|Estimated value:||€10 million|
|Country of origin:||Austria|
|Source of Wealth:||Singer|
He believes in Jesus and in his hat – both of which make him strong and hopeful. He beat cancer and is grateful for everything life has given him. And with over 16 million albums sold, he has every reason to be happy and to see himself as a winner: DJ Ötzi, fun cannon and stand-up man, believer and loving family man. Without him and his music, a party in an alpine hut would be about as boring as February without carnival.
Gerhard “Gerry” Friedle’s mother is a 17-year-old teenager when she spends a one-off night with DJ Anton Friedle. She becomes pregnant and immediately gives the child, Gerhard, to a foster family. The biological father doesn’t know anything about his son until he finds out two years later from a letter from the youth welfare office. He puts Gerhard in the care of his grandparents. Gerhard now lives in Oetz, a village with then 1000 inhabitants, where he feels like an outsider. He is bullied and also suffers from epileptic seizures. After secondary school and a boarding school, grandmother Ella advises him to train as a cook, which he then does.
At the age of 16, Gerhard suddenly turns his back on his home and leaves his grandparents. However, contact with the latter should never dry up completely. The relationship with his biological parents, however, is still tense today. In any case, he can’t cope alone. Despite his apprenticeship as a cook, he cannot find a job. He has no money and no roof over his head, sleeps under bridges. His girlfriend at the time and his grandmother eventually bring him back to normal life.
At some point Gerhard sings a song by Janis Joplin for his girlfriend in a karaoke bar in Obergurgl. And he finds to his amazement: he has singing talent and the audience likes him. A turning point in his life. He decides to become a musician and sends some demos to producers. But it doesn’t want to work that well. So Gerhard tries to be a DJ – first in Austria, then also in Mallorca and Turkey. He does this for eight years.
During this time, the producer team “Ultimatief” noticed him and asked him if he would like to sing a pop song called “Anton aus Tirol”. Gerhard is initially skeptical. He actually wants to sing Deutschrock, but his grandmother encourages him and after a first hearing prophesies: “It will be a hit!”. and thats the way it is. The song, which goes by the name of Anton feat. DJ Ötzi is released, dominates the hit parades, not only in Gerhard’s home country of Austria, but also in Germany and Switzerland. An album follows, which is simply called “The Album”.
In the year 2000 luck strikes. Gerhard’s single “Hey Baby”, a cover version of the Bruce Channel song from 1961, becomes an unprecedented success. The song stayed in the charts in 20 countries, 40 weeks of it in Austria. Gerhard receives numerous awards, is a welcome guest on show stages everywhere, even in Great Britain, where his song reaches number 1. In Australia, too, it occupies the top position. Gerhard, alias DJ Ötzi, enjoys great popularity wherever there is a party, be it on the beach or on the ski slopes. His trademark: a crocheted hat made by Grandma Ella.
In the three years that followed, some albums and songs were released that were not as highly praised by critics as the previous works. It wasn’t until 2006 that Gerhard again had notable success in Austria with the song “7 Sins”. But Gerhard is not doing well. Suddenly he can no longer really identify with his role as a party hero, he doesn’t just want to be “Mr. Ötzi of the ski hut”. Depression creeps in, suicidal thoughts. But he is undergoing therapy and is fit again for 2007, which brings him one of his greatest successes.
Together with Nik P. Gerhard sings “A Star (that bears your name)”. The song stayed in the German charts for 107 weeks, 41 weeks in the top ten and 11 weeks at number 1. The song is also a hit in various other European countries. “Ein Stern” is said to be Gerhard’s most successful song and has sold over 1 million copies. The accompanying album “Sternstunden” also became one of the most successful albums of the year.
In the years that followed, Gerhard released six more albums, gave concerts, appeared on television and at events. Finally, in 2019 he released the double album “20 Years DJ Ötzi” with 40 songs, including his best-known German and English songs as well as a few new ones.
Gerhard’s perseverance and optimism are to be admired, considering that he has not always experienced the sunny side of life. He also had to go through a lot in his life in terms of health. Apart from the psychological problems, he developed testicular cancer at a young age and later suffered from sudden hearing loss. But his family and last but not least his grandmother Ella were always by his side and helped him in these difficult times. And it was very likely his strong belief that made him get up again and again.
Gerhard Friedle lives in Salzburg with his wife Sonja and daughter Lisa-Marie.
Gerhard managed to break two records. For one, he is the first Austrian artist to ever make it to #1 in the UK and Australia. Furthermore, he won the Austrian Amadeus Austrian Music Award eight times – apart from the fact that he was nominated for the same eight times. He also won the Echo twice and was honored three times with the “Crown of Folk Music”. He received about 30 gold and platinum records for his albums. It is estimated that he earns EUR 25,000 per performance.
Gerhard Friedle says about his beginnings in show business: “Actually, I didn’t have a chance, but I took full advantage of it” and “Think big, but start small.” He also philosophizes about life: “You also have to recognize happiness. Lots of people are lucky but don’t realize it.”
Numerous illnesses, confronting oneself and the past, then great success – you can’t just put it all away. Gerhard Friedle regained strength and calm and above all his center when he decided to walk the Way of St. James. This helped him to overcome his self-doubt and to be proud of himself for a change. The devout Partystadl star has already walked the path twice. A third time is planned.
|Estimated value:||€10 million|