Paul Van Haver (born 12 March 1985), better known by his stage name Stromae, is a Belgian singer, rapper and songwriter. He is originally from Laeken, in Brussels. He has established himself in both the hip hop and electronic music genres. Stromae came to wide public attention with his song “Alors on danse”, which became a number one in several European countries. In 2013, his sophomore album Racine Carrée was a commercial success.
Stromae was born in Belgium to a Rwandan father and a Flemish mother. His father, a Rwandan architect, was mostly absent during his childhood and was killed during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. His mother raised him and his four siblings in Brussels, and later in a nearby suburb. She encouraged each of her children to play a sport and an instrument, and Stromae studied percussion. His mother placed him in a Roman Catholic Jesuit school after he failed in the public school system at the age of sixteen. He formed a small rap group with friends while still in school. His early influences included Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, Cuban son, and Congolese rumba. He did not always feel that he was from Belgium, even though he was raised as a Belgian. This “outsider” image became part of his appeal.