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Despite a lineup that sometimes swelled to as many as 17 members, Söhne Mannheims are best known for their frontman, Xavier Naidoo, widely considered the premier German R&B singer of his generation.
An emerging superstar in the wake of his 3P label debut, Nicht von Dieser Welt, Naidoo nevertheless mothballed his solo career in 2000 to cut a record with Söhne Mannheims, which he originally founded in 1995 with keyboardist/co-producer Michael Herberger. The original lineup also included keyboardist Florian Sitzmann, guitarists Michael Koschorreck and Andreas Bayless, bassist Robbee Mariano, drummers Ralf Gustke and Bernd Herrman, DJ Billy Davis, and backing vocalists J-Luv, Claus Eisenmann, Rolf Stahlofen, and Tino Oak. Guests like Jah Meek, Patrick Caputulo, Marlon B., and Uwe "Barton" Schäfer also contributed to Söhne Mannheims' 2000 debut LP, Zion, which launched the smash single "Geh' Devon Aus," a number two entry on the German pop charts.
The project nevertheless went on hiatus as Naidoo resumed his solo career, resurfacing in 2002 with the chart-topping Zwischenspiel/Alles für den Herrn. The second Söhne Mannheims release, Noiz, did not hit retail until 2004, but it picked up where its predecessor left off with a number one place on the German charts and a pair of Top Ten singles, "Vielleicht" and "Und Wenn Ein Lied." The live Power of the Sound appeared in 2005, followed in 2008 by Wettsingen in Schwetzingen (MTV Unplugged). In 2009, Söhne Mannheims returned with Iz On, a Top Five album in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and two years later they repeated the feat with Barrikaden von Eden. 2013 saw the release of a new single, "One Love." The following year, Naidoo once again took up his solo career, although this time the remaining members released an album in his absence, 2014's ElyZion. Sometime after the album's release, Naidoo re-joined the group alongside another former member and co-founder, Michael Herberger. This brought the total back up to 14 musicians in time for their 2017 album MannHeim, a Top Ten hit in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi