13 July 1953|
Titovo U?ice, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
|Genres||rock, jazz rock, synthpop, pop rock, folk rock, children's music, New Romanticism, new wave|
|Singer, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, piano|
|1970 – present|
|Labels||PGP-RTB, Jugoton, PGP-RTS, City Records, Komuna|
|Pop Ma?ina, Oliver, Riblja ?orba|
Musically involved from a young age, Mandi? first started playing the accordion before taking up the piano. In his early youth, Mandi?'s family moved to the capital Belgrade where he pursued a career of a pianist after getting accepted at highly reputable Kornelije Stankovi? musical high school. However, despite a lot of promise, he left school in 1969 to try to branch out into pop music.
Towards the end of 1971, he formed the jazz-rock band Oliver, which consisted of Mandi?, members of the progressive rock band Pop Ma?ina and singer Du?an Prelevi?. Functioning as a supergroup of sorts, the band had only one live appearance, on 2 January 1972, at a concert in Belgrade's Hala sportova.
In 1974, with Prelevi?, he recorded the 7" single "Tajna" / "Pro?lo je sve" ("Secret" / "Everything's Over"), which was released under the Oliver moniker.
In 1976, Mandi? performed at the BOOM festival as member of Beogradska Rock Selekcija, an ad-hoc band assembled specifically for the occasion, featuring Robert Neme?ek (bass guitar), Zoran Bo?inovi? (guitar), Lazar To?i? (drums), Stjepko Gut (trumpet), Jovan Maljokovi? (saxophone), Ivan ?vager (saxophone), and others. That gig brought Mandi? his first eccentric episode in public, something he would become known for later on, as he smashed his synthesizer on stage and walked out in the middle of the performance unhappy with the level of commitment his fellow musicians were putting forth.
Mandi? started his solo career in 1978 with the single "Ljuljaj me ne?no" ("Rock Me Gently"). He composed the song, with Marina Tucakovi?'s lyrics, for the singer Maja Od?aklievska, however, since she failed to show up in Split studio Tetrapak for a booked recording session, Mandi? was persuaded by producer Enco Lesi? to record it himself. The material was released the same year as a two-side single "Ljuljaj me ne?no" / "?uma" by PGP-RTB, garnering positive reactions both commercially and critically. A year later, Mandi? recorded another successful single, featuring the songs "Sutra imam prazan stan" ("Tomorrow I'll Have an Empty Flat") and the ballad "Osloni se na mene" ("Lean on Me").
Zdravko ?oli? came calling next, inviting Mandi? as guest on his country-wide tour that included stadiums and sports arenas. Mandi?'s part in the show consisted of coming out in the middle of ?oli?'s performance and doing only "Ljuljaj me ne?no", which had by that time become a sizable hit.
In 1980, Madi? released his debut album, entitled Probaj me (Try Me), produced by Peter MacTaggart. All the songs were composed by Mandi?, and the lyrics were written by Marina Tucakovi?. The album brought hits "Nije za nju" ("Not for Her"), "Samo nebo zna (Polude?u)" ("Sky Only Knows (I'll Go Crazy)") and rerecorded "Osloni se na mene". The album was promoted with a TV show Beograd no?u (Belgrade at Night), directed by Stanko Crnobrnja. The ambitiously avantgarde programme even won Rose d'Or award at the 1981 Montreux TV festival. Mandi?'s controversial image on the show, created by conceptual artist Kosta Bunu?evac, raised quite a public furor due to the singer's cross-dressing and aggressive makeup. His androgynous image, which the Yugoslav audience found especially shocking in the early 1980s, attracted considerable media attention.
In 1982, Mandi? released his second studio album, Zbog tebe bih tucao kamen (I Would Break Rocks for You). The album was recorded in Switzerland and produced by Mandi? and MacTaggart. It featured Nenad "Japanac" Stefanovi? on bass guitar, ?i?i Jankeli? on drums, Aleksandar Milovanovi? on guitar, Laza Ristovski on keyboards, Mi?a Markovi? on saxophone, Stjepko Gut on trumpet, and Bebi Dol on backing vocals, and the cover art was designed by Mirko Ili?. The album brought hits "Smejem se, a plakao bih" ("I'm Laughing, but I Feel Like Crying"), "Neverne Bebe" ("Unfaithful Babies") and "Sve su seke jebene" ("All the Girls Have Been Fucked", with lyrics written after the motifs from Serbian erotic folk poetry collected by Vuk Stefanovi? Karad?i?).
In 1984, Mandi? appeared at the MESAM festival for the first time, performing the folk-inspired song "Pitaju me, pitaju" ("They're Asking Me, They're Asking"), for which the lyrics were written by Marina Tucakovi?. The same year Mandi? produced D' Boys album Muvanje (Hitting On).
In 1985, he released the album Do?e mi da vrisnem tvoje ime (I Feel like Screaming Your Name), which brought folk-inspired hits "Pomagajte drugovi" ("Help Me, My Friends"), with which he won the first place at the 1985 MESAM festival, and "Bobane" ("Oh, Boban..."). During the same year, Mandi? took part in YU Rock Misija, Yugoslav contribution to Live Aid.
After playing a show with Laza Ristovski at Sava Centar in 1985, Mandi? began keeping a noticeably lower profile on the pop scene. He got an executive job at the PGP-RTB record label, where he stayed for most of 1986 and 1987, before releasing a greatest hits compilation Sve najbolje (All the Best) that marked the 10th anniversary of his solo career. The same year, 1987, saw Mandi? team up with Nik?a Brato? to produce Boris Novkovi?'s second album Ja?i od sudbine, which sold very well. Mandi? also received an offer to produce Plavi Orkestar's second album Smrt fa?izmu, but turned it down.
