavily influenced by the Yugoslavian greats Bijelo Dugme, Zdravo ČoliĆ, Kemal Monteno, Toma Zdravkovic etc. Although he always wanted to write his own songs, he did enter several music competitions covering the songs of the aforementioned artists, he would later even become close friends with Goran Bregovic, the founder and primary songwriter of Bijelo Dugme.

After enrolling to university, Dino soon formed a band with Mensur on keyboards, Amir Bjelanović "Tula" on guitar, Džafer Saračević on drums and Enver Milišić "Mili" on bass guitar, at a friend's house one night, they could not agree on the name of the band. So the drummer's girlfriend came up with the idea of everyone writing their preferred names for the band on a piece of paper so that they could later pull out the winner, the first paper that was pulled out was carrying the name "Merlin" after which they named the band.

First album, period of struggle[edit]

After completing his first semester at university, Dino soon dropped out in order to pursue music career. However, he did not have enough money to enter a recording studio, it is during this time that he married his high-school sweetheart Amela, and soon found himself working two shifts a day at a metal factory in the suburbs of Sarajevo in order to support his newly formed marriage. Dino ended up working in the factory for a couple of years before earning enough money to consider making an album, it was during the long nights at the assembly lane that he started writing most of the songs which would later be represent his first LP.

In 1984 Dino entered a local studio in Sarajevo owned by producer Brano Likić. All of the songs recorded were written by Dino while the fees of the recording were paid from Dino's personal funds, during this time, Dino was rejected by every major record label in Sarajevo. At the same time, Dino's private funds were only enough for about 6 songs with the norm of the day being 10 songs for a proper album, during the recording session of the final song, a local A&R agent Muradif Brkić entered the studio where Dino and Brano were mixing the song which later turned out be Kokuzna Vremena. After listening to the track a couple of times, Muradif offered Dino a contract with his record label "Sarajevodisk" on the spot and agreed to finance the remainder of the song recordings. Eventually, Merlin was able to release its first album in 1985 with the leading single Kokuzna vremena - the same song which gave Dino and his band a lifeline into the music industry.

With the band, he has recorded 5 studio albums: Kokuzna vremena in 1985, Teško meni sa tobom in 1986, Merlin in 1987, Nešto lijepo treba da se desi in 1989, and Peta strana svijeta in 1990.

Solo career[edit]

Dervišhalidović began his solo career under the name Dino Merlin in 1991, and recorded six studio albums: Moja bogda sna in 1993, Fotografija in 1995, Sredinom in 2000, Burek in 2004, Ispočetka in 2008, Hotel Nacional.

During the war, several members of the band "Merlin" were killed in the attacks, including their long-time manager Kemal Bisic with whom Dino was particularly close. Dino suffered a period of depression during which he contemplated abandoning music altogether.

As Dino was the sole songwriter for the band, and produced most of their work, at one point it was no surprise that he went on a solo career. Not long after the band dissolved, Merlin was invited by the state government of Bosnia to write its first ever national anthem Jedna si jedina, the song acted as the official national anthem until 1998 when it was replaced by a melody with no lyrics on the insistence of the EU. [3]

In 1993 he wrote the song and eventually participated in Bosnia's first Eurovision Song Contests, in Millstreet in 1993. Dino authored the song Sva bol svijeta (translated to English means "all the grief in the world"), the song was about the hardships the people in his home country were enduring during the war and called for peace. He again participated in the Eurovision Song Contests in Jerusalem in 1999 (singing Putnici with Béatrice, a French singer) and in 2011 with Love in Rewind. Dino Merlin has also taken part in other big European festivals, such as Copenhagen in 1996 and Turkovision in 1997.

Breaking records, major success[edit]

In 2000, aged 38, Dino wrote his most successful album to date - the famous "Sredinom" (engl. Through the middle), the album was the top-selling album in Bosnia and Herzegovina and sold in all of the countries that were once part of a united state of Yugoslavia but were now torn apart during the recent wars.

The album eventually turned into a classic and became the highest selling album of the region in the last 30 years, some estimates put the album sales at about 2,000,000 - a record breaking success considering that the whole population of Yugoslavia was about 20,000,000 people.

The subsequent tour promoting his Sredinom album, which was released in 2000, included over 200 concerts, with a spectacular record-breaking performance at the Koševo Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo, in front of an audience of about 80,000. This was the largest crowd ever to assemble on the national stadium in Bosnia's history. Dino subsequently played 3 more times at this stadium and is the only artist ever to have filled to capacity this venue 4 times.

Current success, Billboard recognition[edit]

After a 6 year hiatus, Dino returned to the stage with his eleventh album Hotel Nacional, it was released in June 2014 and was featured in the top 10 on the Billboard World Albums list immediately upon release due to unprecedented online sales in the region. This is the only album from the Balkans ever to be charted on the prestigious Billboard list, the album featured a star-studded line up of Yoad Nevo, Richard Niles, Husnu Senlendirici and many other producers that have worked for globally renown music acts such as Sugababes, Morcheeba, Lisa Ekdahl, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and many others. The Hotel Nacional World Tour has had a box office success of 700,000 people that have attended concerts across 4 continents, it is the largest tour ever to have been produced by an artist from Southeast Europe.

Philanthropy and Social Responsibility Projects[edit]

Although Dino likes to keep his humanitarian activities private and out of public sight, it is known that he is an active donor of scholarships to underprivileged children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he is a long-time member of the Hastor Foundation, biggest organisation of its kind devoted to distributing scholarships to primary and high-school students in the country. Dino acts as a sponsor to over dozen students every year and has been a member of this programme since 2008.

Dino also works pro bono as the honorary and de facto president of the assembly of AMUS - the main association of music artists of Bosnia, he has been one the of the founding members of this organisation in 2013.

During his career he has played numerous charity concerts, during the great floods which have affected the region, Dino's team was heavily involved in humanitarian works - distributing water, food, blankets and other provisions to the most endangered parts of Bosnia and Serbia.

In 2013 he has been given the International Humanitarian Award in Urfa, Turkey.

Personal life[edit]

Dino resides in his hometown of Sarajevo, in the same house and street where he was born and raised, in the historic neighbourhood of Alifakovac, he has two children. His daughter, Naida, earned her bachelor degree from Buckingham University and master degree at Oxford University, his son, Hamza, graduated from the Bosporus University in Istanbul and Humboldt University of Berlin.

Dino is an avid chess player, skier, art collector and book reader, he is known for reading several books simultaneously. Dino also owns a record label and concept store in the centre of Sarajevo, in the old city centre of Baščaršija.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Merlin[edit]

Solo career[edit]

DVDs[edit]

BluRays[edit]

Singles[edit]

Tours[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Alma Čardžić
with "Goodbye"
Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest
(with Béatrice Poulot)
1999
Succeeded by
Nino Pršeš
with "Hano"
Preceded by
Vukašin Brajić
with "Thunder and Lightning"
Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest
2011
Succeeded by
MayaSar
with "Korake ti znam"