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Sandra Ann Lauer, stage name Sandra (born 18 May 1962) is a German pop singer, who dominated European charts with eighteen top 20 hits during the 1980s and early 1990s, with the help of her then-husband and musical partner, Michael Cretu. During a brief height of popularity, she even outsold Madonna in a number of countries around the world. At the start of her career, from 1979 to 1984, she was the lead singer of the female disco/dance trio Arabesque, which had a massive following in Japan and Russia. Subsequently a solo performer, she had her first international #1 hit-single "(I'll Never Be) Maria Magdalena" in 1985, followed by "In the Heat of the Night". In 1986 it was "Hi! Hi! Hi!", then "Everlasting Love" in 1987, "Heaven Can Wait" in 1988 and "Hiroshima" in 1990. Her top-rated albums are 1988's Into a Secret Land and 1992's Close to Seven. Between 1990 and 2001, she provided vocals on album releases of the very successful group Enigma, which had top 10 hits in America and Britain. With a unique high-pitched singing style, she has topped the charts from as far afield as Egypt, South Africa, Israel, Japan and Brazil, as well as closer to home in Sweden and France. A cult star with a devoted fan base, she remains one of the most popular singers of the 1980s in Continental Europe. With sales in excess of 30 million records worldwide, Sandra has established her position as the most successful German pop female vocalist.. Sandra Ann Lauer was born in the German town of Saarbrücken, close to the French border. Her father, Robert, who owned a wine store in Saarbrücken, is French and her mother, Karin, who worked in a shoe store, is German. Sandra also had an older brother, Gaston, a paraplegic who died in 1995. Sandra showed an early interest in music and dancing. She started to learn classical ballet at the age of 5 and had continued lessons for ten years. When she was 10 years old, she received a guitar and took lessons from a school teacher.. In 1975, at the age of thirteen, Sandra went with her mother to see "Young Star Festival", a Saarbrücken talent competition, which sought to discover new performers for the music industry. Although she was not a contestant, but simply a member of the audience, when all the participants finished performing and the jury was discussing the results, she told her mother that she needed to go the ladies' room, then stood up, walked onto the stage, persuaded the DJ to put on the German cover version of a song made famous by Olivia Newton-John, grabbed the microphone and started singing. The recognition gained by the impromptu performance enabled her to gain a professional release for the children's song about a pet dog, "Andy Mein Freund". The single, however, performed poorly on charts dominated by disco mania and she received no other recording offers....
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