For the remainder of the decade Mandi? recorded an album of children's music Deca bez adrese (Children without an Address) with popular children's entertainer and TV personality Branko Kockica, and in 1989 he again collaborated with his old friend Du?an Prelevi? who wrote a screenplay for the movie Poslednji krug u Monci. Mandi? recorded the movie's title track "Odlazim, a volim te", which became a sizable commercial hit. The song, along with some other material that Mandi? used in the movie, all came from the recordings he made with different musicians such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Pat Metheny while staying in the United States during the late 1980s.
In the early 1990s, he became involved with Serbian paramilitary leader ?eljko Ra?natovi? "Arkan", whom he knew since childhood. Mandi? was often seen wearing the Serbian Volunteer Guard uniform, and even made a couple of trips to the front-lines in Slavonia, where according to most accounts, his role was distributing food and cigarettes in the Guard's Erdut headquarters.
Towards the end of 1991, Mandic became an extended member of Riblja ?orba. The idea was to include Mandi? in the creative process of the band's planned farewell album Labudova pesma by having him write and compose half of the songs, and later, upon its release, tour as their keyboards player. The material was recorded in Vienna, but as it was being prepared for wide release a huge row erupted between Mandi? and band leader Bora ?or?evi?. As a result, Mandi? demanded that all his tracks be removed, and even obtained a court-ordered junction prohibiting their release. In the end, the album's released version contained only eight tracks - half of the originally planned number, and it also ended up not being Riblja ?orba's last as they soon changed their minds, deciding to continue playing and recording. On the other hand, raw studio versions of Mandi?'s unreleased tracks have since then become rare and valuable collector's items.
Over the next period Mandi? placed music on the back-burner completely, choosing to live off releasing greatest hits compilations. In 1993, the compilation album Smejem se, a plakao bih was released, which sold surprisingly well in the hyperinflation-ridden FR Yugoslavia. In 1994, the compilation album The Best Of was released, featuring the previously never officially released, although already widely played hit "Odlazim, a volim te".
In 1997, Mandi? finished the recording of his fourth studio album, with the working title Kad ljubav ubije (When Love Kills). The album featured the material recorded in the United States during the late 1980s, as well as new material, and featured guest appearances by Freddie Hubbard, Vlatko Stefanovski, Bebi Dol and Radomir Mihailovi? To?ak. The album, however, remains unreleased until the present day.
At the end of 2007, Mandi? made another partial comeback with a song "Vreme za ljubav isti?e" ("Time for Love Is Running Out"), which featured folk singer Svetlana "Ceca" Ra?natovi? on vocals. The song was released, alongside Mandi?'s old hits, on the compilation album Vreme za ljubav isti?e. Promoting the release of Vreme za ljubav isti?e, Mandi? stated that this does not mean he is returning to a full singing career that ended in 1985, also stating that he might release Kad vreme ljubav ubije.
In 2010, Mandi? wrote the song "Probudi se na ?as" ("Wake Up for a Moment"), dedicated to deceased Macedonian pop singer To?e Proeski. He performed the song, with guest appearances by Bebi Dol on vocals and ?eljko Mitrovi? on guitar, on a concert held in Skopje and dedicated to Proeski.
Serbian glam metal band Karizma covered Mandi?'s song "Ljuljaj me ne?no" on their 1992 album U snovima (In the Dreams). Serbian pop rock band covered Mandi?'s song "Nije za nju" on their 1993 album ?ta bih dao da sam na tvom mjestu (What Would I Give to Be in Your Shoes).Croatian funk band Fali V covered Mandi?'s song "Sve je propalo" on their 1999 album Viso?ije od kolena (Up the Knees). Serbian rock singer Viktorija covered Mandi?'s song "Polude?u" on her 2000 live album Nostalgija (Nostalgia). The song "Odlazim, a volim te" was sampled by the Serbian hip hop band Sha-Ila in their track of the same title, released on their 2000 album Totalito Pervertito. Serbian gothic metal band Darkshines recorded a cover of the song "Pitaju me, pitaju", releasing it as a single in 2011.
The book YU 100: najbolji albumi jugoslovenske rok i pop muzike (YU 100: The Best albums of Yugoslav pop and rock music) features two Oliver Mandi? albums: Probaj me (polled No. 15) and Sve najbolje (polled No. 51).
The B92 Top 100 Domestic Songs list features three songs by Mandi?: "Nije za nju" (polled No. 53), "Osloni se na mene" (polled No. 59) and "Smejem se, a plakao bih" (polled No. 67). In 2011, the song "Osloni se na mene" was voted, by the listeners of Radio 202, one of 60 greatest songs released by PGP-RTB/PGP-RTS during the sixty years of the label's existence.
The lyrics of the song "Govor tvog tela" ("Your Body Language"), written by Marina Tucakovi?, were featured in Petar Janjatovi?'s book Pesme bratstva, detinjstva & potomstva: Antologija ex YU rok poezije 1967 - 2007 (Songs of Brotherhood, Childhood & Offspring: Anthology of Ex YU Rock Poetry 1967 - 2007).
Since the late 1990s, Mandi? has been active as a club owner and restaurateur.
On 27 December 2010, Mandi?'s partner Maja Kozlica gave birth to their daughter.