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Music

Cascada singer's father: 'Follow your heart'

As lead singer of the dance band Cascada, Natalie Horler has sold millions of CDs. The attractive Bonn singer comes from a musical family. Her father, David, says: "The band has the will to succeed!"

Richard Strauss, Frédéric Chopin and Kenny Wheeler are among jazz musician David Horler's favorite composers. He sees no contradiction in this: "There's only good and bad music," he told DW, "whether pop, classical, jazz or rock. Heart and soul are what make good music. It's what moves you."

The 69-year-old jazz trombonist studied in London, was a member of the BBC Radio Orchestra in the 1970s, and then played with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby. In 1980, he became a trombonist, composer and arranger for the West German Broadcasting (WDR) Dance Orchestra, which would later become the WDR Big Band. Horler lives in Bonn.

Getting into pop - or not

"I came to Bonn because it was easier for me to be a real musician in Germany than in England," he said. His daughter Natalie heard him practicing jazz and classical music pieces at home. "But Natalie loved Mariah Carey. And when she was very young, she always sang 'Underneath The Stars'. Then I arranged it at home, and we recorded it. She sung it wonderfully," David said.

Dave Horler Copyright: WDR/Ines Kaiser

Horler has had a long musical career

Pop was and is not David's thing. Natalie: "My father thinks it's all pretty simplistic, but he is also incredibly proud of me." And actually, he hardly even cares that what she does is dance music, the Cascada frontwoman adds.

"'You have to follow your heart. You have to do what you think is right,' I've always told Natalie. And as a musician you need the absolute will to make it to the stage," said David Horler.

Natalie took her first singing lessons at the age of 14. Then she started singing once or twice a week at a cocktail bar in Bonn, before landing her first studio gigs at age 17.

A miracle

Natalie took the decisive step in 2002: forming the band Cascada along with Bonn-based producers DJ Marian Bonner, aka Manuel Reuter, and Yanou, aka Yann Peifer. In clubs, DJ Marian tests which sounds and beats work on the dance floor. Yanou writes the songs and tinkers with the arrangements. And tempermental Natalie, with her Rhenish good cheer and sex appeal, brings that music across to the fans.

Cascade/Natalie Horler at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö Copyright: EBU/ Sander Hestermann

Cascade/Natalie Horler at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö

Nearly ten years ago, Cascada's first single, "Miracle," proved to be a miracle itself, making it into the German charts at 32nd place. The dancefloor wonder landed in the Top Ten in Great Britain and hit number one in France.

Storming the charts

The three musicians from Bonn have had repeated success with cover versions of famous songs such as Maggie Reilly's "Everytime We Touch," which went gold and platinum in five countries. A cover of the country song "What Hurts the Most" by American Mark Wills and their second album, "Perfect Day," were mega-sellers in 2007.

And in 2009, with "Evacuate The Dancefloor," Natalie and Band even pushed then recently deceased Michael Jackson from Number One in the English charts. "She's very talented, and has an impressive, great voice," said David. "Whether or not I have something to do with that, I have no idea."

Like father, like daughter: Natalie and David performing at a final concert before David's retirement Copyright: WDR/Ines Kaiser

Like father, like daughter: performing together onstage

When David retired in 2008 from the WDR Big Band, there were two farewell concerts. Daughter Natalie was at both. "I asked her if she would sing my new arrangement of 'Underneath The Stars.' And she did!"

Despite Cascada's poor showing at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, it is considered one of the world's most successful dance music acts. The band has garnered major international music awards, sold more than 30 million records and conquered the international charts with its singles. David Horler is proud of his daughter: "She works hard, and I wish her the best of luck!"

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