Singer-songwriter Rolf Zukowski publishes his autobiography NDR.de – Culture

Status: 05/05/2022 4:00 PM

“How Beautiful I Was Born” is one of the most popular birthday songs. The blow came from Rolf Zukowski, who is now publishing his autobiography. On May 12, Hamburger will turn 75 years old.

His songs are catchy, some of which you can never get rid of. The Hamburg-based singer-songwriter is one of the most commercially successful artists in Germany with over 20 million records sold. He started on vinyl and now has his own Tik-Tok channel with nearly 90,000 fans. The Hamburg singer-songwriter has long since retired from the stage. On May 12 he celebrates his seventy-fifth birthday. Shortly before that, the undisputed star in the sky of children’s song published his autobiography “A little courage, a little luck”, which will be released on May 6.


video: Biography: The Musical Life of Rolf Zukowski (3 min)

Hamburg-based singer-songwriter Rolf Zukowski writes about his life

Hamburg musician Rolf Zukowski in April 2022 in Laichle with guitar © Ulrich Perrey / dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++ Photo: Ulrich Perrey

“Music is the best way to keep a child alive,” says singer-songwriter Rolf Zukowski in Hamburg. “That’s why I really want to stay a singer.”

“As a songwriter, you always need the luck to meet people, learn ideas, pick up things that you can compose a song from. Then you have to have the courage to stick with it. In that sense, a bit of a life mantra or a life experience from me,” Zukowski says. In his autobiography, he talks about his work with and for families, children and adults, and what drives him to this day.

Musical debut at Albrecht-Thaer-Gymnasium Hamburg

It’s a musical life that began in 1947 in Hamburg Winterhood. Things are already going for Rolf Zukowski with the Beathovens, his school band at the Albrecht-Thaer-Gymnasium. As a result, he celebrates his first hits and also gets to know his wife Monica. As a young dad, he came up with the idea to compose contemporary children’s music – thanks to his daughter.

“The heart still beats when the children sing my songs”

At the age of 14, Zhukovsky received his first guitar from his father. At least his school band, The Beathovens, made it to the Opening Ceremony for the Beach Boys. But after the birth of his children and his first hit “Du da, im Radio”, Zhukovsky’s passion for music became a career.

Whole generations now know the songs of “Rolf and His Friends”. He admits, “I still get palpitations when I hear the kids sing my songs.” Zukowski’s greatest hits included Advent’s “In der Weihnachtsbäckerei”, “…and pretty doll me” adapted from Volker Lechtenbrink’s song – and above all the song “Die Vogelhochzeit”, played in children’s rooms from cassette recorders for decades and sounds CD players.

Work with many pop stars, multiple prizes

But the entire work of Zhukovsky includes much more: about 700 songs. He is a singer, lyricist, composer and producer. Zhukovsky works with such famous stars as Nana Mouskouri, Paula, Demis Roussos and Julian Werding. He designed the concept album “Tabaluga” for Peter Maffei and wrote the title “Nessaja” (I Didn’t Want to Grow Up) for him. Zuckowski directs radio programs and has already won several awards for his life’s work – including “Echo” in 2008.

Above all, however, his life’s work is shaped by the children, with whom he prefers to make music: “It gave me so many opportunities to see the world in a new way and I could laugh with the children.” You can be a little enchanted, so is the singer. “Music is the best way to keep a child alive. That’s why I really want to stay a singer.”

“In the past, a lot of me were played on the radio”

Zhukovsky has always said goodbye to touring, preferring to travel alone with guitar or ukulele as a “welcome singer” to shows. On the tour that celebrated “40 Years of Rolf’s Music,” his songs were primarily sung by others – whether kindergarten groups or adult choirs. “There were years when I did a lot to make my songs known,” he told dpa. “I used to play a lot on the radio, and today that’s not the case. But when the music carries itself around, you can think of other things.”

“Together on the Road” is the name of his 2020 album with the music “Menschen im Herbst des Lebens”. However, on social media, one of Zhukovsky’s most popular songs is “I Can Do It!” A song that gives hope garnered nearly half a million views.

Rolf Zukowski to guest on NDR Talk Show on May 6

On May 6, Rolf Zukowski will talk about his eventful life, career, and biography on the NDR Talk Show on NDR TV – and perhaps also how he will celebrate his 75th birthday.

Rolf Zukowski, singer, composer, songwriter, and Elbkinderchor as guests at the NDR Talk Show on April 20, 2018 © NDR / Uwe Ernst Photo: Uwe Ernst

My voice: Shaped by His Children: Rolf Zukowski (2 min)

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Hamburg magazine | 04.05.2022 | It’s 19:30

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